Guide to: 3G SIM Cards

Recent years have seen unprecedented change within the mobile phone market. Not only have phone contracts become 24 months as standard, but the range of SIM only contracts have also increased. These two polarised offerings are very much at odds with each another and while providers have left consumers no option but to be tied into a two-year contract, many consumers have chosen the freedom that 3G SIM only contracts provide.

Things to Consider

When choosing or considering any 3G SIM only deals, these are some of the key features you need to be on the lookout for:

Free Minutes: free minutes come pretty much as standard in any 3G SIM only deal, however you need to establish whether the number of minutes stated are cross network – for example calling Vodafone from 02 is free – and whether they are only available at certain times of the day.

Data Allowance: data allowance – for internet browsing – is a particularly important feature to take note of and is essential if you spend a lot of time online - browsing, downloading, streaming, playng online games.

Free Texts: free text messages can vary greatly from provider to provider. You may want to check whether any free texts you don’t use within a month roll over into another as a way of differentiating between deals.

‘Add ons’: some providers have added flexibility in their packages and options of what you can ‘add on’ to your package, so it’s worth comparing providers to see what they can add as part of any deal. Also chack what are the roaming tariffs if you want to call internationally.

Other Benefits: many providers now offer added extras that can sweeten any deal. These can range from half price data for few months to free cinema tickets or coupons off consumer goods.

Length of Contract

3G SIM only contracts generally range from 1-12 months. However you need to remember that should your handset break, you’ll need to have the funds to purchase a new one, or you may need to take out a traditional contract. This can mean that being tied into a 3 month SIM only contract is not ideal. However you need to balance the likelihood of this against the savings you could be making.

What Package do you Need?

Looking at packages with hundreds of minutes can be tempting, but if you mostly use your phone for internet browsing and texting then it will be of little use. Before you look at potential packages be sure to monitor how you use your phone, as this is what is most important. By doing this you’ll be able to choose a package that best suits your needs and offers you maximum value for money.

Compare Deals

Comparing 3G SIM only deals isn’t as straight forward as at first it appears. There are an innumerable amount of differences in packages such as all the things we’ve discussed above. Make sure you compare deals like for like and use comparison websites to help you find the package that’s right for you at a price that’s right for you.