SIM only deals are ideal for not just students, but just about anyone who does not wish to, or have the need to, waste money on unnecessary mobile phone expenses. That being said, since most students are usually a bit strapped for cash at times, SIM only deals can certainly prove to be quite a money saver for them. Let’s discuss the topic a bit more so that it becomes clear exactly how these deals can help students save money.
Understanding What SIM Only Deals Are
Although the variability is quite high here, a SIM only deal can be defined at its core by stating its main selling point. It is a deal where the customer only gets a SIM card that isn’t tied down to any network. Customers get to decide the plan’s terms and features, based on their own budget and needs. A SIM only deal will allow customers to choose some, or all of the following:
- Data, call and SMS limits
- Length of the plan
- Special bonus offers, which are only included within the best SIM only deals
Who Provides the SIMs?
If you’re not familiar with the concept of SIM only plans, you may wonder who provides the contract-free SIMs and arranges the customised plans for customers. SIM only deals are arranged, offered and customised in UK by mobile companies such as Lebara, ID Mobile and Giffgaff. If you are wondering who has the best SIM only deals in United Kingdom, we will get to that part next.
Students Should Compare SIM Only Deals from Multiple Providers
Sim only deals are naturally more flexible, cost-effective, non-binding and feasible than regular carrier plans, because there is no binding factor here at all. Some carriers make their customers buy a mobile phone from them in instalments, along with making them pay a minimum amount every month, just for keeping the SIM card active. None of that applies when we buy a SIM only deal, but even within them, a student needs to be selective. As is the situation in every sector that isn’t a monopoly, the terms, allowances, price, etc. of a SIM only deal will also differ from company to company. In order to find the best SIM only deals, it is advisable for students to first compare the most popular SIM only deals.
Right now, Lebara SIM only plans are the best available in the UK, especially for students. If you visit their website, you will find a side-by-side chart that compares the best SIM only deals from the major providers in the UK. While there are various other factors that make their SIMs the best option, international students will find the free international minutes (to 41 nations across the globe) to be an added bonus. Lebara’s SIM only deals begin at only £5/month, but you can change to a better plan at any time you want to. Their top-tier £35/month plan called Unlimited, offers truly unlimited data access, UK minutes and texts, international minutes and more.
Independent SIMs offer a lot of customisation options, which you will find rather easily, only if you take the time to compare SIM only deals from the best providers in the UK. However, selection can be a bit of a problem even then. With so many options and ample flexibility, getting confused is only natural. To avoid confusion and wasting time, it is recommended to prioritize your needs first. We previously mentioned that international students will benefit more from a SIM card deal that includes a lot of free international minutes. Not only will it allow them to stay in touch with their family at home, but they will be able to do so without overextending their mobile phone budget allowance.
On the other hand, a local student may not have any need for those free international minutes at all. Instead, they might be looking to get cheap access to high-speed internet. Therefore, students who consume a lot of data on a regular basis will benefit the most from an unlimited or high-limit SIM only deal. It’s all about setting priorities and finding a provider who has the best SIM only deal for your particular requirements. In that respect, the best deal for one student, may not be the best for another.
The Common Expectation
As SIM only deals are supposed to be a highly cost-effective option for all customers, it is important that the provider practices a strict capping policy. What this means is that unlike regular carrier contracts, the customer’s bill must never exceed the prepaid/pre-decided amount. In case someone is about to cross their in-plan limits, they should first be warned, but as soon as the pre-decided limits are reached, the associated feature (call, data or SMS) should not be available to the customer anymore. This is called being capped to zero, and it ensures that students cannot even accidentally end up with unexpectedly expensive phone bills. More often than not, this happens with data, as streaming Netflix on a limited internet connection can use up your daily/monthly quota in no time at all. If you stream a lot, go for a SIM only plan that comes with unlimited internet usage.
Students Should Choose a Provider that Allows Data Sharing
If your SIM only plan does not allow the sharing of data, then you will not be able to turn your smartphone into a router, and use it to connect your laptop/gaming console/smart TV, etc. to the internet. Being limited to just one device with an unlimited data plan might be a waste, especially if you are a gamer. For students looking to maximise their savings though, a lock on data sharing is a big red flag. Unlimited plans become a lot more affordable when the cost is shared by all roommates among themselves, but without the operator allowing Wi-Fi hotspots, that would not be possible. Pick a provider with unlocked data sharing to maximise your plans and save money, given that everyone in the room would then be able to make do with just one high-speed connection.
Don’t Compromise on Quality
Affordability does not have to come at the cost of quality, or it cannot qualify as a “deal.” Sure, there would be pre-decided limits and caps on texting, calling and data, but it is important that whatever is given as part of the plan qualifies as being of high quality. For example, low-speed internet connections and poor call quality just won’t do for a student, international or not. Whoever your provider may be, it would be ideal if they have ties with top UK carriers like Vodafone. Limits can be increased or decreased at any time, but that would be of very little use if your college campus doesn’t even receive proper network coverage from the carrier!
Do not forget to properly read through the fine print, and remember, SIM only providers should not need to check your credit score, before providing you with a SIM card. If the particular provider is insistent on it, you should look for a better one that doesn’t check their customers’ credit scores, before allotting them a new SIM card. Check the legal terms and conditions as they are obligated by law to mention whether they check their customers’ credit score or not.