SIM Free deals are phones that are offered without a SIM card and without a contract. This can allow you to pick the phone of your choice and then decide on which network and tariff is best for you, without being tied down to a lengthy contract.
Many people choose to combine a SIM Free phone with a monthly SIM Only contract, as these offer excellent value and flexible contract lengths. Others prefer the freedom of using a new or existing Pay as You Go SIM card with their SIM Free phone, allowing them to only pay for what they use each month.
Mobile phones on contract are now offered quite cheaply by most networks, with many phones being available for free on 18 and 24 month contracts. The cost of the phone is factored into the monthly charges you pay over the course of the long contract so that the network can afford to offer you a new handset for little or no cost at the beginning.
When you choose to buy a phone SIM Free you’re simply buying the phone outright from a retailer, which means you’ll have to pay for the full cost of the phone on the day you purchase it. Although this can obviously incur a large initial expense, it also offers some benefits. Because you’re not tied into a long term contract with one network, you are free to shop around to find the cheapest deal on the services you need so you could end up saving money in the long run.
Many basic mobile phones can now be purchased for as little as £10 or £20, although these will be very limited in features and lack the benefits of the latest models. Some good mid-range phones and smartphones can be picked up for less than £100 and can include popular features like good quality cameras, entertainment features and internet connectivity through 3G and Wi-Fi. The very latest top of the range mobile phones can cost anywhere from £400 to £600 to buy outright.
Remember that although SIM free mobile phones cost more initially than on contract or pay as you go, you could save some money in the long run by having lower monthly charges, either through a PAYG SIM or a month by month SIM Only contract. The added benefit is that you are free to do with your new phone as you wish, and are not bound to a particular tariff for a lengthy period of time.
SIM Free deals are similar to Pay as You Go phones, as there is no commitment to monthly charges when purchasing either a PAYG or a SIM Free handset.
The main difference between the two is that PAYG phones will usually come locked to a specific network. This means that you can only use the phone on the network you purchased it from, unless you pay extra to have the phone unlocked. SIM Free phones, on the other hand, will work on all UK networks and do not require unlocking.
Networks sometimes subsidise the cost of PAYG phones on the expectation that customers won’t want to pay to have their phones unlocked, and so the network will make back its money through service charges. Because of this, PAYG phones can sometimes be slightly cheaper than SIM Free equivalents and so are worth considering if you’re sure which network you want to use.
A SIM card is a small plastic card with a small circuit on it. SIM cards identify your phone on a network and allow you to use network services like making and receiving calls or sending messages.
As the name would suggest, no SIM card is included with a SIM Free phone, though in order to use the phone you will need to have one. Because SIM Free phones are not locked, you can use any SIM card in them. If you already have an active Pay Monthly or PAYG SIM, you should be able to use that in a new SIM Only phone without any problems.
If you need to get a new SIM to go with your phone, you have a few options. Many networks now give away Pay As You Go SIMs for free or for a very small charge, so you can get one of these to use with your new phone very easily. Alternatively, you can pick up a SIM Only monthly contract. These are similar to standard Pay Monthly contracts, but because the cost of a new phone isn’t included in the monthly charges SIM Only contracts are considerably cheaper and offered with short, flexible contract lengths.
Refurbished phones are phones that have been used before and either returned or sent in to a company for recycling. Although they are second hand, all refurbished phones have been in-spected by experts and are guaranteed to be in full working order. There are three ‘grades’ of refurbished phone:
Grade A – These are phones that are nearly new in appearance. There should be no visible scratches on the screen or the case of the phone.
Grade B – These are phones that are in good condition, but show some signs of use. There may be some scratches on the case and the screen of the phone.
Grade C – These are phones that show significant signs of wear and tear. There may be sig-nificant scratching on the screen and case.
Whatever the condition of the outside of the phone, note that the phones themselves have been tested and are functional so if you’re not concerned with the cosmetic appearance you can save money by selecting a lower grade of phone.
Because refurbished phones are recycled, they are not supplied with any official packaging or accessories. Only a phone and battery are supplied, with no charger or other items. The ma-jority of modern phones and smartphones can be charged with standard micro-USB cables and mains adapters which are readily and cheaply available, although this is not universal. A notable exception is Apple’s range of iPhones, which require unique chargers supplied by Apple. If in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website for details of the type of charger you need.