Your guide to free sim cards

Free sims can offer as much to the occasional mobile phone user as they can to a heavy user who may use anything up to 100s of cross network minutes, 1000s of texts and a significant amount of data via mobile internet per month.

In this guide we look at the benefits of free sim cards, who the main providers are and the factors you should consider when choosing your package.

The benefits of free sims

They offer good value for money

Whilst free sim plans offer great deals, you need to make sure you shop around before making a choice. This is because providers can have wildly varying packages, and whilst some focus on free minutes, others may provide more free texts or larger amounts of data usage. It is vital you choose a package based upon how you use your mobile.

You get to use your own handset

Free sim plans are great for people who have already got their own mobile phone which they are happy to keep for the time being. You may however find that your particular phone is ‘locked’ to a particular network, in which case you’ll either need to stay with that network, or see if its allowed to be legally unlocked by a phone shop.

With PAYG you’re not locked into a contract

Pay As You Go plans don't keep you locked in for 12 or 24 months and give you total control on how much you spend: if you run out of credit, you'll need to top up before you can keep on using the services. But you are free to choose whether to top up or not, and therefore whether to spend money or not, unlike SIM card contracts. This is great for those that have fluctuating usage, or who are averse to being tied down to what can be a long term financial commitment.

Providers are highly competitive

Because the free sim cards market is practically saturated with tens of providers, competition is fierce. It’s always been standard practice for sim cards to be free, but the associated free calls, texts and data usage are a relatively new feature, so take advantage of them!

Free sim cards providers


EE are a relatively new provider; having recently launched, they’ve seen phenomenal success touting themselves as the 4g provider. They are currently offering an impressive 1GB of free 4G internet access as well as 100 free cross network minutes when you top up by £10, however their offers do change frequently, so be sure to check what they’re offering as of the current time.


O2 offers a range of free sim payg plans which, in their words, "gives you something slightly different". They have always been known to think out of the box with their Pay As You Go deals, offering convenience by allowing customer to buy ‘bolt ons’ for certain services (such as internet data).


Three have recently had rather a free sims makeover. Their offering is now most definitely one of the most competitive on the market. Their calls are from 3p per minute, texts for 2p, and internet at just 1p per MB! You’ll be hard pressed to beat these rates.

Factors to consider before choosing your free sim

How do you use your phone?

As previously mentioned, you must think about what you usually use your phone for. Whilst free texts may feel like a big sell, there is little point in plumping for an offer simply because they offer hundreds of free texts when you won’t use them.

What’s the coverage like?

Finally, before you commit, remember to check what the coverage is on a given network where you live. Many are surprised to learn that even with a contract package, you are not guaranteed to have coverage where you work, or even in your own home!

Do you call a lot of people on one particular network?

If you make a lot of calls to particular networks, it may be worth while checking out what that network’s deals are like; many will offer free network to network calls so you may save yourself a pretty penny in this alone.