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Why Go SIM Free?

Fed up of costly contracts and phone tied to one network? Well, there is a perfect option for you out there and its name is SIM Free.

If you’ve been searching for a new smartphone, you will have undoubtedly come across the term “SIM Free” in your options and criteria, but what does it actually mean?

why go sim free title Well, if you’re looking for a new smartphone, but don’t want to be tied into a long contract or simply like the idea of choosing your own network SIM Free might just be the option for you. We’re going to break down some of the key points of SIM Free and highlight the pros and cons of going sans sim card.


So What is SIM Free?

SIM Free is literally as it sounds; a phone that is free of a SIM card. Unlike phones you may pick up from networks like O2, 3 and EE, which are often ‘locked’ to a certain carrier, SIM Free phones are completely ‘unlocked’ to applicable networks.

This means you can interchange SIM cards from different carriers in the phone.


Quick note, there is a difference between ‘SIM Free’ and ‘Unlocked’. An Unlocked phone will have previously been locked to a network, but has since had any restrictions removed so that they can work with any network, whereas a ‘SIM Free’ phone has never been provided with a SIM card and therefore will not be tied to a network.


Advantages of SIM FreeSIM FREE phones

So let’s take a look of some of the advantages of SIM Free phones,

Upgrade when you want (phone or network): That’s right, when you buy a SIM Free phone you’re not tied to a particular network or tariff just to get the phone, so when you’re bored of the handset or just fancy an upgrade you can go out and buy one.

Overall cheaper: As you can shop around for your phone and contract separately, you’ll find the best overall deal for your situation going the SIM Free route.

Lower monthly contract payment: SIM Free contracts (from networks) are usually far cheaper than those that come with a phone, especially modern handsets or flagship models.

Higher resale value: An unlocked phone has a far greater resale value as its compatibility is open. Resellers like CEX or Mazuma Mobile pay more for an unlocked phone than a locked equivalent.

Option to be PAYG: If you are really looking to keep the costs down, SIM Free phones can house Pay As You Go SIM cards, so no need for a contract of any sorts.

No network branding on the phone: Who wants a big O2 (or other network) logo plastered over their nice new smartphone anyway?

No network locked features: Networks often restrict key features like tethering but a SIM Free phone is clear of any such chains.

Perfect for travel: SIM Free phones can use a local sim card, as the phone is not tethered to a UK network. So for the travellers out there needing multiple SIMs, you won’t need to buy a local phone just to make calls. Check out services like willmyphonework.net to see if a specific device would work in a certain country and on what network.


Disadvantages of SIM Free

So we’ve seen the big list of advantages, but what are the disadvantages to a SIM Free phone?

Initial Outlay The biggest issue going SIM Free is usually the initial outlay. Like buying a tablet or a watch, you are literally buying the whole handset upfront. So the £300 sting may come as a shock when you’re used to paying £25 a month.

Network Exclusives In some cases networks have exclusives on particular phones, this is usually on a particular niche model or regional specific (UK, US etc…). So occasional a phone will literally not be available without a hefty contract.

Lack of Network Offers– Networks want you tied to long contracts with their services, so SIM Free phones kinda circumvent this. What this means to you is possibly a higher or less lucrative talk plan. The sweet package you may have got on texts, talk time and unlimited internet may just be reserved for traditional handset and contract customers, instead you might be forced to shop around.


For more details on SIM Free check out Smarpthones at Ebuyer.com or read through our mobile product guide. 

Dual SIM mobile title


  1. A SIM-free phone acts as a superb wifi enabled Remote Control for my Roberts Radio , FireTv , Android box , NAS Player for Music > Bluetoothed to my Hi-fi …oh …… you can use it as a phone too!

  2. It’s got to be cheaper to get a loan from your bank to buy the £300 phone up front .. than to enter into a contract that means you end up paying £450 for it over two years. It’s a no-brainer, guys!


  3. I have a superb phone that I shopped for at £100 and paying £20 less each month so no regrets being sim free

  4. best way to save money is to get an unlocked phone direct from China and then get a SIM only contact. Not all phones work with all networks, check out chinesephonesuk.co.uk to see which phones work with which networks

  5. and of course you can change your phone (and of course your mobile network if you are having a bad experience) whenever you want to, without having to wait 24 months to pay the previous one off!

  6. Watch out where you buy your phone from. Some retailers offer iPhones sim free but it locks the network to the first sim she put in it. I bought my iPhone direct and I can swop my sims whenever I want. Carphone warehouse are bad for this, they have a web page called iPhone SIM warning. Others may do similar.

  7. I’ve been sim-free for over 10 years now. Only pay £15/month for my current contract so get to spend upwards of £500 on a new ‘flagship’ device whenever I choose!

  8. Thanks Danny, very helpful as my Experia smart phone contract just ended and I am looking for better options
    Don what did you mean buying your phone “direct”? Any advice on where would be appreciated! Thank you all, Hanna.

  9. if enough people go for sim only deals…. mobile phone companies will be forced to reduce their prices to encourage people to sign up to deals

  10. You say “Networks often restrict key features like tethering but a SIM Free phone is clear of any such chains.” There may be no physical restriction in a SIM-Free phone, but contract terms often do put a restriction on what they can be used for.

  11. Never had a contract phone. I have always had my Daughters hand downs and put my own SIM in it £7.50 Pr Month gives me, 1000 minutes, 2000 texts 2Gb data well over the top for what I need. Lots better than paying £35.00 Pr Month

  12. I have sim free phone and went with BT for my sim, at the time I was using a iPhone.
    I put the BT card in the phone switch it on and with BT it downloads some soft ware so the sim card works, then I find out you cannot tether for the net, I used to with my old sim.

    To get round this I purchased a different make of phone

  13. There are some Cashback offers when you buy a phone on a contract, PAYG generally does not offer that, unless they specifically offer it for certain flagship phones

  14. It is crazy these days getting a smartphone on hire purchase ( which in effect is what the networks do ) when you can get great deals on PAYG like GiffGaff and others and spend whatever you feel comfortable with on a phone from £500 for a high end smartphone to £80 for a slightly older model or an import like a Xiaomi which are very good.

  15. I am travelling to New zealand end of January, 2017. I cannot unlock my Iphone SE as only had new contract a month ago when I upgraded from a 5s. EE will not unlock a a pay monthly for 6 months. Without thinking I sold my old phone, which I could have unlocked!!!! Any suggestions what phone I should buy – sim free or unlocked, without being expensive

  16. I am a big fan of SIM free phones. I don’t like being tied into long term contracts, i buy Vodafone Big Value Bundle packs that automatically renew every month but you are not tied into a contract. You get 12GB 4G UK data, Unlimited UK minutes and Unlimited UK texts for only £30 a month.

    Then i will use sites like ebuyer to find the best deals on flagship SIM free phones. Here is a pro tip, wait till Black Friday and you will find the best prices. Overall this works out so much cheaper than just getting a contract phone and i can get a new phone every 12 – 16 months depanding on what deals are around.

  17. I’ve got a contract with 02 which is ok..but my phone has packed up..daft question I know but can I use the 02 SIM in a cheap SIM free phone

  18. Just to be clear, a SIM free phone does NOT have a built in (locked?) card. I can add any Co’s. SIM card and interchange it if I want? I travel around Europe, and get a card for any country I’m in. I hate Vodaphone.

  19. Don’t forget you can also lease the phone from apple and Samsung for the high-end devices that are not locked to a network, with apple you get an upgrade every year. so you are no longer tied to an MNO

  20. All you guys have made me think twice about keeping a contract . My vodaphone bills have been horrendous like £130 month . My daughter pays my bill instead of giving me rent but being ripped off by vodaphone ive had to put towards the bills . Im not even on my phone that much abit of internet radio , ebay , amazon ect in my lunch breaks . Obviously im paying towards the managing Directors third 1.2 £ million villa in some hot country . thanks to all and i hope people do eventually do wake up to this . I dont resent companies making money i resent companies that are greedy .

  21. I’m on sim free and I’m looking to change my phone
    The phone I’m looking at is180
    But payg £130 plus £10 top up
    Can I buy payg and put my own sim card in it

  22. We should not overuse anything but unfortunately this generation is touching the extremes in every other way. Mobile is a blessing but we are using it wrongly.

  23. to find your number, use your new phone to ring a land line, then from the land line phone 1471 and they tell you the number which just phoned so you could ring back but dont


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