SIM Only – The Everyday Shopper’s View

SIM Only – Why Might Sim Only be Right For You ?

Also known as BYO mobile, SIM Only ‘products’ are designed for those who already have an unlocked mobile phone and are looking for a good value plan.

SIM Only Plans are better value because carriers don’t have to include the cost of a phone in the plan. This allows them to put the savings back into your plan with cheaper rates etc.

SIM Only Plans & Comparisons

SIM only – The Carriers’ Point of View

Carriers ( like Optus, Telstra, Vodafone or Virgin Mobile ) don’t really make money out of selling hardware, but from the use of their network (so plans!). In fact, selling hardware can be a bit of a pain because it means more work (negotiating the deals, managing stock etc) and costs.

The hardware bit is essentially an enabler to get you signed up to a network.  If you skip that bit and go straight to a SIM only type plan, it means less work and costs for the carrier and they will love you for it. Well, if you can call it that!

That’s good news, because main carriers make the plans more attractive to win you over. And yep, you get great value.

Generally speaking, you get better value if you sign up to a contract as opposed to prepaid or pay as you go plan. This is simply because providers know that they have some level of commitment from you and a secured amount of money for the duration of the contract. “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” type thing.

When you buy a SIM only plan, the carrier sends you a SIM card which you simply pop into your phone, activate it, and you’re ready to go. The activation process depends on the carrier, but you get instructions and they are usually pretty straight forward. Most times you activate through an automated system over the phone or online with a few clicks.

SIM Only Plans & Comparisons

SIM Only – Benefits

So what are the benefits of a SIM only plan?

  • Better value from your plan (cheaper call rates and text, data etc)
  • Keep your unlocked phone
  • Keep your number (ok, this does not happen automatically but you asked the carrier to do it for you)

SIM Only – Who likes SIM Only ?

Is SIM Only The Plan for me?

It depends on your circumstances, but here are a few pointers to help you out:

  • You already have an unlocked mobile phone and need a plan
  • You’re looking for better value from your mobile plan
  • Your current contract has expired and you’re not really interested in upgrading with your current carrier (so getting a new contract with a new phone)

The last point is an eye opener. Many people out there sign up to a mobile plan contract to get a shiny new phone (which is great!), but don’t take action 12 or 24 months later when the contract comes to an end.

Instead, the monthly payment continues to be made as normal (only that you’re no longer tied to a contract). This is not an ideal scenario because you’re still paying for a plan that included a phone and yep, you guessed, the chances are that you’re not getting the best value. So what should you do?

Either get a SIM only plan or simply get a new contract + phone if you’re keen to get a new phone.


Written by:
Tim Orange,  everyday shopper
JUL 2012

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.