Data-only SIM only plans are a relatively new type of plan that provides you with internet access ("data"), without the need for a voice plan or SMS messaging or any other bells & whistles.
In the UK, data-only SIM only plans are becoming increasingly popular, offering a cost-effective way for individuals and businesses to stay connected on the go. After all, a lot of us now use apps like Messenger or WhatsApp to chat with friends, even making phone calls via Facetime or WhatsApp these days. Studies show that regular "phone calls" are in decline - so ask yourself if you actually do need your included minutes. Do you use them all...?
Should you get a SIM Only plan that features Data Only? Is now the right time to switch? In this article, we'll analyse the pros and cons of doing so.
What are the pros of switching to a Data Only SIM plan?
One of the main benefits of data-only SIM only plans is the cost savings. Compared to traditional voice and data plans, data-only SIM only plans are often more affordable, making them an excellent option for those who don't need to make many calls or send many texts.
Data-only SIM only plans are also more flexible. They allow you to choose the amount of data you need, depending on your own individual usage patterns. For example, individuals who use their phone for browsing the web and checking email may only need a small amount of data, while those who use their phone for streaming video and gaming may need a larger data allowance. If that's you, then consider a 12 month plan which may offer better value for money.
Data-only SIM only plans are also ideal for those who are looking to stay connected while travelling. With data-only plans, users can use their mobile devices to access the internet, check email, and use navigation apps without incurring high roaming charges.
Another benefit of data-only SIM only plans is that they can be used in a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This makes them a convenient option for those who need internet access on multiple devices.
Are Data Only SIM deals cheaper overall?
In general, data-only SIM only plans are a cost-effective and flexible option for individuals and businesses looking to stay connected on the go. With a range of plans available from providers such as Three, EE, and Vodafone, it's easy to find a data-only plan that meets your needs and budget.
Whether you need a small amount of data for browsing the web, or a large data allowance for streaming video and gaming, a data-only SIM only plan is the perfect choice.
What are the cons of switching to Data Only?
While data-only SIM only plans offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
One of the main drawbacks is the lack of voice and text messaging services. With a data-only SIM only plan, you do not have access to traditional voice and text messaging services, which can be a disadvantage if you need to make calls or send texts on a regular basis.
Of course, if you *DO* make a phone call, you're going to be charged at a higher rate than you otherwise would, if you opted for a contract that includes free minutes.
Another drawback is the limited availability of customer support. As data-only SIM only plans are a relatively new concept, some providers may not offer the same level of customer support as traditional voice and data plans. This can make it more difficult to resolve issues or get help when you need it.
Do I actually *need* a Data Only SIM plan?
It's worth checking that your use-case is going to justify getting Data-only, too.
For example, a data-only SIM only plan may not be suitable for all devices. Some devices, such as old fashioend 'brick' phones, may not be able to access the latest data-heavy apps, making them unsuitable or even obsolete.
Finally, the cost of data-only SIM only plans can vary depending on the provider and the amount of data you need. It's important to carefully consider your usage patterns and choose a plan that offers the right amount of data at a reasonable price. A lot of Brits throw away money needlessly by getting too many minutes/texts in their allowance that they never use.
Other things to consider with Data-Only plans is the lack of voice and text messaging services, limited customer support for cheaper plans, limited device compatibility, and varying costs.
In short, it's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons and choose a Data-Only deal that meets your needs and, of course, your budget.
Speaking of which, here is our round up of the cheapest plans for Data-Only in the UK:
Which SIM Only plan has the cheapest 'Data Only' option?
All the major and minor UK networks now offer Data Only plans, including Vodafone SIM plans, who are our current '#1' choice. Check out these other deals, too:
- EE - From £15/month
- Vodafone - From £14/month
- O2 - From £16/month, 5G
- Plusnet - From £10/month, but this is 4G only
What about 5G Data Only?
If you live in a 5G-enabled area, then you're going to get much more of a benefit from going down the Data-Only route. Why? Because it'll be much quicker and easier to access your favourite internet sites, quite simply.
If you're interested in 5G in general for your next plan, it may be cheaper to compare all 5G SIM deals - including phone calls, texts and so on. We check all the major UK networks for the best-value SIM Only deals, hence our name.