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Phone contracts with no SIMs: the best networks & options

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Want to spread the cost of a new phone via a monthly contract but you're happy with your current SIM? We talk you through your options. Last updated: 7th December 2023.

Why you might want a phone contract without a SIM

Pay monthly for a phone but keep your current SIM

No need to leave your current SIM plan

If you want to get a new phone but don’t want to leave your current SIM only plan, you have two options. You can either pay the whole cost for a new phone up front, or take a SIM-free phone contract. They do exist.

Taking a contract lets you spread your phone’s cost over a long time while not having to take out a SIM contract (mins, texts, data) with it. That’s handy if you don’t have the funds right now for a new phone.

It also means you don’t need to wait until your SIM only contract is up to get a new phone. Or pay to leave your SIM plan early. You also don’t need to switch networks if you’re happy or give up any benefits they offer.

Separating your phone and SIM contracts could also help you get best overall value. Some of the cheapest SIM only providers don’t do phones. Cheap places for phones don’t always do SIMs.

Useful link: Our SIM only comparison tool

There are few downsides to phone contracts without a SIM

Logos of credit agencies

You’ll have to pass a credit check

As you’re signing up to a contract for an expensive device, the company you’re taking a phone from needs to be sure you can afford the monthly cost. They’ll check your credit history to see if you’re a reliable customer.

If you’ve missed payments in the past, you’re more likely to be rejected for a credit check. You wouldn’t have to pass these checks if you just paid for the whole cost of your phone up front.

It can also be more complicated to compare how much you’d pay in total for your existing SIM plan and the phone you want, vs a contract that combines them together.

Finally, there are some networks that offer generous deals on phone contracts with SIMs. By taking your contracts separately you could miss out on the best deals (check our phone contract comparison tool here).

Useful link: Find the best phone deals using our comparison tool here

Mobile networks

Sky Mobile offer phone contracts with a SIM that’s free

Screenshot of checkout with phone and free SIM

Just don’t bother using the free SIMSee phone range

at sky.com
(opens in a new window)

Sky don’t overly market SIM free phone contracts, but you can take out a phone contract from them with a £0 usage plan (SIM) attached. So the only thing you’re paying for is the device.

You don’t even have to activate your Sky SIM, you can just pop in your old SIM into your new phone. It does come with 100MB and unlimited mins/texts though, so you could put it to use as a second SIM or give it away.

You can choose to pay your phone off over 24 or 36 months. Typically, the cost of your phone stays the same no matter which contract length you choose, but it’s worth checking before you take out your device.

Finally, Sky Mobile offer 0% interest on all their phones, which is brilliant considering they already offer good value vs other networks. Sky are excellent if you just want to take out a phone on a contract with no SIM.

Useful link: See Sky’s full range of phone deals

Lyca Mobile let you take a phone without a SIM plan

Screenshot of Lyca Mobile checkout

Phones on finance via KlarnaSee all phones

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

Lyca Mobile sell phone contracts financed via a third party called Klarna on their website. You can take any of these phone models without having to add a SIM, which is ideal if you’re already on a plan you like.

You can choose to pay off your phone over 6, 12, 24 or 36 months to suit your budget. Just bear in mind they offer these phones with 18.9% APR, so the longer your contract the more you’ll pay overall.

Price-wise, Lyca are not generally the cheapest option. And they don’t offer all the latest models you might expect, with a relatively small range of phones compared to some networks.

But we do think that some people will find the options of short 6-month or 12-month deal useful - if you don’t want to pay full price today but also don’t want a long contract at the back of your mind either.

Useful link: See Lyca’s full range of phones

giffgaff’s phone deals let you bin the SIM after a month

giffgaff mobile phones

Just cancel the SIM after a monthRead more

at giffgaff.com
(opens in a new window)

While you can’t take out a phone without also taking a usage plan on giffgaff, you can leave the SIM after one month. The SIM isn’t tied into your phone payment, so you can choose a 1-month plan, ditch it and pay just the phone.

It does mean that you’ll have to pay for a usage plan that you don’t need, for a month. These start at £10 with phones, so it does add to the cost and it’s a bit inconvenient.

But giffgaff tend to offer good value for their phones, so that extra £10 shouldn’t sting too much. And all their phone deals are offered at 0% interest (via Klarna), so your monthly payments won’t go up over your contract.

That’s brilliant as you can choose a 6, 12, 24 or 36-month contract to suit your budget and your phone’s cost should be the same no matter your choice. Overall, giffgaff are a good choice for taking out a phone.

Useful link: Read giffgaff’s full guide to their phone contracts

VOXI offer phones with SIMs you can leave after a month

VOXI pay monthly phone range

No need to keep SIM cardRead more

at voxi.co.uk
(opens in a new window)

Like giffgaff, VOXI offer phone contracts that come with 1-month usage (SIM) plans. You can leave the SIM after a month without incurring any early leaving fees or paying off the cost of your phone.

The cheapest usage plan you can take was £10 last time we checked, which is a bit of an annoying extra charge if you won’t use it. And VOXI’s phones are often beatable on price.

But VOXI offer 0% interest on their phones, so your monthly repayment won’t go up. There is one choice of a 30-month phone repayment term, with no shorter or longer options.

VOXI are another option to consider then, if you latch onto a well priced phone. There are more flexible options though. Taking out a SIM just to cancel it could be a step to far for many.

Useful link: VOXI’s full range of phone deals

ASDA let you take a phone and then cancel the SIM

Screenshot of ASDA Mobile checkout

Typically good coverage in 5G locationsSee their phones

at mobile.asda.com
(opens in a new window)

ASDA Mobile offer a good range of new and old phone models on finance agreements via Paypal Credit. However, you will have to take one of their SIM only bundles in the checkout if you’re not already on ASDA.

Unlike Sky, ASDA don’t have any free SIMs. They do have some very low cost plans though. And you can leave at the end of the month without having to give notice or pay an added fee.

All their phones come on 12 or 24-month contracts. It’s nice that you can choose your contract length and still get the flexibility to upgrade early by paying off your loan or pay to reduce your monthly bill.

But their phones are offered at 23.9% APR. It’s an incentive to join on a shorter deal, to pay less interest. If that suits your budget, ASDA are a decent enough choice.

Useful link: See all of ASDA’s phone deals

Manufacturers with SIM-free phone contracts

Some manufacturers let you pay monthly for phones

Screenshot of Samsung's website

Long contracts with no usage plans

Another option is to go with a manufacturer directly, rather than with a mobile network. A handful of them offer phone contracts, but the upside is that most don’t require you to take a SIM plan at all.

Samsung let you pay monthly for any of their phones on a 12-month, 24-month or 36-month contract. Their 36-month contracts are offered 14.9% APR, while their shorter contracts are interest free.

Apple let you take a 24-month finance agreement via Barclays Partner Finance at 0% interest on any of their devices.

Google let you take a 0% interest 24-month credit agreement via Klarna on any of their Pixel devices.

Sony offer 6-month, 12-month, 24-month and 36-month contracts via Klarna or PayPal Credit. Their contracts are offered at 9.9% interest per year, so their shorter contracts cost you less overall.

Finally, Xiaomi offer 24-month contracts at 0% interest on any of their devices via PayPal Credit.

You may think that joining via the manufacturer directly would be cheaper vs joining via a mobile network, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s always worth comparing to find the best deal before you join.

The obvious downside of joining a manufacturer is that you can only get their phone models. For the manufacturers that don’t offer contracts, you’ll have to take one via a mobile network or another retailer.

But if you’ve got a particular phone model in mind and the manufacturer offers options to pay monthly, it’s worth checking them out. The extra convenience of not getting a SIM will often be worth it.

Useful link: Find the best deal with our phone comparison tool

Other retailers that offer SIM free contracts

There are other phone retailers that let you pay monthly

Screenshot of John Lewis website

Get a contract for your phone only

If you can’t find a contract for the phone you want from the manufacturer and really don’t want a new SIM attached, there are a few retailers that sell phones on contracts with no usage plans.

These retailers all offer very different contracts with different interest rates. We’ve listed them all with full information in the dropdown below:

John Lewis offer lots of phones on 24-month and 36-month contracts at 16.9% APR, which is lower than the others. Their credit agreements are made via Creation.

Argos are a bit more flexible as you can choose a contract length anywhere between 18 - 48 months, but 19.9% APR you’re likely better off on the shortest contract your budget will allow.

Finally, Curry’s offer lots of phones on 36-month contracts but at an eye watering 29.9% APR we genuinely think you’d be better off on the retailers above.

These retailers tend to have higher interest rates than mobile networks or manufacturers. That’s a shame as they tend to offer quite low starting prices. If you don’t mind a short contract they can be a good option.

In any case, it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal for you. We’ve filtered our phone comparison tool below for different manufacturers and retailers to help you out.

Useful link: Find the best deal using our comparison tool

Compare phone contracts

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