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Black Friday SIM only offers 2018: what type of deals to expect this year

Black Friday SIM only offers

With Black Friday coming up fast, we look if you're better off waiting to take out a new SIM only deal by predicting the offers each network will launch. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 1st October 2018

Looking ahead to Black Friday 2018

We're using previous years' offers to predict what will launch

The word sale on a background

Expect longer Black Friday themed sales

Black Friday this year falls on 23rd November. But if previous years are anything to go by, most mobile networks will probably jump the gun and launch their SIM only offers a little way before that.

Each provider seems to throw more effort at Black Friday every year and most will turn the event into a week-long sale, or longer, to include "Cyber Monday" and beyond.

In this guide, we pick through what each mobile network offered last year to predict what their SIM only promotions will be this year.

If you're up for a renewal, we hope this will help you decide whether to wait or just re-contract now.

Once each network start to launch their actual Black Friday deals in November, we'll update the sections with the relevant offers.

Predicting each network's offers

Choose a mobile network

We don't have any inside information! We're using previous offers to make our predictions

Three logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
ID logo
O2 logo
SMARTY logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Three: we predict one headline discounted SIM only plan

Three previous Black Friday SIM only offer

Three's Black Friday deal last yearSee current offers

at Three.co.uk
(opens in new window)

For Black Friday last year, Three launched a cut-price 12-month 100GB SIM only deal with unlimited minutes and texts too. Their other offers this year have been based around decent discounts across multiple plans.

For this year, we'd expect something along the same lines: cut prices on SIMs with large data allowances.

If Three went really strong for Black Friday, we could see a repeat of 3 months free or 6 months half price that they've run in previous years in the run up to Christmas and January. There's no real way of knowing yet.

As long as they launch something, Three's overall package is one of the best value around, with great extras like unlimited streaming with Go Binge, free easyJet upgrades and inclusive worldwide roaming.

Useful link: Three's Black Friday offers page

BT Mobile: we expect generous Reward Cards and extra data

BT Mobile Black Friday SIM only plans

The BT deals on Black Friday last yearSee current offers

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

With pre-paid Mastercard offers running on their SIM only plans practically every week, BT Mobile are one network that really do throw the kitchen sink at their promotions. So what might they do?

If last year's Black Friday is anything to go by, and this year's general sales, we'd probably predict ultra generous Reward Card values on their SIMs and a few discounts and extra data here and there.

BT will probably string out their sale longer than just on Black Friday itself, we'd anticipate it lasting beyond Cyber Monday too. BT will probably be a better place to pick up a smaller data plan than other providers.

They're another network that we think represents good value for customers already, particularly if you qualify for their £5 monthly discount by having BT's broadband at home.

Useful link: BT Mobile's Black Friday page last year

EE: we're thinking two well-priced big data SIM only deals

EE Black Friday banner

EE went to town on their website themingSee current offers

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

In last year's Black Friday period, EE had two their largest data allowance SIM only plans discounted to ultra-competitive rates and it's pretty much what they've been doing all year generally.

If you're after a SIM only plan with less than 5GB data, we wouldn't hold out hope for EE including these in their Black Friday sale. We've rarely seen this type of plan on offer at EE.

If EE were going to go for something big and impressive, there could be something like an Amazon gift voucher with selected SIMs. We've seen these on rare occasions, so they are an outside possibility.

Generally, EE aren't big, discounters because the quality of their network really sells itself. They offer the fastest measured 4G speeds of all providers and they have the largest nationwide network.

Useful link: EE's Black Friday 2018 page

giffgaff: we're not expecting much activity for Black Friday

giffgaff's £5 free credit offer

There's always their free joining creditGet £5 free credit

at giffgaff.com
(opens in new window)

We like giffgaff and you can already get £5 free credit with them when you join via our special invite page here. But realistically, their SIM only prices probably aren't going to get much lower.

They have to be careful about bold giveaways for new customers, because having only 30-day plans means all their existing customers can move premanently to any new deal too!

For that reason, Black Friday has usually been a pretty muted even on giffgaff in the past, and we don't expect anything dramatic to happen this year either. There may be offers on phones though.

There's a small chance, their £5 free credit joining offer could be boosted to a more-generous £10. We've seen this before and it avoids the existing customer problem we've described above. We'll see!

Useful link: giffgaff's Black Friday page (for phones only we think)

iD Mobile: we predict a single ultra-cheap plan with low-data

iD Mobile Black Friday SIM

Only one plan in last year's offerSee current offers

at idmobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

If you're after a SIM only plan with only a modest amount of data, we think iD Mobile could be a strong candidate with the offer(s) they launch for Black Friday.

We're not expecting swingeing discounts across all their plans, because of already-low prices. Based on last year, we'd say they might just launch one, ultra-competive plan around the £5-£7 plan mark.

iD have also been a bit more generous in the amount of data they've included in their plans this year than last, so we could see something happen with their 20GB SIM too.

Getting an even better bargain on Black Friday with iD will be a nice combination with their plans' added benefits like spending caps, data rollover and flexible 30-day contracts.

Useful link: iD Mobile's special offers page

O2: time-limited discounts on selected SIM only tariffs?

O2 Black Friday SIMs

O2's deals launched close to Black FridaySee current offers

at O2.co.uk
(opens in new window)

A bit like EE, O2 let the strength of their network sell their products, rather than huge discounts or promotions, so it's difficult to see them doing anything too extreme for Black Friday.

Throughout the last year, they have usually had 2 - 3 of their SIM only tariffs with promotional pricing. This normally includes a mid-range plan around 4-6GB and larger ones of 20GB and up.

Even during offers, it's usually possible to find cheaper plans than O2 on rival low-cost networks. If they're going to compete this year for SIM only bargain hunters, they'll need to be a bit more adventurous.

We predict they'll drop prices on around 3x 12-month plans, possibly with an expiry date on the discount, so after your 12 months are up, the price goes back again (we saw this earlier in the year).

Useful link: O2's Black Friday / Cyber Monday page

Plusnet Mobile: we're not predicting any dramatic discounts

Black Friday on Plusnet Mobile

Plusnet did nothing different for last Black FridaySee current offers

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

All this year, Plusnet Mobile have stuck to the same formula: generous "Mates Rates" deals for their own broadband customers, and two highly-competitive SIM only plans for the whole general public.

For last year's Black Friday, they didn't launch anything out of the ordinary and didn't go for the elaborate Black Friday website theming you see with some of the other providers.

This year, we can't see them breaking from that formula. But we can see them have two really good low data (1GB - 2GB) plan and a slightly bigger one (4GB - 5GB) on offer.

If you're after a low-cost short 30-day SIM, this could be one of the best networks to check in with on Black riday, especially given that they use EE's superfast 4G network for signal.

Useful link: Plusnet's regular SIM only deals page

Sky Mobile: potentially SIM only plans with data bonuses

Sky Mobile double data offer

Last year's offer was double dataSee current offers

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky Mobile are another hard network to read because they rarely put their SIM only plans in any kinds of promotion, and they certainly don't tend to discount them.

For last year's Black Friday, Sky added a double data offer their 500MB 1GB and 1GB deals. We can see them doing that again, or maybe even triple data.

Another possibility would be giving you a lump of free data that sits in your 'Piggybank' with Sky, ready to be used at any point during your contract if you run up. They've done this before during the year.

Generally, we're not expecting Sky to launch anything outrageously cheap. Although we're happy to be surprised.

Useful link: Sky's 2018 Black Friday page

SMARTY: could there be a free month's offer on SIMs?

SMARTY previous offer banner

SMARTY previously ran a free month offerSee current offers

at SMARTY.co.uk
(opens in new window)

We'd count SMARTY as one of the low-cost mobile providers that don't really have any room to manoeuvre in terms of reducing their SIM only plan prices any further. So what can they do for Black Friday?

A strong possibility is that they could repeat the offer they've ran earlier in the year where you get the cost of your plan in your second month free.

This would suit SMARTY as a provider of 30-day contracts. Customers on 1-month deals are way more likely to jump ship more often, so incentives that keep you there longer are favourable for SMARTY.

Of course, they could go and surprise us with something completely different. We have no insider information.

Useful link: SMARTY's SIM only plans

Tesco Mobile: hard to predict, maybe extra data offers

Tesco Mobile special offers on SIM only

Tesco aren't that adventurous with offersSee current offers

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

Having tracked Tesco Mobile offers for a number of years, we'd say they are not the types for slashing prices on existing plans. They are fond of a bit of extra data here and there though:

Our bet for Tesco Mobile SIMs on Black Friday would be 3-4x different tariffs with extra data. Something like double or triple data. They've not had any offers that have diverged from that formula for a while.

As an outside chance, we could see something clever that uses Tesco Mobiles's other benefits, like bonus Clubcard points when you sign up.

Until any offers launch, we won't know. But we'll update this page when new deals come in.

Useful link: Tesco Mobile's Black Friday offers page

Virgin Mobile: we'd guess a big discount on a large data deal

Virgin Mobile flash sale SIM

This plan gets used in Virgin's "flash sales"See current offers

at virginmedia.com
(opens in new window)

Outside of Black Friday, Virgin Mobile seem to have permanently at least two of their SIM only plans in some kind of promotion. Sometimes, it's extra data for the same price. Others, it's an out-and-out discount.

If we were to make an educated guess, we think they'll have around 3x promotional SIM only plans, one with big amounts of data (think 100GB), one medium (6GB or so) and one small (1GB or so).

At the moment, they have an unlimited data SIM only plan that's reserved exclusively for people with Virgin Media broadband at home. We wonder if this could be made available for everyone for Black Friday?

As a cheap way to get a 4G SIM on EE's superfast network, with some excellent benefits like data rollover and free social media data, we'd tip Virgin to have some of the best overall value SIMs come Black Friday.

Useful link: Virgin's current special offers page

Vodafone: we'd predict a sale on selected large data SIMs

Vodafone Black Friday SIM only deals

Vodafone combined Black Friday with XmasSee current offers

at Vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

A bit like EE and O2, Vodafone tend to use their reputation as a large, reliable mobile network to sell their SIM only deals, rather than huge promomotions and bargain basement prices.

This year, their limited offers tend to be on one or two of their plans at most, usually with 20GB data or above. These have tended just to be a simple promotional price, rather than anything more complicated.

For Black Friday 2018, we're not expecting anything vastly different from Vodafone. Last year on SIMs, they combined Black Friday with the start of their Christmas sale.

We'd expect a promotional price on a 20GB SIM plan. And maybe on a 30GB to 50GB one too. We don't expect Vodafone to be a place to pick up a cheapo smaller data plan.

Useful link: Vodafone's Black Friday offers page

VOXI: triple data or streaming passes free for a while

VOXI triple data offer

Previous offers involved getting more dataSee current offers

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in new window)

While Vodafone don't give away a lot with their promotions normally, their sub-network VOXI is a bit more generous. In fact, there's pretty much always an offer on with them.

Usually, it's double data or triple data on each of their SIM only plans. So we can see them doing that again for Black Friday.

Another offer we've previously seen from VOXI is making their unlimited music and video streaming passes free for a certain number of months. These normally cost £5 - £7 a month, so getting them free would be a nice bonus.

It's worth remembering though that VOXI's deals are only for people aged 29 or under. But if you're young enough, their plans are a good-value way to get yourself on the Vodafone network.

Useful link: VOXI's current plans

Compare all current SIM only deals

Here are all the SIM only plans available now

SIM only deals available now

Compare the SIM only plans available

Nobody's launched any of the Black Friday deals yet, because we're still a way off. But if you're in the market for a SIM only deal, you might not need to wait.

Use our price comparison tool below to sort through all the current plans available with every network.

Choose what you want in your deal:

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Types of offer for Black Friday

Here are the types of offers likely to launch on SIM only

Black Friday banner

Expect plenty of black

If you're thinking of waiting until Black Friday to sign up to the best possible SIM only deal, we think you'll find it useful to know the types of to expect.

Based on previous years, we'd say there are 4 main categories of offer:

1) Money-off discounts
2) Gifts and rewards
3) Promotional tariffs (extra data)
4) Free months where you pay no monthly charge

In the sections below, we pick through each type of offer and give our best guess as to where you'll be able to find that type of deal.

1) Out-and-out discounts off the monthly cost of your SIM

Discounted Black Friday SIM only deals

Some networks will just reduce their SIMs' cost

Black Friday is supposed to be about discounts, and getting things cheaper than normal. We'd expect a large number of mobile networks to offer outright discounts against the 'usual price' of their SIM only plans.

This is usually the most valuable type of offer, particularly if you want to join one of the traditionally more-expensive networks. But we'd advise a bit of caution when choosing your deal.

The reason we've said 'usual prices' above is that you sometimes see providers subtly increase particular plans in the run up to Black Friday so that they can be slashed during the event (called price establishing).

Our advice is to use price comparison tools like ours to compare all deals at once, rather than be lured in by a particular plan that seems like it's got a huge discount.

Most likely networks:Three logoBT logoEE logoO2 Mobile logoVirgin Mobile logoVodafone logo

2) Extra gifts or rewards with your SIM only deal

Amazon / iTunes voucher offer

Some will offer additional extras like vouchers

We'll likely see a number of networks offer free gifts, rewards or vouchers alongside their SIM only plans. As long as the gift is genuinely valuable and doesn't cost you more, these can be good deals to pick up.

From previous years, these have tended to be things like Amazon or iTunes vouchers or perhaps pre-paid cash cards from Mastercard or similar.

Mobile networks like these offers because it avoids them discounting the overall price of their deals. Often you'll have to jump through a few hoops to actually get the reward though.

Our advice with gifts and rewards is to check you'd actually ever use the reward and that you're not paying more than you would normally just to get the reward!

Most likely networks:BT logoEE logogiffgaff logoSky Mobile logo

3) Extra data for the same price / one-off promotional plans

Black Friday SIM with extra data

Some will offer extra data or minutes for the same price

This will probably be the most common type of deal available during the Black Friday period on SIM only, because it avoids networks having to drastically cut their prices.

Look out for deals with boosted data, minutes or texts than what's regularly available with a provider. Expect double data, triple data or even quadruple data on a limited number of plans, usually 12-month ones.

This is a favourite type of promotion among the cheaper networks because it means they don't have to cut the prices of their already low-cost deals. They can just give you more for the same price.

For customers, it's great too as it's a chance to get more for your money. We'd recommend using our comparison tool to compare all deals against one another once Black Friday comes.

Most likely networks:iD Mobile logoPlusnet Mobile logoSky Mobile logoTesco Mobile logoVirgin Mobile logoVOXI logo

4) SIM deals with a number of months free or half price

Three's Black Friday offer last year

Three's offer two years ago

The final type of SIM only deal we expect to see during Black Friday is probably the least common: where networks give you a number of free months.

Naturally you're only ever going to see this type of promotion on 12-month SIM only contracts, because on shorter 1-month deals, you could just take the free months and then do a runner!

With these types of deals, you should calculate the average monthly cost of a deal over 12 months minus how many months free you get. But remember you'll continue paying the full rate once your 12 months is up.

We don't expect many networks to offer this type of deal. We only ever seen Three offer it a couple of years ago, although we'd say low-cost provider SMARTY are a candidate this year.

Most likely networks: Three logoSMARTY logo

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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