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30-day rolling SIM only contracts: how they work, pros and cons

30-day rolling SIM plans

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

Read about 30-day rolling SIM only contracts in our handy quick guide. How they work, who offers them and what are the pros and cons. Last updated: 22nd August 2022.

How rolling SIM only contracts work

What are 1-month rolling SIM contracts?

Rolling SIM only contract

Your contract will renew itself automatically

The basic idea of a monthly “rolling” contract is that it’s largely the same as any other pay monthly SIM only contract, only that you’re tied to your network for 1-month rather than a longer 12-month or 24-month timeframe.

These will renew themselves automatically every month, so there’s nothing to do manually if you want to stay on your network. It will keep renewing itself until you cancel it. That’s what “rolling” means.

If you want to leave your contract you’ll have to give either a 1-month or 30 days’ notice before you can do so. Although, we’ve found some networks will cancel it sooner if you want.

How long the notice period is depends on your network. Some say “30 days” while others will say “1-month” - but it works essentially the same way in any case.

Useful link: Read all their advantages and disadvantages

How rolling contracts are different from monthly bundles

30-day contracts vs bundles

A UK bank account is a necessity to join a contract

It’s important to know the difference between 30-day SIM only contracts (pay monthly) and monthly bundles (basically pay as you go). It may sound similar, but there’s a difference in how you pay for either kind of deal:

By taking a contract you’re setting up a direct debit. The cost of your monthly plan and any extras that aren’t included in your allowance, such as going over your limits and international calls, will come out of your bank account every month.

If you take a monthly bundle, you’re paying for everything up front (more like conventional pay as you go) using a debit or credit card or Paypal. You’re buying your 30 days’ worth of minutes, texts and data before you use them.

And if you want to spend money on anything that’s not included in your basic bundle, you’ll usually have to top up with credit and pay out of that.

Usually contracts are a bit cheaper, but they require you to pass a credit check to join. Since you’re paying for everything up front with a monthly bundle you won’t have to pass a credit check for these, but they tend to be pricier.

Useful link: See rolling SIMs with no credit check in our dedicated guide.

Advantages and disadvantages

Positive: You’re free to leave after giving 30-days notice

A hand waving goodbye

Leave when you like with 1-month’s notice

The main reason you’d join a 30-day contract is that you don’t want to be tied down on a long-term contract.

All you need to do to leave is to give your network 30 days’ notice. So long as you do that you won’t be charged for leaving the network (that will happen if you try to leave early on a longer contract).

You might find that the network you’ve joined just isn’t for you. If you’re on a longer contract then you’re out of luck, and you’ll be stuck on that network till your contract is over.

So, 30-day contracts are a great way of testing out a network first before potentially joining a longer contract with them later. If you’re not happy, just wait until the month is up and then you’re free to look for something else.

Useful link: Compare 1-month SIM only plans

Positive: Switch plans to suit your monthly needs

Choosing a different plan

Switch to a plan that suits your needs

The amount of minutes, texts and data you need can change from month to month. That’s why being stuck on a 12-month contract with no way to change your plan could be an issue.

You could either end up paying for extra charges because the plan you're on doesn’t give you enough minutes, texts of GB of data. Or you could be spending more than you actually need on things you won’t even use.

But you don’t have to worry about that on a rolling 30-day contract. It means you can switch to any monthly deal your network offers - which also means you can change to a cheaper offer when they appear!

It’s easy enough to change plans. You can take your new deal online or you can call up your networks’ customer service if you’d prefer to do it that way (bear in mind some networks don’t have over-the-phone service).

Useful link: Find a 30-day rolling SIM now

Negative: 1-month contracts are sometimes pricier

A wallet

Shorter contracts tend to be pricier than longer ones

Usually networks that offer both 12-month (or longer) contracts and rolling 1-month contracts tend to make their rolling contracts more expensive. The reason is that it’s easier to switch tariffs or leave altogether at short notice.

1-month plans tend to be anywhere between £3 to £5 pricier per month than a network’s longer contracts. And quite a few networks just don’t offer any 30-day contracts whatsoever.

If being on a longer contract isn’t an issue for you, then you might like being on a cheaper long-term contract rather than on a pricer 30-day contract.

But if you prefer to remain flexible, then the extra cost of getting a 1-month deal might be worth it for you. The best option overall would be to find a network that don’t charge more to get on a 30-day contract.

Useful link: Compare 12-month and 30-day rolling contract prices

Mobile networks offering 30-day contracts

Ranking the networks on their 1-month deals

Which networks offer the most flexible and best value 1-month deals?

Joint 1st: Talkmobile’s no-frills 30-day deals are very low cost

Talkmobile logo

One of the cheapest ways onto Vodafone’s networkView standard SIM deals

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

Talkmobile are another network that piggyback off Vodafone, getting you the same speeds and signal coverage as their hosts (including 5G). You also get EU roaming, flexible spending limits and WiFi/4G calling.

You can either take a 30-day rolling contract or a 12-month contract. You won’t have to pass a credit check for their 30-day plans (you’ll enter some personal details). But these don’t usually offer as much data as their 12-month contracts.

You will have to give 30 days notice before cancelling your 1-month contract. And Talkmobile don’t offer any unlimited data plans. In fact Talkmobile are mostly geared towards offering people smaller data plans.

There are usually some better deals that they share exclusively with comparison websites like us and aren’t advertised on their website directly (compare these hidden deals against Talkmobile’s regular range here).

Useful link: Our full review of Talkmobile

Joint 1st: SMARTY offer some of the cheapest 30-day deals on the market

SMARTY logo

Three’s cheaper sub-brandSee SMARTY's SIMs

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

SMARTY are the sub-brand of Three and were set up as a cheaper and more flexible alternative to Three. As such they provide signal via Three’s network.

All of their plans are offered as 30-day deals. They’re typically one of the cheapest UK networks and you pay for everything up front, meaning you don’t have to pass a credit check to join them.

You can change plans month to month or just make sure your plan doesn’t renew itself so you can buy a new plan each month. They’re one of the best networks for flexibility and sheer value.

Useful link: Visit SMARTY's official site

Joint 2nd: Plusnet Mobile offer cheap 1-month deals on the EE network

Plusnet logo

Extra data boost for broadband customersSee plan prices

at plus.net
(opens in new window)

Plusnet Mobile piggyback off EE’s 4G network and offer all their plans on flexible 1-month contracts. This lets you switch plans month-to-month and leave altogether whenever you wish (as long as you give 30-days notice).

On top of brilliant flexibility, their plans are very cheap. They’re the cheapest way onto the EE network, but this does come at the cost of benefits. For the most part you don’t get anything extra on their plans.

The benefits they do offer include inclusive EU roaming on all plans as well as flexible spending caps (£1 increments) so you don’t overspend on extras outside of your plan. But they miss out of benefits like data rollover.

And you can get an extra 2GB data boost on top of their plans if you’re have Plusnet broadband at home. That adds value on top of value. The mix of low prices with great flexibility is why Plusnet are so high in our rankings.

Useful link: Compare SIM only contracts

Joint 2nd: iD Mobile offer great value 1-month rolling contracts

iD Mobile logo

Some great benefits on well priced plansSee iD's 30-day plans

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

iD piggyback off Three’s network to provide signal to their customers and were set up by Carphone Warehouse. Across all networks, iD usually work out as one of the cheapest.

You can either take a 30-day rolling contract with them, or a longer 12-month or 24-month contract if you prefer. Their 12-month contracts are usually similar in pricevalue to their 1-month ones, but their 24-month contracts are a bit better value.

Using our SIM comparison tool, you’ll find iD Mobile’s 1-month contracts typically work out cheaper than most networks’ 12-month contracts and even some 24-month contracts. That means you get flexibility on top of a great value deal.

iD Mobile also offer some monthly bundles which aren’t as great value as their pay monthly contracts, but won’t require you to to pass a credit check to join (see current costs here).

Useful link: See all iD Mobile's 30-day rolling contracts

Joint 3rd: Virgin now offer all their plans as 30-day deals

Virgin Mobile logo

They’ve recently changed how their plans workSee Virgin's deals

at ivirginmedia.com
(opens in new window)

Virgin Mobile use Vodafone’s brilliant network for 4G/5G and call signal coverage. Before they only offered 12-month and 24-month contracts. But they’ve changed their plans recently so that they’re now all offered as 1-month rolling contracts.

Thankfully this change hasn’t come with the consequence of higher costs as their new contracts are largely the same price per GB as their previous ones, they’re just on 1-month contracts now.

You still get data rollover on every plan so long as you don’t change plans. This lets you keep the data you didn’t get through in one month for your next one. It’s great if your usage changes month to month.

And they still offer unlimited data for social media messaging on all plans. This means the data you use for messaging on Messenger, Twitter and Whataspp won’t come out of your monthly allowance.

You used to be able to switch plans month-to-month anyway, so this change just means that you can leave Virgin earlier than you used to be able to.

Useful link: Compare Virgin's deals against all networks

Joint 3nd: VOXI offer every plan on 30-day deals

VOXI logo

Freedom to leave or switch every 30 daysSee VOXI plans

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

VOXI offer all their SIM only plans on 30-day deals that you pay for up front without a contract. If you want to leave, just make sure your plan doesn’t renew itself and then let your plan run out.

Every plan gets you unlimited calls and texts, as well as unlimited social media data on these apps. They get you the same signal coverage and data speeds as Vodafone to 99% of the UK’s population.

Their Endless Social Media benefit can save you a decent amount of data, but their Endless Video benefit lets you stream these apps without using your data. That can save a lot of data, but only comes on their larger plans.

And every VOXI plan gets you access to Vodafone’s rapidly expanding 5G network if you’re on a 5G-ready phone. So there’s a lot to love with VOXI.

Useful link: Compare VOXI's deals to other networks

Joint 3rd: 1pMobile offer flexible 1-month plans

1pMobile logo

No contracts and no credit checks to joinRead our review

at 1pmobile.com
(opens in new window)

We rate 1pMobile highly for offering the cheapest pay as you go rates of all UK networks (1p per min, text and MB of data) but they also offer a few good value 1-month plans without contracts.

They’re not the cheapest provider that use the EE network (for SIM only deals) but they’re a good deal cheaper than joining EE directly. And you get access to EE’s brilliant 5G and the same speeds and coverage as being on EE.

Since you’re paying for everything up front there is no way to accidentally overspend. If you want to use any extras you’ll have to top up and pay as you go at these rates.

If you find that 1pMobile just aren’t for you, then all you have to do is turn off auto-renew and let your monthly plan run out. No need to give notice, you can leave just like that.

Useful link: Our full 1pMobile review

Joint 3rd: ASDA Mobile’s plans are all 30-day deals

ASDA Mobile logo

Cheap and flexible, on VodafoneSee their plans

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

ASDA Mobile are a smaller provider that piggyback off Vodafone’s network. They’re typically one of the cheaper networks, and all of their great value plans are offered as 1-month deals.

There are no credit checks to join, as everything is paid for up front. If you prefer, you can also top up and pay out of credit at their pretty cheap rates (they’re the second cheapest PAYG network behind 1pMobile).

Only plans over £10 get you access to 5G. And there are some unlimited plans that are speed capped (see different plans here). Other than that, you get the same speeds and signal as being on Vodafone directly.

You can switch plans at any time and if you want to leave you just need to make sure you plan doesn’t renew itself and you’re free to leave. ASDA offer a great mix of flexibility and cheap costs that we think you’ll appreciate.

Useful link: Our guide to ASDA Mobile’s SIM only plans

Joint 3rd: giffgaff offer all their SIMs on 1-month deals

giffgaff logo

Get £5 cashback for bringing your friends onto giffgaffSee cashback offer

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

giffgaff were actually the first network to offer 30-day rolling contracts that work similarly to pay as you go, as there’s technically no contract to sign up to. Here’s how their plans work:

First you have to take a free SIM card from giffgaff after signing up on their website. Then you can top it up with credit and pay as you go, or you can take a monthly bundle of mins, texts and data (what they call a “goodybag”).

If you don’t want to have to manually take a new bundle every month, you can set it up to automatically renew by registering your bank details with giffgaff.

You can change plans to suit your needs easily. And if you find giffgaff just isn’t for you, just disable auto-renew and don’t buy a new bundle. Then you’re free to leave, easy as that. And you don’t need to pass a credit check to join.

To get even more value out of your deal, we’ve partnered with giffgaff so that if you sign up to them via the link below you’ll get £5 free credit when topping up with £10 or taking a bundle worth £10 or more for the first time.

Useful link: See our giffgaff £5 free credit offer

4th: Lebara’s SIM only plans are all pre-paid bundles

Lebara logo

Another flexible provider on VodafoneSee their plans

at mobile.lebara.com
(opens in new window)

Lebara’s main selling point is their very cheap international calling rates, but they also offer great value 1-month SIM only deals. They use the Vodafone network and offer the same signal coverage and speeds as their hosts.

All on 1-month rolling plans. You won’t need to pass a credit check and if you find they’re not for you, just turn off auto-renew and let your plan run out.

They’re not the cheapest, but all their plans come with some international minutes and some offer unlimited international minutes. They also offer roaming in India and in the EU, so the extra cost does come with some benefits.

Overall, we’d say there are better options for 1-month plans. But if you often need to call abroad, then Lebara might just be the network for you.

Useful link: Lebara Mobile’s SIM only deals

Joint 5th: Three offer monthly bundles and 1-month contracts

Three logo

Get either a 1-month contract or a monthly bundleSee the Three plans

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

Three usually offer a small range of 1-month contracts alongside their longer pay monthly contracts. These SIMs get you the same benefits as being on a long-term contract.

We’ve never seen a 1-month contract offered at a cheaper or equal price to the same plan on a longer 12 or 24-month contract on Three. We have seen a difference of up to £9 a month between a shorter and longer contract.

You can also take a 30-day bundle of minutes, texts and data that are typically a similar cost to their 1-month contracts.

We’d say their 30-day deals are fine for testing out Three’s network and signal coverage, but for the long term it would be best to get a longer 12 or 24-month contract as they work out as much better value.

Useful link: Three's SIM only plans

Joint 5th: O2’s more flexible 30-day SIMs come at a higher cost

O2 logo

Their bundles are better value than their 1-month contractsSee all O2 SIMs

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

O2’s 12-month SIM only contracts are typically some of the most expensive. But their 1-month rolling contracts are even pricier, so be prepared to pay a lot for the extra flexibility on O2.

If you compare their 30-day SIM only contracts to their 12 and 24-month contracts you’ll find they’re anywhere between £3 to £11 more expensive, and they don’t come with all the same benefits as their longer contracts.

O2 offer a good range of different data amounts on 1-month contracts, from small amounts to unlimited data. But even the smallest of these plans are very expensive.

Oddly, their 30-day pay as you go “Big Bundles” are usually better value than their 1-month contracts (and you get data rollover on these too). That’s something to think about when taking a shorter plan.

Useful link: See all O2's SIM card types

Joint 5th: Tesco Mobile offer some pay monthly bundles

Tesco logo

Their 12-month contracts are better value per GBSee Tesco Mobile SIMs

at tescomobile.com
(opens in new window)

There’s a lot of benefits to joining Tesco Mobile, from their Capped Contracts to their Family Perks to their Clubcard Point scheme. But most of their plans are on 12 or 24-month contracts.

They don’t offer 1-month rolling SIM contracts anymore, but they do offer pay as you go monthly bundles. These are typically worse value than their regular pay monthly contracts, but get you the same benefits as being on pay monthly.

Tesco used to give you extra data for staying on the same “Rocket Pack” month on month, but that’s no longer the case. But if you have a Tesco Clubcard, you can sometimes get a better value deal (it’s free to sign up for one).

We rate Tesco Mobile highly in our review of them for having excellent coverage via the O2 network, a great mix of network features and extra benefits. We definitely think they’re worth a look.

Useful link: Compare all rolling SIMs now

6th: Honest Mobile offer 1-month and 12-month contracts

Honest Mobile logo

On the Three networkSee their plans

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

Honest Mobile let you join on either a 1-month rolling contract or a 12-month contract without having to pass a credit check. They piggyback off Three’s network, giving the same speeds and coverage (even on 5G).

Their 12-month contracts offer better value per month (typically £2.50 a month cheaper), but their 1-month contracts give you the extra flexibility of switching plans every month or leaving whenever you like.

They market themselves on being the only carbon negative UK network. But it’s important to bear in mind this comes at a cost. They’re typically pricier than Three (except Three’s 1-month contracts) so weigh up if it’s worth it for you.

If you stay on Honest for a long time then your plan will get discounted, which might make them more appealing for some. Otherwise you get free EU roaming on all plans, which is something their hosts don’t offer.

But the main benefit of joining Honest is the flexibility they offer. Don’t expect a premium experience, despite the higher prices.

Useful link: Our full Honest Mobile network review

7th: EE offer 1-month contracts and bundles

EE logo

Their shorter plans are even pricier than their long contractsSee EE's 30-day plans

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

You can join EE either on a 1-month contract or on one of their monthly pay as you go bundles. Bear in mind these are much pricier than their already expensive 12 and 24-month contracts.

The difference between their 1-month contracts and 12-month contracts with the same data amount is typically around £5. The value per GB you get on their 1-month contracts isn’t great overall.

But you are getting the benefit of being able to change your plan every month and leave whenever you like. If you join on one of their monthly bundles you won’t need to pass a credit check, which might be good if you’ve been rejected before.

These monthly bundles also get you data rollover, so you’ll have another chance to use up any leftover data in your next month. You also get access to EE’s brilliant 5G, but these bundles are a lot pricier than their contracts.

Useful link: Our full review of EE Flex Plans

8th: Vodafone’s 30-day contracts are pricier than their longer ones

Vodafone logo

1-month plans typically £2 - £7 pricier per monthSee the deals

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

Like the other main UK networks, Vodafone offer their best value SIM only deals on longer contracts. Their shorter contracts are a bit less appealing:

These 30-day contracts are typically between £5 and £12 more expensive than the same plans on 12-month contracts. And there are no Entertainment plans or deals with any Xtras on 1-month contracts.

All these 1-month plans require you to pass a credit check:

We just don’t really see Vodafone’s 1-month contracts as worth it. There are cheaper alternatives on Vodafone’s network, and it’s not like Vodafone offer any special benefits on these plans. We’d take a longer plan if you’re set on joining them.

Vodafone do offer some 30-day pay as you go SIM only bundles that get you data rollover, letting you keep the minutes, texts and data you bought for another month if you don’t get through them.

Useful link: Compare Vodafone's SIMs vs the competition

9th: BT Mobile offer 30-day plans as part of their “Family SIMs” only

BT logo

Only Family SIMs are on 1-month contractsSee their Family SIMs

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

When signing up to BT Mobile on SIM only you get the choice between a 12-month or 24-month contract. You can’t sign up on a 30-day contract, but there are some similar benefits of being on one:

After your SIM arrives, BT guarantee a full refund if you return it within 30 days if you find you’re not happy with their network. You will have to pay for any extras you’ve used in that time, however.

If you find yourself going over your allowance then you can switch to a bigger (pricier) plan at any point in your contract. But you won’t be able to switch to a cheaper plan until your contract is up.

But if you sign up multiple SIMs onto one account, then the additional SIMs will come on rolling 30-day contracts while also benefiting from some very nice discounts (read our review of the scheme here).

Useful link: See BT Mobile's SIM only plans

10th: Sky Mobile offer extra flexibility on longer contracts

Sky logo

You can change your plan month to monthSee Sky Mobile SIMs

at sky.com
(opens in new window)

While Sky Mobile don’t offer any 1-month contracts, their 12-month contracts offer a great deal of flexibility when compared to other networks:

Sky let you move your plan up and down every month, similar to changing your plan every month on a 30-day rolling contract (see their guide). Need more data? Take a bigger plan. Or take a smaller one if you’re spending more than you use.

This takes a bit of the risk out of taking a longer contract, as you’re less likely to be stuck on a plan that doesn’t suit your needs. It’s especially good if those needs change. It’s a nice bit of added flexibility we think most will appreciate.

Add to that all the benefits of joining Sky, like their brilliant “Piggybank” benefit. This lets you keep any data you haven’t got through in a month for up to 3 years and withdraw it at any time.

Useful link: How Sky's deals compare with other providers

Compare deals

These are all pay monthly SIM only contracts. If you'd rather a 30-day pay as you go bundle, see our SIM only deals with no credit check here.

Networks

Providers:

Three logo
ASDA logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
O2 logo
Plusnet logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

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Data: (0MB+)

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Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

FAQs about 30-day rolling contracts

What happens after 30 days?

Your contract will automatically renew and you'll get your new minutes, texts and data for the month.

If you want to stop, you'll have to contact your network to cancel and give 30 days' notice.

Do I have to wait until the end of the month to cancel?

No. Most networks let you cancel at any point during the month and will issue a partial bill for any days outside your normally monthly billing period.

Can my network put the price of my rolling contract up?

Yes they can but they will have to give you notice.

Remember, you're free to move to any of your network's new customer deals available at the time, which may be cheaper.

Or you can leave altogether by giving 30 days' notice if a price rise annoys you too much!

What's the difference between a 30-day and 1-month contract?

The only difference is the name. Some networks call it one, others call it the other. Either way, they are all still rolling contracts that let you cancel with 30 days' notice.

Do you have to pass a credit check for a 30-day rolling SIM only contract?

Yes for most rolling SIM only contracts, you do have to pass a credit check because you're setting up a direct debit and paying for usage at the end of the month.

SIM Sherpa expects the credit check to be lighter on short SIM only contracts than for phone contracts but can't make any guarantees as we have no insight on mobile network credit policies.

If you want a 30-day deal that definitely doesn't have a credit check, see our page on no credit check SIM only deals.

If you know you have bad credit, also see our article about getting mobile contracts with bad credit

Can you change to a 12-month contract once you're on a 30-day one?

Yes. With rolling contracts, you're free to change to a longer contract SIM only deal if your network offers them. We can't think of any good reasons why a network would stop you doing this.

Can you automatically upgrade to a phone contract from a rolling SIM only?

It's certainly possible to upgrade from a SIM only deal to a phone contract with your network. It's not necessarily an automatic right though.

You will still need to pass a further credit check by your mobile provider to get a phone.