How a SIM only contract could help you beat the largest mobile price hikes ever

Staff Reporter
February 26, 2023

Six top tips on how a SIM-only contract could help you beat the largest mobile price hikes ever

Price increases during a contract are routine. But with inflation at soaring levels in 2023, the increases are going to be far steeper than normal.

By how much will your contact increase? 

Price rises tend to happen once a year. While these price hikes used to be between 3% and 4%[2], due to soaring inflation rates, this could increase by as much as 17.3% for Virgin Mobile and O2 customers (increasing by £6.05 for a £35 per month contract) and 14.4% for BT, Plusnet, Vodafone and EE customers (increasing by £5.04 for a £35 per month contact.

What should you do if you’re hit by a price rise? 

While the price increase might come as a shock to customers, most networks can legally adopt prices because they mention it in your contract terms when you sign up. This means that you generally do not have the right to simply cancel your contract without being charged an exit fee. 

However, some providers do allow you to leave your contract for another deal free of charge, so it’s worth checking the terms and conditions of your network provider. 

Are SIM-only contracts affected by the price rise? 

Although the increase in charges does apply to SIM-only contracts as well as handset contracts, SIM-only contracts are generally a lot cheaper, so it’s worth thinking about holding onto your existing handset instead of upgrading to the latest phone.

In fact, mobile experts have revealed that you could save on average £321.71 per year, or £26.80 per month[3] just by switching to a SIM-only contract.

That saves you enough for a Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify Premium subscription[4]!

What SIM-only contract will save you the most?

Opting for a 30-day or no-contract SIM-only deal means that you will always be in control of the money you pay for your phone. If you are unhappy with the price increases made by your current provider, you may be able to switch to a cheaper deal.’s exclusive no contract deal with Lebara means that you could be paying as little as £2.78 per month, equating to £69.09 per year, for unlimited texts and minutes and 15GB of data a month. exclusive deal specifications:


Monthly data

Monthly texts and minutes

Contract length

Added extras

Price per month

(runs on Vodafone signal)

15 GB 


No contract

No annual price increase

£2.78 for first three months,£6.75 thereafter

Running off the Vodafone network, this deal includes guaranteed 4G coverage across 98% of the UK, as well as 5G coverage available in a number of locations. On top of this, Lebara Mobile gives you the freedom to cancel or switch your tariff at any time because you’re not locked into a contract. Even better, you won’t need to pass a credit check, making it really fast and simple to sign up. 

How can you make the switch to a SIM-only contract? mobiles expert, Catherine Hiley, at Uswitch has provided six simple tips to make sure that you find the best deal for you: 

  1. Check your current phone contract: Although most contacts charge an exit fee if a contract is terminated early, it is worth checking your terms and conditions to see if you can switch to a better deal. It is worth assessing whether you really need the new phone upgrade that your network provider will try to upsell to you. You could save hundreds of pounds by keeping your existing phone and shopping around for a SIM-only deal that fulfils all your needs. 

  2. Check if you can switch to a new deal now: If you are nearing the end of your contract, some providers will allow you to switch to a new deal before April 1 and not be affected by mid-contract prices until 2024.  

  3. Consider how much data you require: Your current contract may have unlimited or a high data allowance, which means you never have to worry about running out. However, the average data usage was only 2.3GB of data a month per person in the UK in 2021[3]. This isn’t necessarily that surprising, as the majority of us have Wi-Fi at home and in our workplaces. Check your monthly phone bills to see how much you use each month to assess which SIM-only deal is best for you. 

  4. Consider the length of your contract: While phone contracts usually last 24 months, once your phone is paid off and you switch to a SIM-only deal, you will have the benefit of shorter contract periods or even no contract at all. This means you can opt-out at any time and will be able to shop around for the cheapest deals.

  5. Use comparison sites to get the best exclusive deals:  Sites like will allow you to shop around for great SIM-only deals, comparing deals from all of the major networks, while also featuring exclusive monthly deals.

  6. Check the network coverage and speed: Before purchasing your SIM-only deal, check the network coverage and speed to make sure it’s compatible with your needs and the area that you live in.

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