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Sim Only Deals: Mobile Phone Buying Guide

former giff-staffer

Over the last week we have brought you comparison tables on four of the most popular handsets on the market, and showed you that buying your phone outright and popping in a giffgaff sim could save you loads of cash in the long run.


Here is our guide to getting a phone that is right for you:


1)      What is your budget?


We have some great guides on the blog and if you have a budget in mind for your handset check out the below


Budget handsets

Under £100

£200 and under

£150 - £300 and looking for a Smartphone

High End Smartphones


There are some fantastic deals out there but before you buy consider Martin Lewis’ of Money Saving Expert’s mantra’s.  If you are skint, ask Do I need it? Can I afford it? And if you can afford it, ask Will I use it? Can I afford it?  If the answer is no to either of these, then don’t buy it.


2)      What should I consider?


Technology at times can be baffling; do you really need 3 extra megapixels in your camera? And why does it matter what platform my phone operates on – providing it works on platform at the station whilst I’m waiting for my train.  We’ve trawled the web and if you are not into technology this guide from PC World may help you out. 


3)      Contract or PAYG

If you can afford to buy a phone outright then there is no contest – you should do exactly that – it will save you £££’s.  We’ve compared some of the most popular handsets out there at the moment:




Blackberry Bold 9900

Samsung Galaxy S3



4)      Where to get the best deals


Outside of the obvious eBay and Amazon, there are loads of great places to find a deal on the mobile handset you want. 


Google it – Search for the handset that you want and google shopping will trawl the web for various sellers and cost’s.


Check mobile specific retailers – The likes of prepaymania or can often offer you a more competitive deal than mobile networks themselves


Compare, compare, compare – there are plenty of comparison sites out there and it’s worth checking a few dependent upon the handset that you would like – a few of our favourites are U Switch and Recombu.


Check for extra discounts – Is there a vouchercode or cashback available? Before you buy check out or MyVoucherCodes.  They may offer an additional saving for the product that you want, and there may be a different retailer offering a bigger discount.  


5)      How to unlock a handset


If you’re looking to unlock your phone, there are a number of options open to you, different phones require different unlocking methods, some have free unlock methods, some don’t.  Visit Unlockapedia to find the best way to unlock your phone.  All you need to do is select the make and model of your handset, and you will be taken to a page that lists the various unlocking options open to you.


If you use an unlocking site not listed on Unlockapedia, make sure you check out this list of scam unlocking sites



i recently got an i phone it was on o2 now giffgaff .the phone was on giffgaff when i got it .i reset the phone  back to factory setings and now i cant acsess my internet or any wifi when i goto go on the web it comes up with celulour data whot does this i need to load my phone with instructions again its just that the person that i got my phone off says it needs giffgaff instructions again does any body know how to help me phone is the iphone 3g thank you all faye


Quote:- "Over the last week we have bought you comparison tables . . . . . ."   (Now edited)



I think you mean "brought" not "bought".Smiley Very Happy

Hi Faye, have a look here: In future it's probably best for you to post queries in the help forum as people will more likely notice it Smiley Wink Hope you get it sorted.
Another cashback website to consider is They are similar to quidco, but they don't charge an annual fee, and sometimes have better cashback offers. I usually check both before committing myself to any purchase. Then you can definitely get the best of both worlds. Thanks stephanienorman, for a great blog... Smiley Happy

best guide ever...


hv 15pounds credit on my account but i dnt knw how to top up to my phone.pls help me out,


"If you can afford to buy a phone outright then there is no contest – you should do exactly that – it will save you £££’s."


This is simply not the case. Sometimes there are some great deals on contract that actually work out cheaper than buying the phone on PAYG/sim free (not including redemption deals etc). I am all for promoting giffgaff, but that is pretty poor advise.


One other small issue is that in your previous contract or PAYG blog posts you do not take accout of discount rates over time in your analysis, so contract plans with less of an initial outlay in reality work out cheaper than you are suggesting.

former giff-staffer

We gathered information for these blogs from a range of independent advisors in order to provide the most accurate information, however prices and deals change daily.  In most cases it worked out cheaper to purchase the phone upfront rather than commit to a contract, but a good deal is not just about low cost. Aside from the savings, there are many other benefits associated with buying a phone and choosing a giffgaff goodybag.  Firstly, it is easy to control exactly how much you spend, as you can choose to update your tariff on a monthly basis, and if there’s a better tariff for you, giffgaff will tell you before you’re due to purchase your next goodybag. This flexibility enables you to quickly change the conditions of your goodybag depending on your call behaviour. So if you find you’re not using your allowance, you can drop to a £5 goodybag and save even more. With no contractual obligations, a giffgaff SIM deal will also not charge you a termination fee when you wish to end your monthly tariff.


For the sake of these comparisons we tried to match the package details as closely as possible to giffgaff's £10 goodybag offering 250 minutes, unlimited text messages, and unlimited data for one month, but of course there are hundreds of tariffs available to suit the individual way you use your phone.


Has to be the way forward. Tie-ins are so yesterday and often involve front -end inducement with long-term costs.


Comparing published contract prices from networks and resellers is most of the picture, but don't forget that retentions teams sometimes offer better terms than for new customers, though getting much of a difference seems to be harder to achieve than it used to be.