There are lots of different types of deals you can go for, but which one is right for you? What is a contract? If you’re struggling to tell your SIM only from your Pay as you go, this article should help clear the waters.

What are the different types of phone plans

Pay monthly contract

You’ll pay a set monthly amount and get a SIM card, phone, minutes, texts and internet data included in the price. Pay monthly contracts give you excellent value and are the most cost effective way of getting the latest and best phones. They let you spread the cost of phones across many months, making them more affordable.

Pay as you go

You’ll get a phone and a SIM card, and need to add money in the form of credit to the SIM. This is known as topping up. Calls, texts and internet data then use up small amounts of credit. Pay as you go is simple and lets you control your costs easily because you can top up as often as you like. Some Pay as you go deals even come with inclusive minutes, texts and data if you top up a certain amount.

Upgrade (Pay monthly)

If you have a Pay monthly contract already, and have had it for around two years, you can upgrade. This means you stay with your current network, but get a new phone and a new Pay monthly contract. Often you get a better deal than starting with a new contract. You can upgrade through Carphone Warehouse on any network, and it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get your contract from us. Remember, we have more phones and more upgrade deals to choose from than the networks.

Upgrade (Pay as you go)

If you’ve had a Pay as you go SIM with the same network for the past 6 months, you can probably upgrade on Pay as you go. This means you can get a new phone at a discounted price, and can still use your Pay as you go SIM, so you keep all the advantages.

SIM only

You get a SIM, with included minutes, texts and data, but no phone included. SIM only deals either run for one month, and can then be renewed each month if you want. Or, they run for 12 months and you pay a set amount each month, similar to Pay monthly contracts. They’re good value and short, so it gives you more freedom to change if you want. And they’re perfect if you already have a phone, or are waiting for a new phone to come out.

SIM free

If you buy SIM free, you’re buying a phone on its own, without a SIM, any minutes, texts or data. You’ll need to have one of the other types of deals so you have a SIM to use. You can then slot your SIM into your new phone. Buying SIM free means you can get the phone you want whenever you want it, but it might cost you a little more. To help with the costs, you can always trade in or exchange your old phones.