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Pay as you go is pretty simple. You get a SIM card from a mobile operator and put some credit onto your account and then go ahead and use your phone like normal. Once your credit has run out you’ll need to put some more on otherwise you won’t be able to make calls, send messages or surf the net. You will be able to receive calls and texts when you’re out of credit though. And that’s it. Choosing PAYG has both good points and bad points, depending on what kind of customer you are.
PAYG has a few advantages. Firstly, it’s pretty cheap. You’re not buying a mobile contract, so there’s no mobile phone to pay for each month, and you’re only ever going to pay for the services that you actually use, as oppose to on a contract when you pay for a monthly limit whether you use that limit or not. You also won’t be tied to an operator, no contract means no commitment and you’ll be free to switch to a different company any time you like.
Plus, because there’s no contract you don’t need to be over 18 and you don’t need to pass a credit check. Oh, and there’s no monthly bill either, meaning no nasty surprises, you pay before you use your credit so you can only spend the money that you have already put into your account. For young customers this makes PAYG plans easy to budget for, and for light phone users PAYG plans are much cheaper than paying for monthly calling plan limits that won’t be used up.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t downsides to choosing PAYG though. First up, you’re going to need to buy a phone, and buying your own phone might be more expensive than getting one through signing a mobile phone contract. Plus, for heavy phone users contracts are usually more cost effective with their monthly calling plans that offer large limits for relatively low prices.
The other disadvantage to PAYG is the whole deal with running out of credit. If you’re making a call and your credit drops to zero your call is going to be cut off. This means staying on top of the amount of credit that you have and topping up regularly.
If you decide that PAYG is the kind of plan that’s best for you, then you’re going to need to shop around to decide which operator to go with. Here’s where we have some good news. Firstly, nearly every UK operator offers PAYG options, and secondly there is very little difference in cost between operators. Essentially this means that it doesn’t really matter which operator you go with. However, don’t forget that operators run special deals all the time, so you might want to check out web pages to find out what sort of freebies you can get.
The best kinds of deals are going to offer you free services. An operator that’s offering a deal on PAYG plans that give you 100 free calling minutes, for example, is a pretty sweet deal. On the whole when you’re PAYG shopping you’ll want to look at two things: the price per unit (i.e. the price per calling minute, price per text message and price per MB of mobile data) and then whatever added extras are getting thrown in.
To use your PAYG plan you’ll need a phone. Make sure that your phone is unlocked, meaning that it will accept a SIM card from any operator. If it’s not, ask your operator about unlocking, which is totally legal in the UK. You then put your SIM card in your phone and you’re ready to go. As for topping up with credit, that’s simple these days. You can buy credit at mobile operator stores, high street shops, online, over the phone, and even with some cash machines.
PAYG phones aren’t the best option for everyone. If you’re a light phone user then PAYG might end up saving you a bunch of cash, which is always a good thing. For younger customers, PAYG might be the only option that doesn’t require someone else’s approval, since those under 18 will be unable to sign a contract with a network operator. Even though PAYG does have a few disadvantages, for some the advantages outweigh the downsides, and pay as you go is definitely an option worth considering!
Ask yourself the following: