How To Buy Data Preloaded SIM Cards

If you're buying a tablet soon, then you'll need a 3G data plan to use it on the go. Before you choose any tariff you have to figure out whether or not you are a heavy data user. With a data only SIM, it's easy to go through your emails and download a few of those lovely tunes; even make a few calls or send a few text messages. The 3G mobile internet gives you 150MB, 1000MB, or unlimited depending upon the package that is chosen. That's a lot of music and a lot of emails for one price. The best part of the package is that it's done on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you're not hooked into a monthly payment. But how do choose which one?

Can I use any SIM Only plan with my tablet?

Yes, as long as it includes a data allowance. Tablets are nothing but big smartphones! And just like any other smartphone, you can use it to make calls and send texts so, yes, you can just use it with any smartphone data tariff.

What about the SIM card from my existing smartphone?

If you already have a SIM card with an inclusive data allowance, yes, you can certainly use it. Simply take it out of your existing smartphone and put it into you tablet. You will automatically receive your calls to your tablet. However, you smartphone will not function as it requires a SIM card to do so.

How much data do I need?/What's my budget?

Generally in order to choose the perfect data plan for you, you have to decide how much data you're likely to use and/or what you budget is. If you use your smartphone/tablet on a day-to-day basis reading newspapers, e-books, checking Facebook, a few web pages and sending a few e-mails, then most likely you do not use much data. For activities such as these, 1GB should be more than enough.

Deals under £10

Currently the cheapest UK SIM Only deal is Orange's £7 a month Dolphin tariff. Spending the equivalent cost of two coffees per month on it, you'll get an allowance of 150 minutes, 500 texts and 250MB internet. It comes with a 12-month contract but with a price like this, the contract is not something you'll have to worry about. However, we do not recommend it if you're a heavy user as 250MB data will not be enough for you.

£10 deals

For just £10 a month, you'll be able to get 100 minutes, 3,000 texts and 1GB data allowance from Three. And you won't feel hooked into a long-term commitment as it comes with a 1-month rolling contract. Alternatively, you can get 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and 1GB data allowance with a 12-month contract from Three.

Even better, on a PAYG basis, you can get 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited web from Giff Gaff. Of the two tariffs, Giff Gaff's tariff offers slightly better value with unlimited data but, depending on where you live, you may prefer Three if coverage is better.

£15 deals

For £15.50 a month, you can get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB data allowance with a Vodafone 12-month contract. However, at £15 a month (50p a month cheaper) Three are offering the top Pay-As-You-Go deal with 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and all-you-can-eat data.

What about iPad?

If you've bought an iPad, pay attention that Apple iPad does not support standard-sized SIM cards. You will need to buy a micro SIM card.