The Rise of the SIM-Free Phones & SIM-Only Plans
The Status Quo
When consumers like you and me buy our phones, we often pay the cost of the phone throughout 24-months because the price tags of unlocked phones are scary for us. Many consumers still consider the traditional phone contract plan to be an attractive option for this reason; according to one article by YouGovi n 2015, 67% of users paid their phone through a traditional pay-by-installments contract. Although the traditional phone contract seems to be holding steady for the time being, it appears that there is a challenger on the horizon…
A Challenger Approaches
Enter the SIM-Only Contract and its companion the SIM-Free Phone. More and more people are now buying their handhelds unlocked and without a SIM-Card. These phones are not affiliated with a carrier such as Verizon or AT&T. One reason more users are buying a phone SIM-Free while searching for a separate SIM-Only plan is because it is cheaper in the long run.
Getting in the Weeds: What does SIM-Free Offer?
But the story is more complicated than a simple cost comparison; after all, most consumers still buy their phones through traditional contracts. Although this is can be mostly attributed to the rise of SIM-Free phones with SIM-Only contracts being a recent phenomenon, it is still worth exploring the benefits and drawbacks of this new model of phone buying. So why do people buy their phones unlocked and get a SIM-Only plan separate from their device?
The most obvious reason for buying a SIM-Only plan with an unlocked phone is because people do not want to be tied to a single carrier for 2 years. The freedom of owning your own phone independent from big name carriers is reason enough for many to go SIM-Free. Another reason is that many users want to lower their phone bill. As mentioned earlier, SIM-Free phones with SIM-only plans are cheaper in the long run when compared to traditional plans. However, having an unlocked phone also opens the opportunity to subscribe to a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) plan where one can buy a lean phone plan. This is great for users who don’t want to use their phone often or don’t need texts or minutes because they can use WiFi for text and call. The freedom from any carrier and the ability to change SIM-cards on the fly is also beneficial for users who like to travel whether it is for business, volunteering, or tourism.
Conclusion: More Than Black & White
Of course, the comparison between SIM-Free and traditional contracts is more complex than that. By going SIM-Free you do sacrifice some perks of a traditional phone & data plan. Namely, you don’t have as easy access to some fancy perks of a traditional plan like unlimited voice, text, or data. You can find these in a SIM-Only plan but that requires some more persistent shopping on your part. Furthermore, you will have to deal with the upfront cost of buying a phone unlocked which is something not everyone can or want to do. Ultimately, the choice between SIM-Free and Contract is up to you.