Back in 2009, a survey by The Recycling Factory found that there were an estimated 90 million unused mobile phones languishing in the sock drawers, filing cabinets and other ad hoc places of semi-disposal in the homes and offices of Britain.
Nowadays, as you are no doubt aware, there is a healthy niche market devoted to exploiting this resource, offering cash for used mobiles which are then reconditioned and sold on.
More modern handsets find their way back into use in the UK, while older, more basic mobiles often find a place in overseas markets. The used mobile stock pile in the UK has also had a knock on effect on the way that mobile network providers sell us their services, resulting in the growth of another type of specialist company, that focuses solely on sim card deals.
Using prepaid sim cards avoids the need to commit to lengthy contracts with a fixed monthly payment, and for some years now this has allowed many people with low or unpredictable incomes to be able to run a mobile phone on a budget. On average, a £10 – £15 per month saving can be achieved by using a pre-paid sim over a phone and service contract, when you compare tariffs that deliver identical call minutes and texts.
Sim only deals can save you around £15 a month if you play the market
The short term commitment offered by sim only deals – which tend to run for just 30 days – is also proving increasingly attractive for other reasons. Beyond economic necessity, the flexibility that pre-paid sims provide is striking a chord with those who have become savvy about the mobile communications market, and the possible limitations of the network hardware.
At a simple level, short term sim card deals can be useful for those moving house, providing a chance to check out the reception delivered by a given network in a new area before signing a full contract.
Month by month deals can also allow people to maintain the modern necessity of mobile communication in the short term while they wait for a new handset to hit the market – at which point they can sign up to a standard network contract to enjoy a hefty subsidy on securing the new smartphone.
Perhaps the most sophisticated contemporary use of sim card deals is as a means of playing the market. For years, the major providers have made sure that new, subsidised handsets are ‘locked’ to their network , but the second hand market – and indeed the industry regulator Ofcom – demanded that unlocking codes become available (it’s basically a consumer right to do with market competition rules).
Exploiting this fact, many people still under contract with expensive smartphones now use phone unlocking to access the cheaper service packages provided through sim card deals. For more information about unlocking phones visit Unlockapedia.