Sim only, or choose prepaid: what is wisdom? In this article, we explain the main differences between the two. We also indicate which option is perfect for you.
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Guide: Choose Sim only or prepaid?
If you have decided not to want a smartphone with a subscription, there are two options left: sim only or prepaid. With sim only you only take out a mobile subscription, so you must already have (or buy) the phone at home. That kite also applies to prepaid, but otherwise the two are quite different from each other. That’s what this article is about.
1. Subscription or prepay?
The biggest difference between the two is simple: sim only is a subscription form, prepaid is not. With sim only you pay a fixed monthly amount to a provider, after which you receive a certain number of call minutes, text messages and / or internet. With prepaid you are not bound by monthly costs, but you pay in advance (in English: pre paid).
2. Know what you spend
The big advantage of prepaid is therefore that you know exactly what you are spending. Suppose you have put credit on your prepaid card for ten euros, there is still 0.20 euros left and 1 text message costs 0.08 euros. You can then send two more text messages and then no more.
With a sim only, the story is different. This is because you take out bundles, for example a package for 120 text messages per month. Do you have two messages left and do you decide to send that third one anyway? Then you pay the so-called out-of-bundle rate. The prices differ per provider, but count on an outside bundle rate of between 0.05 and 0.15 euros for a text message.
Many prepaid providers nowadays also allow you to purchase bundles. The difference compared to SIM only is in the shelf life. With a SIM only package, the bundles are refreshed monthly. So, for example, you get 50 calling minutes every month and you have to use them in the month itself, because you cannot take them with you.
When you buy a prepaid bundle, you do not have to deal with this. The calling bundle remains valid and does not ‘start’ again every month. Keep in mind the expiry date of prepaid bundles, more about this below.
3. Bundles and conditions
This brings us to a third difference between prepaid and SIM only. All kinds of conditions may apply to the latter. Not all providers charge extra-bundle rates, for example.
For example, those who take out a SIM only with KPN and have their internet access through them, will not be disconnected and will not pay a higher rate. Instead, the internet speed slows down. For example, you have to wait longer for websites to load.
With prepaid you have to deal with completely different conditions. For example, many providers have a ‘best before date’ on credit. This means that you must use the amount before a certain date. Most providers also want you to top up regularly. If you do not do this, your calling credit will expire and your telephone number will be available to others.
Advice: choose sim only or prepaid?
So, is it better to go for sim only or prepaid? The answer depends on your personal situation, but we can give general advice.
Do you call, internet and text relatively little (less than 50 calling minutes / text messages per month)? Then you are probably better off with a prepaid card. Even when you don’t use the internet much while on the road, prepaying is probably the cheapest option. Prepaid is therefore really intended for people who do not use the telephone and use the internet a lot, but who do want to be reachable.
If you use your smartphone a little more, then a SIM only subscription is the best choice. The conditions differ per provider, but if you use at least 100 call minutes, 50 text messages and 500 MB of internet a month, a SIM only is cheaper in most cases than a prepaid connection.
Take out SIM only or prepaid
Tip: try to find out for yourself what kind of user you are. Check how much you have called, internet and texted in the past months and take the average of this. Then check which form – sim only or prepaid – suits you and see which provider can offer you the cheapest offer. Via the sim only comparator of Android Planet you can filter SIM-only plans by price, bundles, duration and more.