Three has relaunched its Sim-only deals, offering voice, text and data plans from £6.90 per month.
The operator said the move was in response to growing numbers of smartphone owners, as well as increasing demand for contract Sims. According to figures from GfK, the market grew by 34% between June 2010 and June 2012.
The Sim-only deals can last for as little as a month or as long as a year and are split between essential and unlimited internet plans. The cheapest Essential Internet plan is £6.90, giving customers 500MB, 200 minutes and 5,000 texts across 12 months. The most expensive tariff is £15.90, offering 1GB of data, 600 minutes and 5,000 texts per month.
Unlimited Internet plans start at £12.90, offering all-you-can-eat-data, 200 minutes and 5,000 texts on a one month contract. Sim-only customers can also sign up to The One Plan, which gives all-you-can-eat data, 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts for £25 per month.
Three marketing director Thomas Malleschitz said: 'The Sim market is on the up, driven, we believe, by consumers that want the best value for data from their plan with the option of being able to act quickly if a new smartphone catches their eye. The brand new Sim plans in our portfolio are built for the internet, packed full of data as well as a great allowance of minutes and texts, all on a network built for the internet.'
Responding to the new plans, Ernest Doku at uSwitch said: 'As the first to bring unlimited data to those on pay monthly contracts, Three continues to recognise the call of the market for a healthy amount of data in tandem with the usual minutes and text bundles, but on the Sim-only deals that savers are after.
'These customers want it all – low bills and the flexibility to switch provider or handset easily but also the fear-free data usage usually enjoyed by contract customers. These Essential Internet tariffs deliver, hitting that sweet spot of minutes, texts and data – as well as offering peace of mind with no out-of-bundle internet charges – at market-leading price points.
'Nevertheless, consumers should be realistic about their needs and spend some time looking over their bills to choose a tariff that suits them, as well as checking coverage maps to see if their prospective network enables them to make the most of their calls and data.'
Editor: Graeme Neill