A SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card is a small removable card that stores data needed to identify a subscriber on a mobile network. You can remove your SIM from your current phone and insert it into another compatible device, provided it's either with the same telecommunications provider or you've 'unlocked' it from its original network.
Pretty much every provider now offers customers a 'SIM only' option for postpaid and often prepaid plans - also called a 'BYO phone' plan. This means that instead of signing up to a contract and getting a new phone as part of the deal, you just get a SIM card connected to your provider's network, which you can then insert into the phone of your choice to use with your new plan.
A BYO plan is actually a great option if you have a phone you want to keep using, or have the means to purchase a phone outright through a retailer and want to find a plan with the best value for money. SIM only plans come with all the bells and whistles you'd associate with regular mobile plans - they just cost you less because you're not adding on the price of a new handset (not to mention insurance). Telecommunications companies really don't make money by selling phones to customers; the profit is in selling the use of their network through the plans themselves. The inclusion of a sexy new smartphone to be paid off over a 12 or 24 month term just acts as a lure to entice customers to sign up to a provider's network. Often, customers will find that through bypassing an unnecessary phone upgrade and just finding a new plan for the phone from their expired contract, they can secure a better deal with better value.
However, enter into a plan and purchase a phone and you'll find costs go up, as telcos need to insure against recovering a phone should their customer decide to renege on the contract - it's easy to disconnect service for someone who hasn't paid a bill, but recovering that new smartphone may not be quite as simple.
BYO plans will usually feature similar inclusions and exclusions as other plans. Included value will typically be:
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