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Problems with buying a "SIM-free" handset?

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I'm considering buying an HTC TyTn/Hermes SIM-free from Expansys. I've looked at the Vodafone/T-mobile/Orange deals, and they seem OK, but there seems to be a lot of debate about what levels of data-transfer you can get, what you're actually allowed to do with that data [VOIP, IM] and so on.

Pesonally, I think that 3G is still a relatively new area, and what appears to be a good deal now, may be a pretty poor deal in 10 months' time. Quantifying telephone calls and SMS/MMS is easy, but I think that data-transfer is more complicated. What I don't want to do is tie myself into an 18-month contract with T-mobile, only to find that in three months' time, they close the MSN port, or Vodafone start to actively encourage VOIP, or Orange release a genuine, flat-rate, unlimited-data tariff.

If I'm not tied to a contract, I can [presumably] just get a SIM-only, month-by-month contract on another network and stick with them until someone offers an even better deal. Having a SIM-only handset would also seem to give me more flexibility when it comes to selling it and buying a newer model in 12 months' time.

I know that I'll be spending

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Sounds sensible. You may bump into one or two device set up issues, but most issues can be resolved either with network support or (more likely) seraching Modaco for the answer!

I think T Mobile do their webnwalk thing on a sim only basis. The only other issue is that you wont have the benefit of the networks insurance cover - and although lots of people have insurance through their household cover or through premium bank accounts etc, the Orange replacement handset next day is important to me.

I would consider signing up for the contract that suits your voice and text requirements and getting an M3100 for free on Orange and then purchasing a data bundle from them (there is an unlimited one at

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