Finding the right mobile contract for you
Published 12 March 2016 by Emily Bancroft
Don’t waste money on an expensive contract you’re not making the most of – here’s how to save.
Some mobile phone users on high-data tariffs could be spending as much as £400 more than they need to on their contract, according to new research.
The figures show how important it is to make sure you’re really making the most of your phone contract to ensure you’re not wasting money – and if you’re not, it might be worth switching to a different deal.
Stats from mobile comparison site HandsetExpert.com show that mobile customers are losing out on an average of £113 because they sign up to expensive monthly contracts, when they could be saving by buying phone handsets outright and then just getting SIM-only deals.
If you’ve got a mobile phone you’re happy with, you could save money by getting a SIM-only deal. These are cheaper than traditional 24-month contracts as you’re not paying off the cost of the handset – you’re just getting a deal on the minutes, texts or data you use.
You’re also not tied-in for as long as you would be on a standard contract, as you can sign up for just a month at a time. This gives you the freedom to switch if a better deal comes along and to be able to choose an offer that really suits your needs.
For example, if you make a lot of calls to your family members but don’t really use the internet much, you could find a SIM-only deal with a large number of minutes but a relatively low data allowance. However, if you started using the internet on your phone more, you’d be able to switch easily to a better package.
Want a new phone?
Alternatively, if your current phone is looking a bit tired and you want to upgrade to the latest model, you might decide to go for a traditional contract. It’s always more expensive to pay for a phone handset through a contract than it is to pay for it outright but if you can’t afford the upfront cost, it’s an option you might want to consider.
If you don’t need the brand-new iPhone but you’re instead happy to go for the slightly older model, you might be able to get a cheaper deal on your contract. Stores often reduce the price of phone contracts when a newer model is released so keep an eye out for when the next big smartphone goes on sale – it could be a good time to save.
Minutes, data or texts?
When you’re trying to find a mobile contract for you, don’t just automatically go for the cheapest deal – it might not necessarily be right for your needs. For example, if you typically browse the internet on the go a lot and the package you go for is just £10 a month but only offers 1GB of data, it’s likely you’re going to go over your allowance. This means you could end up spending a lot on data fees so it won’t be the cheapest option after all.
Instead, look at what you really use your phone for – whether that’s making calls, sending texts or browsing the internet. Take a look at SIM-only deals from budget mobile networks like giffgaff, as they offer different levels of pricing depending on how much you use your phone. If you only use your mobile to make the odd call or to text your partner, you could get a cheaper package rather than just sticking to an expensive contract that you’re not really using anyway.