Nowadays, it seems as though everybody we know has a mobile device. Whether old or young, rich or poor, the UK or Argentina, mobile devices are prominent in today’s society.
However, we believe people are paying too much when it comes getting best mobile contract deals UK, enjoying a contract, and paying for all the benefits that come with a contract.
With our household bills only getting more expensive and the cost of living elsewhere on the rise, you need to save money and we can help you today.
Whether it comes to choosing the right tariff or using the Ofcom tool to check your signal before investing in a contract, we’ve got you covered so sit back, relax, and enjoy saving money!
Always Assess Your Buying Options
Next up, don’t think the only way to obtain a mobile device is to get a contract because this isn’t necessarily the case. For starters, you can buy your model outright before then looking for a SIM-only contract to get you by.
Initially, this will be much more expensive but you have to look at it as an investment. In the majority of cases, money can be saved over the course of two years. With SIM-only contracts only getting better, this could be a great move.
To find the best deals, use a comparison tool as well as assessing your options to buy now and pay later. Although we wouldn’t usually advise this for anybody, there are some 0% interest options or you could use the next option which is to buy it on finance.
Just like a car, the UK is quickly welcoming this solution. Once again, you’ll need a SIM-only contract and you’ll pay the cost of the handset over time. If you don’t have the money outright and financing is inefficient, then you should look towards a contract.
Before you get frustrated, ‘contract’ isn’t a global term for a two-year deal where you’re locked into a pricey exchange with the company. As long as you assess your needs first and don’t go over this, you should be able to get a respectable contract.
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Want to Score Best Mobile Contract Deals UK? Stop Paying Over £10 Each Month
Let’s start with a simple question; how much money are you paying for your mobile phone right now? If you’re anywhere over £10, this is completely unnecessary.
Why? Recently, we found the benchmark every other phone contract should be compared against and it comes in at under £10 per month.
Not only do you get unlimited minutes and texts with this Three SIM, you also get 4GB of mobile data (4G included) as well as a secure price for 12 months.
If you’re now raising your eyebrows because you’re overpaying, we understand because we were surprised at this contract when we first saw it too. If you don’t need unlimited data and minutes, you can go even cheaper.
Currently, the average cost of a mobile contract in the UK is £27 per month and there are four reasons for this; the cost of the handset, poor credit score, you travel frequently, you need a hefty mobile data package.
If you don’t need any of these four things, there’s no need to pay over £10 a month and we’re going to show you some shopping tips you can use a little later.
Do You Actually Need the Latest Model?
The next time a new model comes out, we want you to pay attention to what happens to the price of the previous model. Even though it’s a couple of days later and the device still has all the same amazing features, the price drops significantly just because it isn’t the latest instalment in the series any more.
If you’re looking in the market today, take a brief look at the previous models and compare the prices with the latest models.
If you’re looking for a feature that can’t be found on the previous model, this is absolutely fine but it might be an eye-opening experience to compare the two.
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Assess the Different Types of Plan
When first looking into the market, it can be confusing to see all the different plans but don’t let this confuse you.
All things considered, there are three different ways to get into a contract;
Contract – Although it sounds obvious, this is the first choice and it sees you pay for the contract as well as the handset. Each month, you’ll pay a certain amount for the privilege of keeping the device in your possession and enjoying a certain amount of texts, minutes, and mobile data.
With the cost of the handset spread out, it’s easy to manage but you’ll pay more than other options in the long-term. Also, you’ll be credit-checked and most contracts last for 24 months.
SIM-Only – If you already have a device and now want a SIM to use, this is a great way to go and the contract will be more affordable since you aren’t paying for the handset too.
Depending on your needs, you’ll find full 12-month contracts or, alternatively, you have the option of a 30-day rolling contract which can be cancelled and left as long as you give a months’ notice.
PAYG – Finally, we have the classic and traditional ‘pay-as-you-go’ option. With no ties to any provider, you simply pay for the ‘credit’ you need and this makes it much easier to budget.
Whenever you run low, you ‘top up’ with a certain amount to tide you over for the next few weeks. If you regularly talk on the phone and use the internet a good amount, this might not be the option for you.
Use Financing to Get Low Interest Rates
When you choose a contract from a network, the prices can be extortionate and on a par with getting a 30% APR loan.
If you’re struggling to get approval for a 0% finance, you should know there are specialist mobile finance providers who allow you to borrow money and buy the device directly. From here, a SIM-only contract will give you the allowance while paying the company back.
If you’re to choose this option, we have two suggestions and the first is Unshackled. With finance options available from Vanquis, Amigo, and Zopa, your credit history will be assessed before offering you the money and an APR.
If you want to get a quote, you can do this without impacting your credit score; you need to be careful because the APR can range from 9.7% to 49.9%. If you get a rate under 18.8%, this will be much cheaper than going with the network directly. If the rate is over 18.8%, we recommend GiffGaff.
In recent years, GiffGaff has attracted a significant amount of attention and for good reason. With an APR of 18.8%, this network offers financing on numerous models including some of the latest selections.
Choose an iPhone 8 and Spread the Cost (Interest-Free)
If you’ve heard of the iPhone Upgrade Programme, you’ll probably know it’s an expensive scheme because they try to get you to upgrade with every new model while also paying for insurance and many other ‘benefits’.
However, you might not have heard about iPhone Payments which is a financing scheme.
Designed for the newest handsets, you’ll pay only £69 upfront before then paying the rest of the handset over a period of 20 months.
Not only is this great already, you won’t pay a single cent in interest. As long as you have your ID and you’re happy to be credit-checked, you can go to an Apple store and get started today.
While on this note, we should mention a couple of considerations including the fact that it’s only available in-store. After asking to pay through iPhone Payments, you’ll need to show bank details, your current device, photo ID, and proof you reside within the UK.
If you get accepted, the 0% APR loan will be with Barclays and your payments will leave your account through direct debit.
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Can You Upgrade Early?
If you’re in a contract that you aren’t too happy with, don’t forget that some providers will allow you to upgrade early so you might be able to haggle for a better deal in terms of price or perhaps more features.
If you can’t get a stronger deal, don’t just accept the best they offer because you’ll almost certainly be able to find a more appropriate deal for your needs with another provider.
4G is Great…But It’s Also Allowance-Intensive
According to some networks, 4G is around five times faster than 3G so you might think this is a ‘must’ for your next contract.
However, you need to be aware that it’s also more taxing on your mobile data allowance. If you only want to connect to the internet and aren’t too worried about speed, 3G should be more than enough and it’ll go further too. For most people, they’re normally around WiFi for most of the day anyway so it really renders 4G useless.
In terms of the claims by the networks, we should also highlight that Ofcom believes downloads are only twice as fast so we aren’t quite sure where the ‘5x Quicker’ quotes originate!
Compare 4G mobile phone deals here
Loans Can Be Cheaper than a Contract
Wait…what? Yes, you read it correctly. Sometimes, networks will offer the phone for ‘free’ or wrap it up deep within the monthly contract but you’ll always pay for it in the long-run.
Recently, we tested the market and found that, a number of times, it was cheaper to get a 30% APR loan and pay for the handset outright than get into a contract.
Of course, we would never suggest you do this because it affects your credit rating, it increases the chances of getting into debt by not making payments, and many just don’t like the thought of owing money.
With a contract, it’s different because you’re paying for the service and allowance as well as the device. This being said, it goes to show the benefit of owning a handset and getting a SIM-only contract.
Once you remove the handset costs from the equation, the contract premium reduces significantly because it doesn’t exactly cost the network much to offer free texts, minutes, and some internet usage.
Loyalty Can Save You Money
Have you ever phoned up a mobile company and threatened to leave them? Suddenly, they’ll pull all sorts of new prices and benefits you didn’t even think possible out of nowhere.
If you’re coming to the end of your contract but you want to stay because you like the contract and have never had any issues, we have one word for you; haggle.
Since they have your custom and it’s inconvenient for you to switch, the first price they offer will be a little insulting. If the deal isn’t good enough, let them know because they need to keep you.
For the company, holding onto existing customers will always be cheaper than finding new ones so keep this in mind. If you’ve had a cheaper quote from elsewhere, throw this into the mix too. As long as you know when to stop and accept victory, we promise the price you pay will be significantly different to the one first quoted.
Top Tip – If they won’t budge on the price, try to get some more minutes, texts, and/or data because this still increases your value for money!
How About a 0% Credit Card?
Sometimes, we just can’t wait long enough to save up the money to buy an expensive handset.
Therefore, we seek other methods or settle for an expensive contract…this doesn’t need to be the case. Before you start to panic at the mention of a credit card, we’re actually going to be taking advantage of some great offers credit card companies are supplying right now.
Depending on how long you think it’ll take to pay back the amount for the handset, you need a card that offers 0% interest (fixed) for that amount of time. Currently, Halifax and the AA both offer 30 months while Sainsbury’s go to 29 months.
If this is enough, you can take advantage of the offer, buy the handset, get a SIM-only contract, and pay off the credit card balance little by little.
If you don’t think this is enough time to pay off the handset or you don’t feel comfortable, do not proceed because you don’t want to start getting into trouble when the interest kicks in. If you’re comfortable enough financially, this could be a great way to go.
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Always Check a Mapping Tool Before Committing
Do you worry whether you’re going to get signal in your location? If not, you should be because you don’t want to get set up with a provider only to find they’re the worst option for your region.
Therefore, we recommend using the Telecoms Coverage Checker from Ofcom. With a map for your area, you can see the best networks and what experience you can expect after getting your device.
If you already have a contract and now you’re unhappy with the service you’re receiving, you might be able to cancel (assuming you’re within 14 days of the contract starting). If it’s been a while, check the Consumer Contracts Regulations and see if there’s anything you can do. If you’ve been sold a promise they haven’t lived up to, you should be able to take action.
‘Granny in a Box’ Phone
As the wave of technology has crossed all generations, watching our parents and grandparents get used to using mobile phones has been…interesting.
While some pick it up quickly, some are a little slower but they all seem to have one thing in common; they turn it off and put it back in a box on the shelf when they’re finished.
If you need one of these for your children so they don’t drop your own or smear spaghetti sauce all over the screen, they’re now ridiculously cheap.
For example, we’ve found devices at around £10 and they’ll do everything your child needs.
With an Alcatel, for example, you’ll be locked in with EE which means you won’t be able to switch at any time unless you have it unlocked.
On the flip side, it allows for web access, some simple games, and can also act as an emergency phone if your device decides to stop working (or if you lose it!).
Be Careful of Mobile Network Inflation
Although reading the terms and conditions of anything seems like hassle, it really is important; even if you take a quick browse at the most important terms rather than the whole section of fine print.
As long as the network warns you, they can actually increase their prices mid-contract and we’re quite sure you would be annoyed if this happened.
Based on the Retail Price Index (RPI), which itself is a tool to help measure inflation, mobile phone networks can use this as a guide to increase their own prices. Now, this doesn’t mean your network will increase their prices because they don’t always follow the increase.
If no mobile phone company acts, they’re all likely to stay put because increasing would make them the bad guys. As soon as one makes the jump though, this leads to more providers increasing their prices because it looks like an industry move as opposed to a move from just one company.
Check You Have the Right SIM Size
Just to make an already-confusing process even more confusing, there are now three sizes of SIM so you’ll need to check you have the right one for your device. With iPhone models, they now use a Nano SIM and this is also true for many of the latest handsets.
With others, including the Samsung S5, Windows devices, and the Note 4, these use Micro SIMs which are larger.
If you look back at the iPhones before the fifth generation, they actually used Micro SIMs as well. Remember the traditional SIMs we used on the old Nokia devices back in the day? Sadly, these barely exist now and no modern smartphone uses them.
If you’re upgrading or you need help, many networks will swap the SIM if you ask.
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Choose the Contract Length Appropriate for Your Needs
Every single day, we hear about somebody who decided to enter a contract without checking the length or not thinking through the ramifications quite so clearly.
If you only want a one-year contract, be ready for the majority to be available for two years.
Therefore, you’ll need to filter search results to show only one-year contracts or find a contract you like and ask the network if they offer one-year options.
Save Money by Locking your Handset and SIM
When you’re finished with your smartphone for the moment, you probably lock it and this is great. However, did you know a stolen smartphone can still be of use if the thief gets hold of the SIM?
By simply taking out the SIM and placing it in another device, they can access all the information you were trying to hide by locking the handset.
As a solution, we recommend locking your SIM and it’s actually easier than you might think.
Even when not activated, most SIMs have a default PIN and you can use this alongside instructions online.
To change the PIN, you can contact your network or do it online. Without changing the PIN, any potential thief has all the information required to get access.
As a side note, you’ll need a Personal Unblocking Key (PUK) if you enter your PIN incorrectly three times in a row so be careful!