25 Brilliant Ways To Save on Your Next Mobile Phone Contract
While some of us rely on our mobile devices several hours each day for phone calls, breaking news, messaging, and more, others only need the odd call here and there. For this reason, the process of buying a mobile phone contract is very unique.
Although it can be useful to speak with friends and see what contracts they use, we should never invest in the same contract just for the sake of it because they might have completely different needs.
This being said, we all have the same aims when searching the market for the right contract; we want to save as much money as possible.
Today, we’re going to address this with 25 superb ways to save on your next contract. As long as you follow these tips, you’ll be in a great position!
#1: Do You Want to Upgrade?
When your contract comes to an end, the first thing your provider will suggest is an upgrade. Naturally, the word itself makes the whole process seem rewarding; we feel as though we’re being rewarded for two years of loyalty.
Soon enough, we find out that it just means we’re paying more money for something that can be found much cheaper elsewhere.
Just because it’s convenient, don’t fall into the trap of accepting an ‘upgrade’ from your provider because this isn’t likely to be the best option.If you shop around even just a little, you’ll soon realise all the options you have available.
If you find that your current provider has the best deal, at least you did your due diligence. If you find that another provider can save you £10 a month, this is £120 each year you didn’t have before.
#2: Take Advantage of New Customer Offers
Have you seen the adverts on TV that advertise a fantastic contract all for less than you’re paying now?
After grabbing your interest, they finish the ad with ‘for brand-new customers only’.
Not only is this frustrating, it’s also a little disrespectful because they’re willing to offer new customers cheaper deals despite your loyalty through the years.
In the past, people have had success by phoning the provider and asking them to match the offer.
If you’re skilled at haggling, you’ll end up with a better contract one way or another when you put the phone down. If this doesn’t work, there’s another solution and it’s called ‘number porting’.
Essentially, the idea is that you temporarily port your number to any network that isn’t your own.
Then, you come back and you’ll qualify as a new customer to take advantage of the cheaper deal. Although this sounds a little complicated, there are some great guides on the internet to help.
#3: Do You Really Need the Latest Model?
Immediately, this is a question that gets the answer of ‘yes’.
However, you really need to think about it because it’s the reason you’re paying so much. In case you didn’t know, a mobile phone contract is mainly about paying for the handset because companies can give away minutes, texts, and data all day long.
With this in mind, the latest models have the most expensive handsets; for example, the iPhone devices tend to push past £500 and even close to £1,000 these days.
In order for the network to make money, they need to divide this cost and place it into your contract.
The minute new devices are released, the previous models decrease in price DRAMATICALLY.
Normally, the slightly older models are just as good yet they come with a huge discount so consider whether you really need the latest model when looking for a new contract.
#4: Consider Buying a Device
If you’re looking to save money, there are few better ways of doing this than buying the device outright.
Compared to a two-year contract, you’ll be paying significantly less and your SIM-only plan will be more rewarding than any contract on the market.
Not only this, you’ll own the device which means you can keep it for three or even four years instead of giving it up after two.
Of course, this option will have an initial investment so it won’t be available for everybody. However, if you can afford to buy the model, you’ll save money in the long-term.
#5: Cater to Your Needs
With this tip, we’re going back to what we were saying in the introduction regarding the importance of meeting our own needs.
For businessmen and women who need data 24/7, they’re going to need a larger contract than somebody who only uses the device for texts and a few phone calls.
Just as the businessperson would be rendered useless with a small contract, the other person would be paying for something they didn’t need with an unlimited data contract.
Every year, we see people buying contracts they simply don’t need so this is the biggest and best tip we can provide when it comes to saving money.With a comparison tool, you can find the contract that fits your needs rather than working the other way around.
#6: Consider Pay-As-You-Go
Although we’re talking about contracts here, we’re also talking about saving money so we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention the PAYG option.
Compared to PAYG deals in years gone by, they have improved somewhat and there’s an opportunity to earn free minutes, texts, and more.
With some companies, they offer unlimited texts for a month after a simple top-up so research this section of the market.
#7: Try Haggling with Your Provider
Remember, mobile phone providers don’t have fixed prices from head office to which they need to adhere. Sure, they might have targets and minimum prices but this doesn’t mean you can’t haggle for a better deal.
If you’re happy with your current provider, saving on your next mobile phone contract doesn’t always require switching so try haggling.If they won’t budge on price, go for a higher allowance because this still improves your value for money.
#8: Check Signal for Your Area
Despite some companies investing millions of pounds each and every year, this doesn’t mean they have perfect coverage right across the country.
As many people in the countryside will tell you, providers vary greatly in their infrastructure and this affects the coverage you receive.
If you live in or around a major city, you shouldn’t have an issue with coverage regardless of the supplier.
The farther afield you go from the major cities, the more important research becomes. Online, Ofcom has a signal checking tool so we highly advise using this before signing anything.
Even if you live in a relatively populated area, you might find that a huge brand can’t offer good coverage so this simple check will be worth your time.
#9: Hand in Your Notice Early
If your contract is coming to an end, there’s something you need to do before anything else (before even scanning the market); hand in your notice.
Although this all sounds very official, we mean that you should contact your provider around a month before the contract is up and request your port authorisation code (PAC).
During the next thirty days, you can search the market for the best deal.
By letting the company know you’re planning on leaving, this will set off a chain of events.
If you’ve been with the company for some time, they might just offer you a fantastic deal that persuades you to stay.If they don’t offer anything, you can either move or come back with your tail between your legs.
#10: Stop Paying Over £8 Per Month for Texts and Minutes
Recently, we found a fantastic Three SIM available for £8. Before you skip this tip, it comes with unlimited minutes AND texts (as well as 4GB of data).
For most people, 4GB is more than enough and this contract proves that you don’t need to spend £20, £30, or even £40 just to get unlimited texts and calls.
If you want more data, the price will increase but this is certainly something to get you thinking.
#11: Be Wary Wherever 4G is Mentioned
Isn’t technology amazing? Just as we start getting used to the ‘latest’ in the world, something new comes along and takes our attention almost immediately.
With 4G, we benefit from internet that’s five times quicker than 3G…or do we?
According to Ofcom, downloads are only twice as fast and the performance of 4G will differ depending on your network.
If you’re being advertised the ‘quickest 4G around’, you also need to be careful because not only will the network charge higher prices but it’ll eat up your allowance like nobody’s business.
If you’ve only got a certain amount of data and don’t mind waiting a few seconds every now and then, 3G will do you perfectly.
#12: Always Assess Your Contract Length
If we counted all the people who mistakenly signed a two-year contract without realising, we could fill a football stadium many times over.
When you sign a contract, you’re committing to the provider as well as the handset so always check (and double check) the contract length.If you’re living on a small budget, you don’t want to be tied up to a long contract.
These days, two years seems to be the standard so ask the network directly for one-year deals or enter this filter into a price comparison tool.
If you’re likely to want to leave after one year, getting onto a two-year deal will be a bad move because you’ll only end up paying the early exit fee.
#13: Recycle Any Old Handsets
Although this isn’t a tip that’ll save you money on your next phone contract, it will allow you to pocket a tidy sum so you might as well try it.
Nowadays, there are companies that pay for old handsets so research how much you could receive for yours.
Even if you get £100, this could go towards your groceries or bills so it’s better than having the device sitting in a drawer!
#14: Buy a Handset and Get a SIM-Only Contract
As we discovered earlier, the price of the handset is normally what drives the price of the contract higher.
Therefore, you could decrease the amount you pay by investing in a second-hand device.
As the owner, you can then buy a cheap SIM-only contract and smile knowingly at all the people who are spending extortionate sums for their device in instalments.
Earlier, we suggested buying a new model but why not try it with an older one?
#15: Buy the Handset on Finance
Although this idea is fairly new for the UK, more and more people are now starting to buy their mobile phone on ‘finance’. Essentially, this means you loan the device and pay a certain amount per month back (significantly less interest and rates than a phone contract).
Once again, we then call on the trusty SIM-only contracts to receive calls, minutes, and data. In addition to lower costs, choosing this route means you can switch between providers at a click of the fingers with no charges.
As you’ve seen throughout this guide, contracts aren’t the be-all and end-all of mobile phones.
If you think outside the box, you can save money whether through financing, buying a second-hand handset, or even by taking out a loan. Of course, you must only do this if the rates work out better (and you can afford to pay it back) but it can sometimes work.
#16: Find Your Allowance Needs
In a previous tip, we stressed the importance of choosing a contract that fits your needs exactly…but what if you don’t know what you need?
Well, Ofcom accredits three different tools for this called MobilePhoneChecker, Ctrlio, and Billmonitor.
After assessing your bills and average usage, these tools will tell you how much you need in the future.
#17: Compare the Market for the Best Deals
Though we’ve touched on it, we haven’t actually addressed the biggest and most obvious tip of all to save money; compare the market.
With the many comparison sites that exist these days, you can search the best contracts and filter search results by allowance, price, provider, and many other considerations.
With your list of needs found in the previous step, you can get an insight into the market and where the best deals can be found.
#18: Contract Resellers for Cheaper Contracts
Using a service such as this, you might be able to get a discounted contract. This being said, we should warn you that this doesn’t work for everybody and you will need to double check the prices before agreeing a deal.
#19: iPhone Payments Scheme
Did you know that Apple has a financing scheme called iPhone Payments? If not, you aren’t alone because it isn’t widely advertised. Yet, the scheme offers the latest handsets for just £69 as an upfront expense.
From this, you can then pay Apple in instalments over the course of 20 months with NO INTEREST.
Don’t get this confused with the iPhone Upgrade Programme because this is expensive (and a waste of time!).
If you want to sign up for the iPhone Payments scheme, you’ll need to ask in your local store. As long as you’re a UK citizen, have ID, and are willing to be credit checked, you can get started.
#20: Consider a Credit Card
Before you laugh and scroll right through this tip, hear us out for a moment because a credit card could be an option. These days, some banks and companies provide 0% cards for a certain amount of time whether it’s 24, 30, or even 36 months.
Therefore, you only pay off whatever you spend. If you’re confident in your ability to pay off the phone during the 0% interest period, you can buy a phone, put the credit card in the freezer, and use a SIM-only deal while paying off the cost.
#21: Make Sure Your SIM is Locked
If, like most people, you lock your phone every time you put it down or in your bag, this is a smart move.
However, have you locked your SIM? If somebody were to steal your phone, they wouldn’t need to unlock it to access information because they could simply take out the SIM and place it into another device.
Therefore, we advise locking your SIM which means it’ll be set up with a four-digit PIN system.
To get started, contact your provider or research the process online because it’s easy considering it could save all your personal information and files.
Not only will it save you money, it could save everything else you have on the phone.
#22: Use a Piggybacking Service
Did you know that there are only four mobile phone networks in the UK? Along with EE and Three, Vodafone and O2 have their own systems and can offer a network to the country.
With every other company in the market, they ‘piggyback’ and purchase the right to sell the network of the big four.
For example, Asda uses EE, Tesco and Giffgaff use O2, and TalkMobile use Vodafone.
If we use Asda and EE as a prime example, they’ll both offer the same reliability because they’re using exactly the same infrastructure.
However, guess which one offers the better rates?
Yes, the piggybacking companies can normally undercut the big players so this shows the value of comparing the market; now you know they all offer a high-quality service.
#23: Do You Need Mobile Phone Insurance?
Every year, we get thousands of people asking us about phone insurance and whether it’s necessary.
Back in the day, when our phones were bricks that could make the odd call (and play Snake, of course!), insurance wasn’t necessarily a worthwhile investment. Today, they offer a notebook, diary, 24/7 access to the internet, calendar, games, pictures, music, apps for work, and a whole lot more.
Therefore, the temptation of insurance is much larger.
Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how likely you are to lose your device and how worried you are about your device being stolen.
Also, recognise that insurance doesn’t have to come from the provider. Instead, you can choose an independent company for a cheaper policy.
#24: Take Your Time
For our final two pieces of advice when attempting to save money on your next mobile phone contract, we’re going to focus on you as opposed to the market.
Firstly, take your time because the providers aren’t going anywhere.
Often, people feel rushed into signing a contract and this leads to displeasure and a will to switch before the ink has dried (something that’s nearly impossible with a two-year deal!).
If you can’t see a contract that matches your needs straight away, don’t settle for something that isn’t quite as good. Instead, keep researching because it’ll be worth the effort.
So long as you followed our earlier advice and gave yourself time, you should still have your old contract with a few weeks to run so don’t feel as though you need a new contract sorted within the first hour of looking.
#25: Be Clever
Finally, we want to finish with the advice of ‘be clever’ because we feel it’s important in the mobile phone industry. What do we mean?
• Choose an allowance that won’t even tempt you into going over (this is expensive!).
• Always read the small print because ‘unlimited’ isn’t always an accurate description.
• Make use of the growing number of free WiFi hotspots.
• Avoid roaming charges wherever possible (use free messaging apps instead!).
• The retailer will be responsible for fixes if you receive a faulty device.
• Always check your rights if you think you’ve been mis-sold on your contract.
With these tips, and all the others we’ve discussed today, you can save money with ease when looking for your next mobile phone contract!