Looking to buy a new mobile phone? Coming to the end of your contract? Take a few minutes to see if you should stay or switch to reduce the cost of your upgrade and mobile phone bills. We also look at hidden costs and whether or not you should insure your mobile phone.
Seven out of 10 people could save £222 a year by switching to a mobile phone contract that better suits their needs.
Getting a new phone can be very expensive – especially if you have your eye on the latest model, but there are a few things you can do to keep your costs low.
There are two main things you need to do to make sure you’re on the best mobile phone deal:
Billmonitor: Will analyse your online bills, or allow you to enter your regular or required limits manually. It will then find the most suitable offers on the market and direct you to the relevant retailer. It meets strict Ofcom guidelines.
HandsetExpert: Select the handset you want and then enter your calls, text and data requirements. The website will then display the best offers available and you can go directly to the retailers website. It meets strict Ofcom guidelines.
Moneysupermarket.com: Allows you to search the most popular deals on big-name handsets and compare monthly and SIM only contracts. This can be used to help you find a better deal. Not Ofcom approved.
Calling numbers that start with 09, 0871, 0872, 0873 and 118 will be more expensive than regular phone calls. Texting mobile short codes costs more as well.
If you get an unexpected phone charge you can read how to dispute it on the Phonepay Plus website.
Lots of apps and games are ‘free-to-play’, but contain ‘in-app’ purchases.
This means that downloading the game might not cost any money, but you might be asked to pay for features once you start using it.
To avoid being hit by a huge bill, keep an eye on what your children are playing and read the small print around in-game purchases.
When your contract is ending you hold all the cards. Your current supplier knows it, and they’ll usually try hard to keep you.
Your first step is to give your network operator a call.
Ask about the best package they can offer you and then follow up by asking about your typical usage (minutes / texts / data downloads).
Getting this information will:
If you’re offered a good deal you might want to stay where you are, but before you do, see what else you can get based on your current usage.
With mobile phones you either pay for exactly what you use in minutes, texts and data – pay-as-you-go – or a set fee that includes a range of services – pay monthly.
The best option for you depends on how much you use your phone and what you use it for.
On a pay-as-you-go tariff, you pay for every call, text or chunk of data you use. If you rarely use your phone, this is probably the cheaper option.
However, if you use your phone more regularly, it might work out cheaper to pay a monthly fee, which includes a certain number of call minutes, texts and data.
If you decide to switch, don’t forget to check if the new supplier has good coverage where you need it. The Ofcom website has links to coverage checkers for all the main suppliers.
If you have a contract and your provider decides to raise their prices:
Whether or not you should insure your phone generally comes down to three things:
If you do decide to take insurance out, remember:
Check exactly what your phone is covered for before signing up.
If you find yourself unable to pay your phone bills your first step is to talk to your supplier.
They might be able to help by moving you to a cheaper tariff, or propose changes to make your contract more affordable.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.