Mobile phone bills can be astronomically expensive, particularly if you want to get hold of the newest smartphones.
But that shouldn’t mean that you’re tied into a poor deal. The following tips are designed to help cut down your mobile phone bills both on existing contracts and future devices.
Look for SIM only deals
SIM only deals are becoming increasingly popular because of their flexibility and incredibly low cost. From data heavy contracts to average phone usage, you can get a great SIM only contract from as little as £10 a month.
These deals are far cheaper than a typical mobile contract because a SIM only deal doesn’t add in the cost of a new phone itself. This also stops you from becoming tied into expensive deal bundles that are often — with the latest smartphones — spread over upwards of 24 months. Most of them last just 12 months, and there are also plenty of 30-day options that you can cancel at any time.
You’ll have to actually own your handset to make use of a SIM only deal, and so they are perfect if already have a smartphone. You can shop around for SIM only deals just as you would a standard contract with price comparison and review websites. And if you want a new phone, you really ought to think about buying it outright, there are plenty of good deals on devices that have been out for around a year and have dropped in price.
Monitor your usage
Many people buy into contracts which they do not need, either opting for excessive data allowances when they rarely use their data or going far too low which means having to buy expensive add-ons to get through the month.
You can use a monitoring app (such as Bill monitor) to check your current usage — of data, texts and minutes — or look at previous bills to see just how much of your phone you use. You can then find a deal and tariff that accurately suits you.
Consider a pay-as-you-go SIM’s
Pay-as-you-go deals can sometimes be a little more expensive than 12-month sim only deals but for ultimate flexibility they’re fantastic.
It used to be that pay as you go meant every text, minute or megabyte of data was deducted from your balance, but most networks now offer bundles that for a monthly top up will get you a set amount of minutes, texts and data. Basically just like a contract but you’re paying up front rather than at the end of the month.
These deals aren’t as heavily promoted as contracts so they’re not always easy to find. Often they have different names depending on where you look, some comparison sites like Tiger Mobiles call them no credit check SIM only as they’re a great idea if you can’t pass a credit check. Other’s call them pre-paid bundle sim’s or flex sim’s but when we looked not every comparison site lists them so you will need to search around.
On these no credit check style sim deals, networks often provide useful loyalty programmes which boost your data and call minutes for every month you stay with them. That means that some pay-as-you-go deals will see perks throughout 12 months that can rival more 12 month contracts. EE, for example, boost your data every 3 months by 500mb on their Flex Plans.
What’s more, you can accurately control how much you use your phone with no unexpected bills as you are paying for your usage up front. If you know your usage, then this is a perfect way to keep your bill under control.
Haggle or switch
Many mobile phone users think they’re stuck with what they have. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are having any issues with your mobile phone provider — be it the quality of their service or you think the bill is excessive — contact them as soon as your contract ends to haggle or just leave.
If you are a loyal customer, mobile providers will often provide a retention deal to keep you on-board. Remember to do your research on other providers and to bring this information up if deals are cheaper elsewhere.
If you’re not tempted by whatever deal comes your way, switch. You needn’t worry about complications involving your phone number; it has never been easier to switch provider.
For the best side-by-side deals, check a service comparison website like Billmonitor. You’ll often find that other providers may provide cheaper services while still actually using the same mobile network.
Consider getting a monthly cap
Mobile phone networks allow you to enforce your own caps to stop you from exceeding your allowances. This will keep your bill tight and consistent. Of course, this means you won’t be able to use your phone in some ways if you reach your cap, but it will keep your bills and budget on track.
Try a new, young network
There are a lot of new and experimental free and low-cost network schemes out there. Although some of these can be very volatile and short-lived, others have a tried and tested reputation. Something like Voxi from Vodafone has been designed for people under 30 and offers some very attractive deal with unlimited data for social apps.
Avoid Premium Calls
Just like data roaming abroad, premium calls can be a bill paying nuisance. Although sometimes companies offer no alternative to their 0845 numbers, there are many hacks and tricks to use, from contacting via e-mail instead of phone to using a website like SAYNOTO0870.com. More recently, the mobile app WeQ4U converts 0845 numbers to regional variations to prevent you from racking up significant costs.