Did you know that recent research from comparison website uSwitch revealed that 69 per cent, of the people it asked, hadn’t switched mobile phone contracts in the past three years?
That means over 2/3’s of us are paying too much and could get better deals. In fact, you could save an average of £176 by switching.
Your mobile phone
Often when you take out a new mobile phone contract, the cost of the phone and your usage plan are all lumped together.
That £35 per month you pay not only goes towards your minutes, text and data (also known as a bundle) but also towards the cost of your phone. After all, a brand new smartphone can set you back anywhere between £200-£700. So £35 for 24 months means you are paying £840. Not bad, especially if your phone is worth over £500.
The problem starts when your contract “finishes” (usually) after two years. I say “finishes” as this is when you can leave your contract penalty free. But unless you tell them, they will keep charging you as if you have a brand new phone.
You have two choices. The easiest (but probably not best value) is to call your phone company. They will either send you a new phone and you can start your contract all over again, or they will reduce the amount you pay for your bundle.
But if you’re happy with your phone and want to reduce your costs further, look for a SIM only deal. For those that don’t know, the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) is the small card that goes into the back of your phone.
How to save money on your mobile phone
First of all, you need to find a SIM suitable for your needs. If you have them to hand, have a look through some previous bills.
Minutes – Do you chat much on your phone? If not, look for a SIM that offers fewer minutes. 250 minutes each month is more than enough for me.
Text messages – Many contracts offer unlimited texts, mainly due to the fact you can now send messages through apps or for free on iMessage if you own an iPhone.
Data – Most of us use the internet on our phone. Whether it’s a case of browsing the internet, watching videos or updating apps, you could use far more than you expect. Again, having an old bill should help you figure out how much you use. I browse the internet from my phone quite often but don’t watch many videos. My monthly usage is often between 1-2GB.
Try and find a happy medium when choosing your SIM. You don’t want to pay extra every month for a service you don’t use or need.
Equally, don’t underestimate the amount you use. Going over your monthly allowance could prove very costly.
Where to look for your new SIM
Take a look at some of the price comparison websites too. They cover most of the major companies and often have exclusive deals.
Also, check with your utility providers to see if they have any exclusive offers. Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin and BT all offer SIM only deals that are exclusive to existing customers. Check their websites to see if the prices are competitive.
Before you order your new SIM, remember to check cashback sites for any deals. Going through TopCashback and Quidco can save money on your mobile phone contract. You can sometimes earn as much a £60 from a cheap SIM – which reduces the cost by £5 per month for a year’s contract. Find out more about cashback sites.
Will I get a decent signal?
There is one potential downside to a company that uses a virtual network. They will not always offer a 4G service. This means you will have to make-do with the slightly slower 3G offering. If you don’t use a lot of data, then this isn’t really an issue. And if you have no idea what 3G or 4G is, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Basically, it’s the speed at which you can download from the internet.
Can I keep my phone number?
Yes, and it’s far easier than you might think. You will need to contact your current provider and request something called a PAC code. You then pass this code on to your new provider and your phone number will be moved across to your new SIM.