Getting the best mobile deal can be daunting with thousands of tariffs on the market. You need to decide on the mobile phone handset you want, how much talk time you need, how many texts, data usage, roaming, if you want pay-as-you-go or a monthly contract - the list is never ending.
With an estimated 83 million mobile phone contracts in the UK, there are loads of tariffs and a lot of people searching for an affordable mobile phone deal.
Here are five tips to help you choose the best mobile phone deal for your needs:
1. Choose a mobile phone handset that's right for you
The main thing to decide when taking out a mobile phone contract is which handset to choose. For those who want the latest Android phone or iPhone, be prepared to pay up to £50 a month for a tariff with unlimited calls and texts, even when the phone comes “free”.
2. Do some online research about mobile phone contracts
Try the Ofcom-approved website http://www.billmonitor.com. The free Bill Check-up service will analyse if you are over- or underusing your contract when your contract ends - and which new tariff is right for you. Remember that most contracts these days tie you in for two years.
While you have the handset you want in the beginning, later on in the contract this can mean owning an outdated or battered looking device. It also means you can’t switch if a better deal comes along.
This is why some people might choose pay-as-you go, which also allows you to track how much you’re spending.
3. Haggle for a cheaper mobile phone deal
If you are approaching the end of your contract and would prefer to stay with your existing provider, contact them to see if they are prepared to offer you a better deal.
Even better, come armed with examples of rock bottom-priced deals from a rival network and see if your existing one will match it.
4. Choose SIM-only mobile phones
Many customers routinely continue paying the same monthly tariff even after their contract has ended and they have paid off their phone. And that is a good time to drop down to a cheaper SIM-only deal, if you are happy to stick with your existing handset.
Just remember: if it breaks, you are responsible for replacing it. And if you take up another contract you will have to honour the SIM-only deal until that runs out too.
5. Get cashback on a new mobile phone deal
If you choose a brand new contract, buy through cashback websites such as Quidco.com or Topcashback.co.uk. You could get anything from £10 to £100 in money back from these sites.
Quidco is currently offering £60 cashback for 12 month sim-only contracts worth £16.50 or more, £60 cashback on 24-month handset contracts between £22.50 - £43.49 a month and £70 for iPhone 5s 24 month contracts.
AND DON’T FORGET: Sell your old phone if you are changing your handset. We are spoiled for choice these days with a whole host of services offered from website such as musicmagpie.co.uk, sellmymobile.com and envirofone.com
The newer the phone, the more money you get – so don’t leave it gathering dust in a drawer.