Five easy steps to the best mobile phone deal

Far too many people are paying over the odds for a bad mobile phone deal. One of the simplest ways to cut your monthly outgoings is to renegotiate your mobile phone contract. Get yourself a mobile phone deal you’ll want to brag about, by just following these simple steps.

1. Decide what you need

If you have never sent a text, there’s no point having a deal that gives you hundreds of free texts a month but charges you a fortune for phone calls. So sit down and work out what you need. Do you want free texts, free minutes, or both?

Also, think about the phone model you want. Don’t go for the top of the range iPhone if you only want a phone for emergencies or occasional use.

Now check your existing contract. If you’re locked into a two-year contract with your provider, then you probably won’t be able to get out of it without paying the minimum monthly contract fee until the contract is due to end. If this is the case, then either wait and switch when your contract runs out, or, as Martin Lewis of suggests, reduce your package to the lowest possible tariff (again as long as your provider allows this within your contract period), then pay it off in one go.

2. Shop around

Visit or to find the deals that are best suited to your lifestyle.

3. Call your provider

Armed with what you want, and knowing how little you can get it for, call your current phone provider. Ask if they will match the best deal. At this stage, you used to have to speak to the cancellations department, as they had the most power to tailor a deal to your needs. But these days, renewals teams have more power, so deal with them first.

Say that you are thinking of changing your contract. Ask for the best deal that they can offer you, based on your usage. If this isn’t as good as a deal you’ve seen from a rival, then tell them so. They’ll quite frequently match a competitor’s deal. If they say they can’t, then ask to speak to the cancellations department.  Ask them again to match the competitor’s offer. If they still refuse, then cancel.

Enjoying this article? Sign up for our free weekly email, MoneyWeek Saver, to receive free weekly personal finance tips and insight direct to your inbox from our expert, Ruth Jackson.
Sign up to MoneyWeek Saver here

4. Switching providers

If you do have to switch providers to get the best deal, don’t worry. It’s a lot less hassle than it used to be, and you can keep your current number. Just ask for your porting authorisation code (Pac) from your provider before you cancel your contract, then give it to your new provider.

But before you pick a new deal, make sure that the company offers good network coverage where you need it. There’s no point having a dirt-cheap mobile phone deal if you can only use your phone while stood on one leg leaning out of your bathroom window. Sadly, I’m speaking from experience.

To check coverage visit Direct Mobile Phones who have coverage maps for all the major providers.

If you do sign up to a new contract and then discover your network reception is terrible, don’t panic. You have a ‘cooling off period’ on your contract of at least seven days in which you can cancel your contract without penalty.

Finally, if you are not sure whether to go initially for a smaller package (with, say, fewer inclusive minutes and texts) or a bigger one, take the cheaper option. Then see how much time and how many texts you use up in the first month. That’s because with some providers it is easier to switch up to a more expensive package later, if you find you need more minutes or texts, than to switch down to a cheaper one.

5. Sell your old phone

Finally, make some money from your old mobile by exchanging it for cash with one of the many firms that will recycle it for you. Just visit’s Mobile Valuer site to find out which site will pay you the most for your mobile phone model.

A note on iPhones

O2’s monopoly on the iPhone ended last year. So with Orange, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile now all offering the iconic mobile phone, prices have surely dropped? I’m afraid not.

The popularity of the handset has meant that all the networks have stuck to a similar price scheme safe in the knowledge that there is still enough demand for the phone for them all to profit. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful when picking a package, as there are competing benefits in the small print.

For example, if you want the Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB, the best deal is £45 a month with a free handset. This deal is almost identical with Vodafone, Orange and O2, but there are some subtle differences. With all of them you get 1,200 free minutes included, but whereas Orange and O2 only offer 500 texts, Vodafone offers unlimited texts.

But if you use your phone to do a lot of internet browsing, then note that O2 is the only provider to offer completely unlimited internet browsing – Vodafone limits you to 1GB a month, and Orange has a 750MB a month ‘Fair Usage’ policy.

And the big attraction with Orange is Orange Wednesdays. If you have an Orange mobile phone, then every Wednesday you are entitled to two-for-one cinema tickets at cinemas up and down the country.

So pick the perk that best suits you, and choose your iPhone provider accordingly.

• This article is taken from our weekly MoneyWeek Saver email. Sign up to MoneyWeek Saver here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *