Friday, July 12, 2024

How to Save Money on Your Mobile Phone Bills

Recent research suggests that in the UK we waste £800 million by using mobile phone plans that are not best suited to our requirements. This needn’t be the case because by following our handy tips you can save money on your mobile phone bills. Read on for more information.

Don’t take out mobile phone insurance unless necessary

Adding mobile phone insurance to your monthly mobile phone bills can add anywhere from £2 to £10 to your bill each month. So essentially over the course of a 24 month contract you could spend up to £240 insuring your mobile phone. Therefore, if you do decide to take out an insurance policy for your mobile phone weigh up the cost of replacing or repairing the phone should the worst happen. If you have a low cost phone you could end up paying far more in insurance fees over the course of the contract than the phone is worth itself! However, if the phone is a top end expensive model, a competitively priced mobile phone insurance policy could save you a lot of heartache if your phone was damaged or stolen because you would still be expected to pay for the duration of the phone contract even if you no longer had use of your phone.

Remember, if you are unfortunate enough to have your mobile phone stolen and you are on a monthly contract you should contact your mobile phone network straight away to report the theft so you are not potentially charged for call time made by the thieves.

Choose the right mobile phone tariff

Startlingly, here in the UK we waste £800 million per year on mobile phone contracts which are not best suited to our needs. To check whether you are on the best mobile phone tariff you need to check to see how much you are spending each month on your mobile phone bill and work out exactly what type of mobile phone user you are. A recent survey suggested that over half of all mobile phone users in the UK were not aware of how many minutes or texts they were using per month so it is worth getting hold of a few of your previous monthly bills to check your usage patterns. If your mobile phone bills are higher than your standard contract rate i.e. you are going over your set contract allowances by using too many call minutes, or texts, or you simply believe that you are paying too much on your bills there is a very good chance that you can find a better matched mobile phone tariff that will lower your bills.

In very simplistic terms, if you are using more call time, more texts or more data usage than your contracts permits; you should consider upgrading your phone plan. If you are not reaching your call, text or Internet allowances by some margin, you should consider downgrading to a cheaper plan that has lower levels of free services.

Choose a SIM only contract

SIM only plans are offered by all of the major mobile phone networks and prices can range from just £10 per month through to £30+ per month with the flexibility of rolling 1 month contracts, or 12 month contracts if you don’t mind being tied in for a longer period (the sweetener being that if you take out a longer contract you will get slightly more free minutes, free texts and/or free Internet allowances).

If you have your own mobile phone already, the most competitive mobile phone contracts on the market both in terms of price and features are SIM only deals. There are an estimated 50 million mobile phones in the UK so it is unsurprising that SIM only contracts are the fastest growing mobile phone contract sector with 1 in 5 of all mobile phone contracts being SIM only deals.

SIM only contracts offer the best value because as opposed to pay as you go or standard mobile phone contracts, the networks are not supplying you with a mobile phone handset. So by not having to subsidise or tally the cost of the phone into the deal, you will get the best value from a SIM only contract because that is all you are getting – a SIM card which costs literally a few pence to manufacture. All the value in a SIM only deal is in the contract features rather than the hardware supplied.

Recent research has suggested that mobile phone users can save up to £150 a year by switching to a SIM only contract based upon the example of a mobile phone user on a 75 inclusive minutes and 200 free texts contract that was paying £24 per month.

Avoid expensive downloads

It can be tempting to download the latest games, wallpapers or mobile apps for your smartphones but each download will usually be charged at a premium, anything from 50p through to several pounds. Each download will contribute to your monthly bill because such extras will be outside of your standard plan so you will be charged extra.

Also if you use a smartphone such as an iPhone or BlackBerry which you use for regularly checking emails, make sure that you turn off the data roaming function if you are taking the mobile phone abroad. Using data roaming is fine in the UK if you have an inclusive data plan because you won’t be charged if your phone occasionally automatically connects to the Internet to retrieve emails in the UK, however, if you are abroad your phone will still attempt to automatically connect to your network and this can add huge data charges to your bill.

Picture messaging a no-no

Picture messaging is a convenient way to send your latest pics to friends of family but it costs on average 30p to send each picture message. A more cost effective way to send your pictures would be to either email them to multiple recipients using your phone as you would only be charged once to send to many people (of it would be free if you have an inclusive free data plan), or alternatively post the pictures to Flickr or Facebook.

Consider network extras or add-ons

Most mobile phone networks have a system for adding bundled extras to your plan. If chosen carefully these can really lower your mobile bills significantly.

Two excellent extras which are added onto SIM only contracts are operated by O2 and T-Mobile and are named “bolt ons” and “flexible boosters” respectively.

By deciding to take out a SIM only plan you will be given a set number of free minutes, free texts or free Internet and you can use the network “extras” to maximise the services that you will use the most in conjunction with the free services you receive as part of the standard SIM only plan.

For example, you will be able to choose from one of the following extras free of charge depending on which “extra” you choose when you take out your SIM only contract at O2 or T-Mobile –

O2 free bolt on options
  • Unlimited O2 to O2 calls
  • Unlimited landline calls
T-Mobile free flexible booster options
  • Inclusive Flexible Unlimited Text Booster
  • Inclusive Flexible Internet Booster
  • Inclusive Flexible Unlimited Landline Talk Booster
  • Inclusive Flexible Unlimited T-Mobile Talk Booster
  • Inclusive Flexible Euro Talk and Text Booster
  • Inclusive Flexible Europe & Australasia Talk
  • Inclusive Flexible USA and Canada Talk Booster

Don’t go over your monthly contract allowances

By going over your allocated free minutes, free texts or free Internet data allowances during a given month your will be adding substantial charges to your mobile phone bill.

Take the following charges that can be added to your bill if you exceed your monthly SIM only contract allowances –

  • Lowest per minute 15p
  • Highest per minute 40p
  • Lowest per text 3p
  • Highest per text 12p
Data charges
  • Lowest maximum charge per day 30p
  • Highest maximum charge per day £1

These individual charges reinforce the fact that you should carefully choose the best SIM only deal that caters to your individual requirements.

Keep it in the family

A number of mobile phone networks offer special call savings based on calls being made from phones that are both on the same phone network. T-Mobile, O2 and 3 offer free extras that allow you to select free network to network calling, so if you regularly call particular friends or family members it can be very cost effective for everyone to be on the same mobile phone network.