As a ‘knower-of-all-things-mobile’, we often get asked whether it is possible for those in the market for a mobile phone contract to secure a better deal than the various service providers have advertised.
Now we are going to let you in on a little secret here and please don’t tell the service providers we told you. There are a number of ways that you can secure a better mobile phone contract. Bear in mind, a contract is a lengthy affair, normally two years. In this time you will be paying back not only the cost of your calls, texts, and data but also of the handset you choose. Having some ammunition to try and secure the best terms is only a fair place to start!
Let’s have a look!
Ok, so do you really need a contract?
We start off with possibly the most difficult question that you must ask yourself. If you are coming up for a contract renewal or taking out your first contract, take some time to evaluate if you really do need one. Perhaps you don’t actually use your phone that much, or you might always have access to free Wi-Fi (for instance, if you live with your parents, or you ‘borrow’ from the neighbours). Well in that regard, would a ‘pay as you go’ option not work better? Or perhaps you were given a nice new phone for your birthday. What good is a contract going to do when you now have two phones? Here, a SIM-only contract would be a far better option, and far cheaper. So in other words, weigh up your unique circumstances and decide if a contract is really necessary.
How long should the contract be?
Seeing that you are onto the next tip, we can assume a contract is the way you have chosen to go. Ok, so service providers are pretty clever in what they have to offer when it comes to contract lengths. Generally, these range from 12 to 36 months. Think about your choice carefully. The longer the contract, the less you will pay each month, but the longer they tie you in for. A 36-month contract means far cheaper payments but the question is, will your phone last that long? If you go easy on phones, then maybe a three year period is not so bad. Most people, however, take a 24-month contract. It offers affordable repayments while having a phone for two years means you won’t be falling too far behind smartphone technology when it is time to upgrade again.
Decided your preference in terms of text, date, calls
Ok people, we cannot emphasize this enough. Analyze your mobile phone user habits before you sign on the dotted line. Five years ago, people wanted minutes and texts to call and to… text! Now, most people would prefer data over anything else as many choose messaging apps as a way of communicating. That said, say you are self-employed, choosing a data package is not going to help you when you need to urgently phone your next client but can’t. Don’t take options that are a complete waste of money. For instance, many providers will try and make you take an optional texting package pegged onto your contract but let’s be honest, who texts anymore? Ok, ok, maybe your gran! Another important factor is roaming. If you are a frequent traveler, consider incorporating some form of a roaming option into your contract. If you do not, you might just be faced with some surprising phone bills on your return home, especially if you used your mobile phone during your trip.
Who to get a contract from?
In the early days of mobile phones, there were not many stockists. You were pretty much stuck with who you could get your phone and the resulting contract attached to it from. My, how that has changed over the last couple of years! Now, especially online, there are so many options. In fact, we pretty much doubt anybody walks down the road to their nearest shop to secure a new handset and contract. It is all done online. Research to find the best price and handset is also so much easier. In fact, there are sites in the United Kingdom that will do all the hard work for you. They can give you important information about various packages, specials as well as other offers that often can go unnoticed unless you are really doing some intensive research on your own.
Don’t be afraid to haggle
Now the great thing about most mobile phone service providers is that they are open to a little bit of haggling. The thing is, with so many options available to you, it pays to play a bit of ‘no more mister nice guy/gal.’ They want your business, whether you are going to be a first-time customer or you are coming to take out another contract with them. All it takes is a bit of playing one off against the other. If your preferred provider is not playing along, show them some deals with other providers that are slightly cheaper maybe. Or even just tell them you are going to go elsewhere if they cannot give you a better deal. Be brave, you will be surprised what you can achieve.
Well, that’s enough to get you started in your quest to find the cheapest mobile phone contract out there. Again, we have stressed this before and we stress it again. Do not go for the fancy new smartphones that Apple and Samsung are bringing out pretty much every year now. Yes, it’s nice to take your new fancy phone out in front of your friends, but the truth is, little is changing from model to model these days. Most of it is just aesthetic. Be smart, get a phone you can afford and we promise you, it will do pretty much what those fancy smartphones can do. Happy hunting!