Top tips to get the best mobile phone contract

UNSHACKLED.com shares with us their top tips on how to get the best mobile phone contract on the phone you want.

You’ve come to the end of your phone contract and you can finally change your old, battered phone for something much shinier…exciting times!

However, for many it can also be quite daunting. Pushy salesmen and complex jargon combine to create an environment of confusion. As a result, millions of people every year choose to simply upgrade with their existing network, as it appears to be the easiest and safest option. However, this could leave you tied into a long contract that costs you hundreds of pounds more than you need to spend.

Here are a few handy pointers to help ensure you get the best value deal on a new phone.

Know you have options

You’re at the end of your contract, so you have the power! You’re no longer tied to any particular network or deal so you’re free to shop around. Even if your current network rings you offering a new deal, you can always thank them and say you want to think about it.

Don’t be scared of changing network

It doesn’t mean you’ll lose your phone number. It’s yours, not the network’s so you can simply port your number to a new network if you decide to change.

There are guides to help walk you through the process so you know exactly what to do.

Phones galore

Almost everyone has heard of the iPhone, but it’s certainly not the only phone out there. Think about what you use your phone for and what features you want and need.

For the techies out there, sites like GSM Arena give full and extensive specifications for each phone model, whereas sites like TechRadar give user-friendly hands-on reviews and ratings for all the top phones. Don’t forget to ask friends and family too; see what phone they use and how well it might suit your needs.

Do you really need a traditional phone “contract”?

That contract offer from your network sounds appealing, with the “free” phone included but what does “free” actually mean? You might not be paying today but you’ll certainly be paying over the odds for the next 2 years, with network’s pay monthly tariffs effectively hiding APR charges of up to 50% within them. This means you could be paying over £400 more for your iPhone 6s than you need to.

The cheapest way (which gives you greatest flexibility) is almost always to buy your phone outright. But not everyone can afford to pay so much all in one go.

Luckily there are other options. For example, UNSHACKLED.com have introduced monthly payment plans just for your phone where you can still benefit from the great phone prices and get a personalised loan at a rate that’s based on your own credit score to pay for the phone. With a representative APR of 9.7% this can represent a significant saving vs the traditional network contracts. These finance agreements mean you still get full ownership of the phone, and have much greater flexibility to change your phone on your terms. Of course, you need to ensure that you’re able to make the monthly repayment costs.

Check your usage

Research by Citizens Advice estimates mobile phone firms are selling customers contracts that cost on average 130 per cent more than they need to[1].

If you buy your phone and only take out a contract for your tariff, you are completely free to choose any network and tariff combination which suits your usage. This also opens the door to many alternative airtime only networks like The Peoples Operator and Freedom Pop. These networks piggyback off a main networks infrastructure (the same way your gas and electricity works), so you’ll get the same coverage but often at a much cheaper rate. The additional benefit here is that you’ll often only be signing up to a 30 day rolling contract, so you have considerably more freedom to change tariff as your circumstances change, as opposed to fixing yourself in for 2 years.

To get a view of your actual usage take a look at your existing billing details or network app.  Alternatively, you can use simple data calculator guides to estimate your usage based on what you actually do with your phone.

Know you have value in your hand

You may not want your old phone anymore, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You can trade-in your old phone for new money.

A working 16GB iPhone 5s is currently worth £89 at UNSHACKLED.com, with a 16GB iPhone 6 being worth £240[2]. This could be a significant contribution to a new phone.

Once you agree to sell you’ll be sent a freepost bag for your phone. Simply pop it in the post and wait for your cash.

 

The information in this piece is provided by UNSHACKLED.com. At Noddle, we do not give financial advice, and we accept no responsibility for any information or advice provided. We provide this service free of charge but may receive commission or payment from UNSHACKLED.com for introductions.

Noddle is a Credit Broker and not a mobile phone contract provider.

 

[1] Research was carried out on behalf of Citizens Advice by Newlann Ltd. Analysis is based on the findings of 350 mystery shops (fieldwork conducted between 4.8.15 and 30.8.15).

[2] Figures accurate as of August 10th