Millions of us rely on our mobile phone every day to help us communicate with our friends, family and workplace.
However, as more and more expensive smartphones hit the market, consumers are finding their mobile bills rocketing.
Many offers are now pricey monthly contracts that lock you in for two years, often costing upwards of £40, equating to almost £500 each year.
There is a way consumers can cut costs, however, if they hold on to their old handset or buy a new one outright and switch to a sim-only contract.
Customers looking to save money on their phone bills can switch to Sim-only
Sim-only deals can be very cheap, with some available for under £5 a month making them an obvious choice for those looking to save money.
Below, This is Money reveals the tips and tricks to get the best sim-only deal.
Many people are on monthly phone contracts that can total hundreds of pounds a year.
Whilst it might feel like the most manageable way of getting a new phone without paying hundreds upfront, it can be considerably more costly than buying a phone outright.
And a mistake a lot of consumers make is forgetting to switch after their contract is up.
Once you have paid off your contract, which is usually 24 months, the handset is yours and you would benefit from switching to a sim-only deal.
This means choosing a sim by opting for a plan that reflects how much data you use. However, if you do go over your data allowance, this could cost you dearly so keep an eye on usage.
Most of these offers are monthly rolling contracts – or 12 month deals – meaning you are not tied in to a long contract and can leave at any time.
This is Money’s mobile phone deal and sim-only comparison engine is powered by Broadband Choices and you can check up on the best sim-only offers here.
Customers switching to a sim-only contract are advised to check how much data they use first
What to consider before committing
When choosing your sim-only contract, the important thing to consider is how much data, minutes and texts you are likely to use and opt for a package that mirrors that.
Don’t underestimate too much to save yourself money as, if you go over, the charges can be steep and it will prove a false economy.
A single MB of data will get you just four minutes of web browsing whilst streaming an hour of Netflix on your commute home will use up about 644MB and downloading a song uses up to 8MB.
To put that in perspective, one Gigabyte (GB) is approximately 1,000 Megabytes (MB).
However, with many people working from home now, it may be that you need less data than before as you will more than likely be connected to your home Wi-Fi.
Another point to consider is that some customers may have to pay to unlock their phone to switch. This is because, when buying a contract phone, it will be locked to that network to stop you switching.
Paying to unlock a phone, when out of contract or pay as you go, is usually cheap, at a cost of around £10.
Best deals on the market
This is Money, with the help of Compare the Market, has compiled the best sim only deals currently available.
The cheapest deal is with Lebara on a 3GB contract with unlimited minutes and texts.
The contract costs just £2.99 a month on a one month contract.
The firm is also offering 5GB of data as well as unlimited texts and minutes for £3.49 a month and 7GB for £3.99 a month.
Another popular deal is with iD which is offering 20GB of data, unlimited texts and minutes for just £10 a month.
Those who need more data could join Virgin Mobile which is giving customers 36GB for £13 a month and unlimited texts and minutes.
However, this will be a 12 month contract that is only available until 28 February.
TalkMobile also have a number of deals including a 24GB sim for £12 a month and a 2GB deal for £4.95 – both with unlimited minutes and texts.
To find other deals to suit you, consumers are encouraged to use price comparison sites including This is Money’s mobile phone deal and sim-only comparison engine which is powered by Broadband Choices.
|End Date||Provider||Product||Data||Monthly Fee||Package|
|Ongoing||iD||20GB for £10p/m||20GB||£10.00||Unlimited mins & texts|
|28-Feb-21||Virgin Mobile||36GB for £13p/m||36GB||£13.00||Unlimited mins & texts over 12 months|
|Ongoing||TalkMobile||24GB for £12p/m||24GB||£12.00||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Ongoing||TalkMobile||2GB for £4.95p/m||2GB||£4.95||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Ongoing||Lebara||3GB for £2.99p/m (1 month contract)||3GB||£2.99||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Ongoing||Lebara||5GB for £3.49p/m (1 month contract)||5GB||£3.49||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Ongoing||Lebara||7GB for £3.99p/m (1 month contract)||7GB||£3.99||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Ongoing||SMARTY||30GB for £10.00p/m (1 month contract)||30GB||£10.00||Unlimited mins & texts|
|Source: Compare the Market (prices correct as of 5 February 2021)|
Holly Niblett, head of digital at Compare the Market, said: ‘Competition amongst mobile providers is fierce so it’s always worth shopping around and comparing mobile phone deals to see if you can save.
‘You can always choose a sim-only deal with the minutes, texts and data for a monthly price that works for you, to go with your existing phone.
‘Some sim-only deals are flexible, 1 or 12 months, so you’re not tied into a long term contract and can change onto another contract at a later date, to get a new phone or a better deal.
‘We depend on mobiles more than ever, and need to save money where we can, so it’s important to compare deals and find the right one for you.’
Are less-known networks reliable?
Some of the cheapest and best value deals are offered by websites or even networks you may not recognise.
There are a handful that work in the same way as more established retailers, such as Carphone Warehouse, offering contracts with the major networks.
Often these tools offer slightly better deals or promotions for the same contracts.
A smaller network doesn’t necessarily mean worse coverage as most have deals in place with larger networks that let you piggy-back on their signal.
For example, iD is actually owned by Carphone Warehouse and uses the Three mobile network.
Your broadband network might also offer sim-only deals. Sky, Plusnet and BT are some of the firms that now promote this service with those already on their internet plan able to get a better deal.
To find the best deals, click here to use This is Money’s mobile phone deal and sim-only comparison engine, which is powered by Broadband Choices.
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