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How To Get The Best Mobile Phone Deal

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Mobile service providers will generally offer better deals to new customers than they will to existing customers, yet mobile users stay put rather than activley looking for a better deal. Moving networks doesn't need to be a stressful experience.

Even if you want to stay with your existing service provider and you are out of your initial contract period it is worth calling and asking for your porting authorisation code (PAC). This will normally result in you being transferred through to the retentions department where they have to power to offer you a much better deal just to stay with them. If they call your bluff and issue you the PAC code, no further action will be taken unless you call another provider and use the PAC code to transfer your number. If you decide not to use the code it will expire in 30 days from issue.

Do you want a new mobile handset?

If you need a new handset, decide which handset you like, it’s worth using a mobile tariff comparison site to find the deal you want. Once you have found the deal you want, shop around as you may get the deal cheaper than buying through the comparison website.

Don’t be tempted to go for a very high tariff just to get a free or cheap handset, in the long run this will work out more expensive if you don’t use the inclusive minutes, texts and data. Most contracts now are a minimum of 18 months and many are 24 months, be aware that even with these longer contract periods, your new phone’s guarantee is usually only 12 months, this means that if your phone goes wrong outside of this period, you have to pay for repair or replacement even though you still have time to run on your contract.

Mobile phones are generally more expensive to replace nowadays so mobile phone insurance is definitely worth considering. Check to see if your phone is covered on your home insurance or if you have a premium bank account, mobile phone insurance may be one of the benefits. Also be aware of any excess your may have to pay.

Sim only tariffs

If you don't want a new handset, look for a SIM only deal, you may need to get your handset unlocked so that it will work on another network. Most mobile phone shops can do this for you or your existing provider should be able to give you a code to unlock your phone – they may charge for this.

If you want a SIM only deal, you can either choose a 30 day rolling contract; this means that you can give 30 day’s notice to terminate. The other option is a 12 month contract, which means that you are tied in for a year but you will usually get a better deal if you are willing to commit.

Please note that just because you have committed to one year contract, it doesn’t mean that prices are fixed. Your service provider is entitled to increase prices during this period providing they give you sufficient notice, but a recent ruling from Ofcom means that you are likely to be able to cancel your contract with no penalty if this happens.

Mobile Network coverage

It is most important thing is that your phone works in the areas that you are most likely to use it, this will usually be at home or work. Look at the coverage checkers on the service provider’s websites, do they show good service where you will be using your phone? Be aware that this is not a guarantee of service and mobile signals can be considerably weaker especially indoors. Do your colleagues have problems using their phones at work, if so find out which networks they are on and exclude them from your list, ask the same of family members at home.

Most networks provide free PAYG sim cards, you could try these in the areas where would use your phone from most to see what kind of signal you get.
If you choose a new network, you have a cooling off period (minimum of 7 days) where you can cancel if you are not happy for any reason. Always make sure that you get a good signal the service before moving your existing number (you will be given a temporary number with your new SIM card). Only when you are happy, call your new service provider and ask them to transfer your number (you’ll need a porting authorisation code from your existing provider to do this).


When looking at new deals, estimate how many minutes you will need every month. Have a look at your previous bills and try to go for a deal that gives you enough minutes to cover your monthly usage. Don’t be tempted to go for the bundles with the most minutes if you are not realistically going to use them. Quite often it is cheaper to go for a deal that gives you just enough and pay the charges for going over (so long as it doesn’t happen every month).

Most service providers are now giving unlimited texts as the average number of texts being used has declined since the increase in popularity of social media. The other consideration is data if you have a smart phone, if it is just for surfing and checking emails then you should find the 500mb – 1gb per month will be more than enough. If however, you stream video and music, then you may need to increase the amount in the bundle. If you tether (use your phone’s data connection with your tablet or laptop, you may have to pay an additional fee especially if you are on an unlimited data package.

Other considerations

Don’t just look at the main networks, all of the smaller providers use the same networks to provide service but may offer cheaper tariffs and they may not be featured on the comparison websites.
Also look at the cashback websites such as Quidco where you may be able to get a rebate (this can be £150+ just for signing up using their link).

9 Simple Steps To Getting a Better Mobile Deal

  1. Call your existing service provider and ask for your porting authorisation code

  2. See what they will offer you to keep you as a customer

  3. If you do decide to move, choose a network where you get a good signal at home and work.

  4. Calculate your usage using previous bills

  5. Use the comparison websites to find the best tariff for your level of use, discount those networks where you cannot get a good signal.

  6. Shop around; you may get a better deal directly from the networks. Look at cashback websites also as you may be able to get a rebate.

  7. Once you have signed up for a new deal, make sure that you are happy with your new provider (signal strength and customer service)

  8. Assuming everything is okay, call your new provider with your PAC code to get your existing number moved over.

  9. Set a reminder to coincide with the end of your new contract period so you can repeat the process when your contract is up for renewal.

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