As mobile phones become more sophisticated, offering extra features and providing ever-faster connectivity, costs are spiralling.
Some people spend more on monthly mobile contracts than they do travelling to work, or on socialising.
Pay-monthly deals for premium handsets are nudging the £100 per month threshold, which would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways of reducing costs when it comes to mobile communications – starting with a tip very close to our hearts here at SIM Only Deals…
Hardware and subscriptions
- Buy the handset outright and get a SIM-only deal. It’s possible to save hundreds of pounds over a two-year period; you’ll find loads of affordable deals on our homepage
- Retain a reliable handset. Advertising encourages us to assume we need a new handset after two years, yet an out-of-contract smartphone might still be perfectly serviceable
- Be cautious about insurance. Policies are costly and often demand high excess fees, so consider reducing costs by self-insuring or using comparison sites to find a cheap policy
- Scrutinise bills. Even if your provider insists on paperless billing, the last month’s account activity is published online – with clues as to where savings could be made
- Investigate usage requirements. If you’re regularly finishing a month with unused talk time and spare data, you’re on the wrong package. Renegotiate it at the first opportunity
- Ask for a contract downgrade. Reducing costs may be possible if you have data left every month, as network operators will want to keep you happy and prevent you leaving.
Calls and data
- Don’t automatically sign up to unlimited data. Mobile networks cover themselves against excessive usage by charging high sums, when a generous monthly cap should suffice
- Don’t leave yourself short. The flipside of the previous point involves avoiding the allure of a cut-price deal, which may end up necessitating pricey data top-ups every month
- Ignore text allowances. Now we’re all communicating through encrypted platforms like WhatsApp, the quantity of monthly text messages in a bundle is becoming irrelevant
- Always connect to WiFi. Don’t burn through 4G data while sitting in someone’s house because you’re embarrassed to ask for their WiFi password – that’s a total waste of data
- Ensure updates only happen over WiFi. A substantial data saving is achievable by turning off automatic updates unless the device is connected to a WiFi network
- Avoid unnecessary call costs. Answer incoming calls to save your talk time, don’t ring 09/087 numbers, and make calls from landlines (or via VoIP services like Skype.)
Apps and settings
- Prevent apps running in the background. Some smartphone apps consume huge amounts of data by constantly checking for updates, so disable this on non-essential programs
- Close apps when not in use. Many people leave every recently used app running, which could drain data and will almost certainly slow the device down over time
- Disable non-essential push notifications. These stealthily consume data, and it isn’t vital to receive BBC News notifications or Facebook updates from old classmates all the time
- Download content over WiFi and enjoy it offline. It’s easy to do on the likes of YouTube and Spotify, reducing costs by avoiding bandwidth-intensive streaming on the go
- Be careful on holiday. It’s easy to burn through data while connected to an overseas network, so deactivate data roaming or speak to your operator about special packages
- Watch out for in-app purchases. These are often found in games, added directly onto next month’s bill and quickly building into a substantial amount of money.