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Citizens Advice found that many could save up to £264 by getting a better deal on their mobile.
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No details are required, but you can filter your search to tailor your preferences on handset type, data package, monthly cost, upfront cost, and network providers.
You will get a new SIM card and contract but not a new handset. These contracts are typically monthly rolling or 12 - 24 months. You’ll likely pay more per month for a shorter-term contract.
Pay as you go phones (PAYG)
With Pay as you go you buy the handset and SIM separately, paying for calls and texts by topping up as required. However, you must pay for the handset upfront and can’t use the phone for texts or phone calls without credit on your account.
You pay a set amount each month for a set number of call minutes, text messages and mobile data, with any usage outside of your allowance added to your monthly bill. Handsets are subsidised by the operator, but you are tied into the contract that usually lasts between 12 and 24 months.
This depends on the phone you choose. With some contracts, you’re required to pay upwards of £50 upfront. For example, new phones from a big brand will likely charge an upfront payment as well as the pay monthly phone contract. If the upfront fee is too much, you can always get contracts with no upfront fee.
If you can afford to, buying the handset at the cheapest price you can find and pairing it with a cheap SIM only deal is a great option. It’s often cheaper over two years than getting a contract with a network and gives you flexibility to choose which network and plan suits you best. However, it’s sometimes difficult to pay upfront and particularly when the latest phones are typically quite expensive. Therefore, paying monthly will help make your bill more manageable.
When you buy a new phone contract your credit score will be checked by the new provider. There is no minimum credit score required to get a mobile phone, but each network operator will score you differently. There's a possibility you could be rejected for a contract if you have a bad credit score.
Your provider is required to notify you, so it’s likely they have confirmed this in an email or letter if you are out of contract. Typical contract lengths are 12 or 24 months. You can also review your most recent bill or contact your current supplier directly. Alternatively, you can text ‘INFO’ to 85075 to find this out without requesting a PAC or STAC switching code.
If you want to switch mobile phone, start by finding out whether your current deal charges an exit or cancellation fee as part of the contract. If they do, you’ll need to work out whether you’ll still save money by switching.
If you are out of contract, it’s still good to review the terms of your existing deal to understand package allowance and the current monthly costs. You can find this information on your original mobile contract or your bill.
It is also worth checking mobile phone signal at your home before signing a contract with a provider. Ofcom and others have mobile signal checkers on their website so you can find the best provider for your local area.
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