The mobile industry is awash with so many deals and offers, it can often be difficult to know where to begin. It seems that every provider, keen to outdo the other, has a new bargain available, whether that’s additional call allowance, a free gift, or loyalty rewards. If you’re in the market for a new mobile phone, or if you want to enhance your current package, read on to find out the various ways to snap up a great bargain.
Mobile network perks
Aside from your mobile call, text and data allowance, the majority of networks offer additional perks once you become a member. This is great news as a consumer, since you’ll have a wide choice of providers all vying for your attention. If you want to save on events, services and products, mobile perks are certainly worth considering. They can save you a bundle on films, going out, events, and more. Just some of the popular member clubs available include: EE Film Club (formally known as Orange Wednesdays), and O2 Priority – perfect for the socially active. Vodafone also have their own member benefit schemes, discounts and priority for events, gigs and more. Don’t forgot about smaller networks either. You can often find handy perks, such as free network to network calls or heavily discounted international calls.
Free mobile gifts
If you’re in the market for a new mobile phone, be on the lookout for freebies when you take out a new contract. A number of mobile providers offer free gifts to tempt you to sign-up. These freebies can vary widely but often include free console games, music players, speakers, headphones, phone accessories, etc. However, these incentives are often limited, so act decisively if you’re interested in a particular deal. Otherwise you may miss out on a great opportunity. That said, it’s worth asking if freebies are available regardless of the offer. You might just be able to negotiate a free set of speakers or a new phone case!
Free smartphone apps
Downloading smartphone apps is one of the most popular ways to put your smartphone to good use. There are thousands of apps available for Apple iOS, Android and Windows smartphones. Many of the best apps are free of charge and can significantly boost the functionality of your handset. You can find apps to help organise your day, remember appointments, chat with friends, modify photographs, work on the go, listen to the world’s radio stations, play games, and perform many other tasks. Search the App Store (on iOS), the Play Store (on Android), or the Microsoft Store (Windows Phone) for a full roundup of the latest smartphone apps.
Pay as you go deals
When it comes to taking control of your mobile phone spend, “pay as you go” is arguably the best method. Although in recent years “SIM only” monthly rolling contracts are fast becoming the savvy customer choice (especially if you require additional call, text and data allowance), pay as you go is ideal if you only use your phone occasionally. There are countless packages available from many different providers, each offering their own take on proceedings. You’ll find packages suitable for international calls, Internet use, calling and texting, or a combination of them all. Besides the major networks, smaller providers also exist (such as GiffGaff, Lebara, Lycamobile and The People’s Operator) and are well worth investigating for your particular circumstances.
SIM only deals
If “pay as you go” is too restrictive for your needs, take a look at “SIM only” deals. These packages function in very much the same way as contracted deals, but they only tie you in on a month-to-month basis. This means that unlike long-term contracts (often 18 or 24 months), if you wish to switch network for whatever reason, you can do so in a matter of weeks. This is great news if you prefer not to be tied to any particular network or deal. SIM only deals offer as much call allowance, texts and data transfer as you require. The more allowance you need, the higher the monthly cost. It’s a simple and less restrictive way to own a contract mobile phone and deals are available from as little as £7 a month.
However, there is a downside. The major one being that since handsets do not form part of the deal, you’ll need a handset available to use right away. And if you want the latest device, it will likely cost a small fortune, with the latest Apple and Android devices reaching beyond £500. As a result, if you want the latest phone and need to spread the cost, a long-term contract may be more suitable. But if you want more control over your spending and the freedom to switch deals as necessary, SIM only is an excellent compromise (just ensure your handset can accept the required SIM card and consult your network provider if you are unsure).
In summary, there is no shortage of excellent mobile phone deals available if you shop around. While the larger, more prominent networks tend to command the most attention, it’s certainly worth looking at some of the smaller networks as well. If you’re on a budget, there are highly affordable deals to be had with generous call, text and data allowances. Free stuff is often available from time to time, so be sure to take advantage of this. After you’ve selected a deal, make the most of it by downloading the latest free apps and be sure to register for the loyalty schemes of your favourite shops, restaurants and cafes. They can save you a bundle on day-to-day expenses!