When looking for a mobile phone service provider, you’re going to spend a lot of time comparing various different plans that each individual provider has to offer. At first, this might be a little overwhelming – they tend to throw a lot of numbers into these plans, as well as a lot of variation that can be hard to interpret. The best way to get started would be to check out some sort of comparison expert, which will typically have most of the legwork already done.
If you’d rather do some comparisons yourself, that’s also a perfectly fine way to go about finding good deals. Sometimes using a resource can be outdated, but for the most part they do a good job of staying up to date; you just might not see special deals that are only offered for a limited time. Regardless, the first step is choosing a few different carriers that you’d be interested in using.
For these examples, we’ll use Vodafone, some others to look at would be T-Mobile, O2, and Orange – these are all major UK mobile phone service providers. So now that we have some carriers in mind, it is important to realize the difference between regular phone contracts and SIM only contracts. If you already have a working mobile phone that you’re comfortable using for a while longer, you should definitely consider signing up for a SIM only plan.
Essentially, the main difference between a SIM only and a regular phone contract, is that SIM only plans don’t provide you with a brand new phone; they don’t require a two year contract either. Because of this, the service providers are able to offer the plans for a lot cheaper, therefore saving you money. If you really want a brand new phone, you could either sign up for a regular phone contract, or purchase one out of pocket and save on your monthly bill.
Let’s take a look at Vodafone’s 24 month contract plans, you’re first given the option to choose a phone. For this comparison, we’ll just use the iPhone 5s 16GB, which is the latest model. Next, there are five options to choose from with different amounts of monthly usage and down payments. The only option that offers the phone completely for free; £42 per month, unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, and 2GB of mobile internet with a 24 month contract.
With that deal, you end up paying a grand total of £1008 over the course of two years, that’s not too bad – considering the iPhone 5s 16GB will run you about £500 out of your own pocket if you choose to buy it from a third party vendor. Of course there are situations where you could purchase a refurbished or used phone, and then guarantee some money saved in the long run by using a SIM only plan.
Now, the comparison is going to involve you determining which type of service you’d use the most of, like minutes, texts, or data. Standard contracts don’t really allow for this type of comparison, but SIM only deals definitely do. For example, Vodafone offers a SIM only plan with 1200 minutes, unlimited texting, 750MB of mobile internet, as well as 750MB of UK Wi-Fi, all for £16 a month.
If you purchased an iPhone for £500, and chose this plan, you’d end up saving around £124 in the long run compared to the aforementioned contract plan – keep in mind that is by far the cheapest plan offered in the standard contract. However, there are even cheaper SIM only plans, such as the £9 a month plan that offers 300 minutes, 500 texts, 250MB of mobile internet, and 750MB of UK Wi-Fi.
There are definitely SIM only plans that offer more usage as well, and these will definitely save you money if you already have a phone you’d be fine with using. Vodafone offers a plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, 2GB of mobile internet, 750MB of UK Wi-Fi, and on top of all that you also get 5 Star Care. This plan is going to run you £26 a month, but with a 12 month contract instead of a 24 month contract – you also have the option to go on a month to month agreement for £28 a month.
By using your old phone for another 12 months, you could end up saving around £200 during that year. Going monthly also gives you the option to change your mind and switch to a regular contract at any time, you just won’t save those extra £2 every month. Regardless of what you choose, it’s best to know all of your options beforehand so you don’t have any regrets when you realize you’re stuck in a contract you don’t want to be in.