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2 Jun 2020

How to save money on your mobile phone bill during lockdown

Don't throw away your money on an expensive bundle if you're only using wi-fi

With many of us spending more time indoors and leaning on the home wi-fi, there's a good chance you're spending far more than you need to on data.

Fortunately, changing your monthly bundle can be easy, especially if you're out of contract, so it's worth keeping an eye on your usage to see if you can shave a few pounds off your bills.

Thinking of switching mobile provider? Read our guide to the best and worst mobile networks for 2020.

Choose a cheaper Sim plan

If you find you are barely using your mobile data since lockdown, it might be worth looking at whether you can temporarily change your Sim plan for a few months.

By trading to a plan with less data, you might be surprised how much you can save. For example, Giffgaff has a 15GB goodybag for £15. By trading down to the 2GB plan at £8, that's £7 a month you can put towards a streaming TV subscription or a fancy bottle of wine. And you can always return back to your old plan with 30 days notice as soon as normal service is resumed.

If your provider does not allow you to trade down your plan because you are in a long term fixed contract, then check to see if your plan allows for data rollover.

As of right now, Sky Mobile, iD Mobile and Virgin Mobile are currently the only ones to offer data rollover to customers.

Virgin Mobile and iD Mobile only offer this for one month, but Sky Mobile is unique in that it allows you to store your unused data for up to three years in what it calls a data 'piggybank'.

Switch your mobile network and save

If you are out of contract, you can make even bigger savings by simply switching away to another network. There are many low-cost mobile networks in the market offering cheap deals on short term one-month contracts. The table below highlights some of the cheapest deals currently available.

ProviderDataMinutesContract LengthCost (per month)Parent network
Plusnet Mobile2.5GBUnlimited1 month£6.50EE
iD Mobile2GBUnlimited1 month£7.00Three
ASDA Mobile2.5GB3001 month£7.00EE
Giffgaff2GBUnlimited1 month£8.00O2

* deals available as of 2 June 2020

Switching mobile networks has never been easier with the introduction of text-to-switch. By simply texting 'PAC' to 65075 (or 'STAC' to 75075 if you want a new mobile number), you can get the switching authorisation code without having to even speak to someone and simply input the code when prompted with your new provider.

All virtual networks use the signal of one of the 'big four' mobile networks (eg Plusnet Mobile and ASDA Mobile uses EE's signal).

Check your signal before you switch

Bear in mind that switching provider might mean you end up using a different mobile network to the one that you're on - for example Giffgaff uses O2's network, and Plusnet uses EE (see the parent network column in the table above for the host networks on these deals).

If you're happy with the quality of reception with the provider you're currently using, it might make sense to stick to another provider on the same network. Alternatively, switching networks can improve reception if you're struggling.

Our mobile network coverage map will help you find out what the coverage in your area looks like, but the only way to know how good it will be in the nooks and crannies of your home is to try it out for yourself. That's another benefit of short, one-month contracts.

Best video streaming services

Seven pounds a month may not sound like much, but it can pay for a streaming service to entertain you and the kids while inside the house. Disney Plus, Britbox and Netflix's basic package all come under £6 a month and allow you to watch hundreds of TV shows and movies with content for all ages.

If you're struggling to choose, our guide can help you choose the best streaming service, and includes information on which services are best for which audience, whether you are looking to keep kids entertained or yourself.