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How to choose the best mobile phone deal

Choosing the best type of phone deal

By Tom Morgan

Article 1 of 4

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Choosing the best type of phone deal

Whether you're a download-addicted smartphone owner or just want to make the odd call, we'll help you get the best-value phone deal.

Not sure which mobile phone deal to choose? Our expert guide will help you pick the best one for your needs and budget.

First you'll need to decide which type of deal to go for. The three options to choose from are:

  • pay-as-you-go (PAYG) - best for light users who spend less than £10 per month.
  • pay-monthly contract - best for heavy users buying a pricey, top-of-the-range smartphone.
  • Sim-only contract - best value for heavy users who already own a phone.

The option that's best for you will depend on how much you use your mobile for calls, texts and internet browsing, and how often you want to upgrade to a new handset. Keep reading to find out more.

If you're trying to choose which network to sign up with, we can help make sure you don't get stuck with terrible customer service. We survey thousands of mobile phone owners so we can reveal the best mobile networks

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile phone deals

With a pay-as-you-go tariff, there's no fixed monthly fee to deal with and you don't have to sign up to a direct debit agreement. Instead, you pay for your phone use by topping up your mobile credit in advance. Once you've used up all your credit, you won't be able to make outgoing calls or texts until you top-up again.

A pay-as-you-go deal is a good choice for light phone users who spend less than £10 a month.

Pay-monthly mobile contract deals

With a traditional pay-monthly contract, you pay a fixed minimum monthly fee by direct debit and get a free or subsidised mobile phone. You also get a fixed number of inclusive calls, texts and data. You'll have to commit to a 12 or 24-month contract.

This type of deal is great if you want a pricey smartphone but don't fancy paying a large up front charge, or if you regularly run up hefty monthly bills.

Sim-only mobile contract deals

A Sim-only deal gets you a new mobile Sim card, but not a shiny new handset. You'll have to make do with your existing device. You'll still get an allowance of calls, texts and data, but the monthly cost will be lower than it would be with a regular pay-monthly mobile contract.

What else do I need to consider?

Most networks will try to sell you mobile phone insurance when you take out a new phone deal. This isn't cheap, and you may find that you’re already covered by your home insurance policy. If you do decide that you want phone insurance, then don’t feel you have to sign up on the day or that you have to choose the deal offered by your network - you could find a better deal if you shop around.