The mobile world's a mature market. Everyone has a handset, so networks fight hard to win custom from elsewhere AND keep their own. If your provider won't give you a good enough deal, let it know. The aim's to get through to 'customer disconnections', which internally is often called 'retentions' as its job is to keep you. A whopping nine million people are out of contract and free to switch, so check now. See full help and tips to do this successfully in our Mobile Phone Haggling guide.
This'll show you results for one of the four main networks — EE, O2, Three and Vodafone — but 'piggyback' networks use their signal and generally offer far better value, so don't think your options are limited to one of the biggies. For a more accurate indication than Ofcom's checker can give you, it may be worth picking up a free pay-as-you-go Sim from the network you're considering, topping it up with a bit of credit and putting it to the test before committing. Ofcom's tool uses the networks' data on coverage, but it says it builds on this with information gathered from its own field tests.
The regulator's also used its own research to determine what threshold of signal it believes is required for a clear call connection — and it's higher than that set by the networks, so in theory you should get a more robust picture of the service you're likely to get. The tool's by no means perfect and you may find you don't agree with the results it shows.
If so, Ofcom says it wants to know, so it can improve it in the future on the tool, click the 'your feedback' link below the map. It very much depends.
But if you buy in store or a problem arises after that, it can be tricky. In these circumstances, the customer should be offered compensation or be allowed to leave the contract early without penalty. In these cases, Ofcom says you have "clear rights to seek redress or a resolution" to a complaint. In the first instance complain directly to your network, and if it's not able to help then go through its official complaints procedure. If it doesn't get anywhere with the provider, it'll escalate your complaint on your behalf to the relevant alternative dispute resolution ADR scheme. Unlock your phone for free.
Unlocking your phone means you can use any network's Sim, which gives you the freedom to switch providers. Some handsets are unlocked when you buy them, usually if you purchase them directly from the manufacturer as with iPhones, for example. But if you got your handset from a network it will often be 'locked' to that specific provider. Head outside the EU and your mobile provider may hike prices massively, and even charge for receiving calls as well. Yet you can cut the cost substantially by using networks' hidden deals or by getting a specialist Sim card to use overseas.
These sites are all about instant prices though. If you're prepared to put in a little more effort and flog your handset on eBay, you can often beat their prices. Don't just settle for the same plan, provider and price each year. Mobile tariff costs are coming down, so if anything you should be paying less each year, not more. Here's how to do it:. There are two types of Sim only deals — day rolling contracts which you're free to leave with a month's notice, or fixed-term contracts, usually locking you in for 12 months often, though not always, better value.
These are great value if you already have a handset or can afford to buy a new handset upfront, and work out better for heavy data users. If you pay for your mobile via pay-as-you-go, you won't be tied into any contract — simply pay in advance for what you use via top-ups, online or on the phone. Pay-as-you-go packs, however, auto-renew. If you definitely do, then there are essentially three ways to get one.
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Each has benefits and drawbacks — here's a quick rundown:. This is often much cheaper over two years than getting a contract with a network, plus you can choose whichever network and Sim only plan suits you best. You can also avoid a credit check if you opt for a pay-as-you-go deal.
Also consider refurbished models as these can be a lot cheaper.
If you want a snazzy phone but can't afford to buy the handset upfront, you're best off saving up. But if you really can't wait, then instead of paying mobile providers' inflated prices, you could opt for a way to buy it now, but pay no interest. This allows you to buy the phone for Apple's standard price, but pay only a small amount upfront and then the rest in 20 monthly instalments.
Be careful not to get caught out though. You'll be credit-checked and will need to be accepted for what's technically an interest-free loan. Looking for a different model or can't get to an Apple Store? Once you've bought your phone, stash the credit card in a bowl of water in the freezer so you won't be tempted to use it again. For many, the only way they've ever got a new phone is via a two-year contract with a network that bundles the cost of the handset in with a monthly fee for airtime — usually at a hefty markup.
This can often be the most expensive way to buy a phone, though there are ways to cut the cost. Reseller sites such as Mobiles. The contract is still with the main network, so you get the same service, just via a cheaper source. The majority of phone contracts which include a handset are paid for monthly over a two-year period, meaning the handset is paid for at the end. Though the handset has been paid for, most providers continue to charge the same monthly price after the initial contract period is over, meaning you're effectively paying for the phone again.
To avoid overpaying, make a note of your contract end date and diarise to contact your provider one month before it ends to give it notice, which means you're free to leave or change deal. No matter how much storage space your mobile phone's got, it'll eventually fill up with photos, videos, apps and more, severely limiting what you're able to do with it.
However, it's highly likely you'd be splashing your cash unnecessarily, as there's a variety of very simple things you can do on Android and iOS devices to save anything from a few MB to bundles of GBs without spending a penny. Some of these may seem obvious, such as moving photos and videos online, but did you know you can get unlimited FREE online storage, via the Google Photos app?
Spring cleaning your remaining apps could also save you GBs, as could hunting down and deleting hidden downloads. As your mobile phone contract comes to the end of its minimum term, you're often hounded by your provider, which will try every trick in the book to get you to upgrade to a new handset — and lock in to a new tariff to pay for it.
It's easy to be lured by the promise of a 'great deal', free of the 'hassle' involved in finding a new contract and switching network. The sad fact is though that for most, you'll be paying over the odds if you fall into this trap. Instead, you're better off seeing what else is out there. That's not to say you can't get a competitive offer out of your current network though, particularly if you're happy to stick with your existing handset. If you sign up for a contract, you're essentially committing to a phone company and often a handset too for the length of the contract.
This means you must think carefully about your budget and if you can afford the ongoing monthly payments. Before you sign up to a contract, make sure you're happy to be locked in for the minimum term. If you want to leave early, it's likely you'll have to pay termination fees which cover the cost of the contract. Cheap Mobile Tips. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements.
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News Barriers removed for some mortgage… Hundreds of ex-Virgin One mortgage…. Mortgage Best Buys Tool Compare mortgages and best deals on offer. The Demotivator Stops you spending when you can't afford it. News Half of adults think banks should… State pensions to rise by 3. Steve Brigden Edited by Gary Caffell. Facebook Twitter Print Whatsapp Mailme. In this guide. Top mobile need-to-knows, incl Switch with a text, and keep your number How to choose the right allowance Happy with your handset?
Buying a new handset? Do it the cheapest way How to buy without paying interest Never just get a contract direct from the network. For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Top mobile phone need-to-knows. Mobile 'text-to-switch' rules make switching far simpler.
Here's what to do: Request a switching code by text. To get a new number, text 'STAC' to You need to give the switching code to your new provider within 30 days.
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You won't need to contact your old provider again. I've got my PAC, what do I do now? It's a different process if you're swapping within the same provider If you're switching to a new tariff on the same network, for example if you're on pay-as-you-go and upgrading to a contract, you shouldn't need to carry out this process — just call your mobile provider's customer service helpline and they should be able to sort it.
Only pay for the allowance you need — use a tool to see past usage. Be sure you understand what 'unlimited' includes. Use free Wi-Fi spots to save on data costs. We'll give you the run down on not only the premium phones like the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10 Plus , but also the best prices for some of the budget favorites like the cheap and powerful Moto G7 Power and now surprisingly affordable iPhone 7. SIM-free mobile phones have become increasingly popular in the last few years.
When flagship phones go on sale, it's usually very expensive to get them on contract. But the RRPs of phones direct from the manufacturer are very rarely the cheapest way to get hold of your shiny new smartphone.
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And that's where TechRadar comes in So take a look through our top 15 SIM-free mobile phones, with an excerpt from our full reviews in case you're still umm-ing and ah-ing. And for a quickfire rundown, you can scroll to the bottom of this page and use our bespoke price comparison chart to find the perfect SIM-free bargain for you. Weight: g Dimensions: The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is a superb phone, in fact it's probably one of the best phones out right now. Don't worry though, if that's way too much there are some great cheaper options further down the page - and the Galaxy S10e is a brilliant budget alternative.
Screen size: 6. Despite being Apple's latest phone, the iPhone 11 is surprisingly affordable. You're getting a massive mAh battery, a dual camera set-up and even the fastest CPU on the market. If you're looking to get Apple's latest without blowing your budget, this is the option to choose. Weight: g Dimensions: x There is no doubt that every year, Huawei moves up the ladder.
Now, with the Huawei P30 Pro , it has taken the spot of one of the best phones on the market. We would say it is now the best camera phone available, beating out the Google Pixel 3.
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Combing power, beauty and a big battery, this is a phone that isn't easy to beat. You might be thinking, on a guide like this with some of the world's best phones - what's the iPhone 7 doing here? Well, with all of the other devices having some slightly less than affordable pricetag, the iPhone 7 fills that smartphone shaped hole in your life without hitting you with a hefty price tag. Samsung's latest and greatest, the Galaxy Note 10 has garnered a lot of hype for good reason.
The huge 6. It's expensive, but we think the Note 10 is well worth the money. Or, if it is just outside your price range, a SIM-free Note 9 deal could be the way to go. Affordable pricing, high gaming performance and a staggering mAh battery - what else could it be but the Motorola Moto G7 Power. This phone is what happens when a company tries to cram a giant battery into a budget phone. However, not only did they manage that but they also managed to do it with some grace, decorum and impressive design.
Considering it's affordable pricing this is a phone full of surprises. There's no doubt about it, the OnePlus 6T is one of the very best Android phones on the market. You're getting everything you would want with a smartphone - great battery, processor, camera and screen - without the eye-watering price tag. Screen size: 5.
The iPhone XS is by far one of Apple's greatest products to date. It has a very smart camera, is about as powerful an iPhone as you can get and has really impressive speakers. However, with all of these advancements and the bigger size of the handsets it carries a pretty hefty price tag which is why it has featured so far down this list.