How to get a cheaper mobile phone contract

Many of us want the latest new phones, even if it will cost us CREDIT: ARTYOM KOROTAYEV/TASS

Britain’s largest mobile phone networks have been condemned for cynically over-charging customers who reach the end of their contracts.

The contract period is linked to the payment for the “free” handset. But an estimated six million people continue to pay the same, high monthly payments after reaching the end of the contract period – effectively paying twice for their phone.

 Culprits include phone giants EE, Vodafone and Three.

The iPhone X, the latest iteration of one of the world’s most popular smartphones, is due to be released next month with a reported price tag of £1,000.

The iPhone 8 appeared last month.

This means cost-cutting is likely to be forefront in the minds of many mobile phone users. Many will be tempted by contract deals which spread the cost. An iPhone 8 is available on contracts for around £50 to £60 per month, example.

Luckily there are several ways to ensure you aren’t paying more than you need to.

Most users are likely to have significant “waste” in their contract packages: voicecall minutes, texts and data that are never fully used.

While more contracts these days come with unlimited minutes and texts there are still potential savings to be found and pitfalls to be avoided.

Below are some of the best deals available by cutting out the waste.

The big decision: pay cash upfront, or lock into a contract?

Many of us love having the latest handset available.

But you need to weigh up the costs. Contract arrangements spread the cost into smaller monthly bills – but in total they are likely to work out more costly overall than if you buy a handset for cash and then select the best, no-contract deal.

It’s worth doing the sums.

For someone who uses a good deal of data each month the new iPhone 8 will set you back around £40 a month, depending on the contract.

O2 can offer a 24-month deal with unlimited minutes and texts and 3GB of data costing £38.35 a month (£27 a month plus a £270 upfront charge). If you want to up the data, Vodafone can offer a comparable contract but with 4GB of data for just a little bit more each month over the two years: £40.25, including an upfront charge.