Do you take hours to read reviews and analyse the best mobile deals when your contract is up? Or are you a brand loyal iPhone or Samsung user who is just waiting for the latest release? However you choose your next mobile plan, at Best Mobile Contracts we review every network and every contract to give you the best choice when it comes to choosing your next mobile phone deal.
Why Choose Best Mobile Contracts?
- All contracts and network reviews are customer focused and 100% unbiased
- The handy links in each section take you straight to the best mobile deals
Top 10 Mobile Phone ContractsView All
Here it is, the top 10 list of the very best mobile phone deals featured on the site. The factors taken into account for this list include monthly cost, handset offers and overall value for money.
The UK has more Mobile Network Virtual Operators (MVNOs) than it does major network providers. The four majors are EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, who licence network bandwidth to MVNOs, who compete on price, flexibility and customer service.
Cheap Mobile Phone ContractsView All
If your idea of the bet mobile package involves a cheap deal, this is the section for you. Even top operators like Samsung offer cheap phone deals, so you don’t have to compromise on quality to find the best price.
5G Mobile Phone ContractsView All
There is no doubt that the 5G network offers the best yet mobile data speeds, making streaming HD videos seamless and quality rich. The 5G phone deals we include make the most of the 5G network for the best possible price.
Unlimited Data Mobile Phone ContractsView All
Whether you can take advantage of the 5G network or not, unlimited data contracts are increasingly necessary for most of us. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new handset to land unlimited data deals, as many networks also offer sim only unlimited data contracts.
1 Month Rolling Mobile Phone ContractsView All
The option of monthly rolling phone packages offers ultimate flexibility. Need more or less data the following month? Simply switch your deal up or down to suit you.
12 Months Mobile Phone ContractsView All
Don’t want to be tied into a mobile phone package for two years or more? You can pick up 12 month phone deals that include upfront costs, free handsets and low monthly payments.
Sim Only ContractsView All
Taking out sim only packages is the easiest method of saving money on your phone. As long as you are happy with your current handset - or have sourced one from elsewhere - you can get more data for your money by removing the cost of the handset in your deal.
All UK Brands
Are you looking to switch your handset, or are you happy with your current manufacturer? In this section you can browse by brand to narrow your search to your favourite manufacturer.
Free Gifts With Phone Contracts
Nothing sweetens a mobile phone deal like a free gift. The kinds of free gift offers with phone contracts vary from network to network, with free tablets, cashback and headphones just some examples of mobile phone free gift packages.
What is a mobile phone contract?
A contract is an agreement between you and the network operator whereby you agree to pay a set monthly amount in exchange for a set number of phone minutes, texts and data. You don’t have to receive a new mobile phone handset with a mobile phone contract on this site, as sim only packages and pay as you go deals are also popular. If you do choose to order a new handset they will either be free or discounted, depending on the type of handset, the monthly cost and the contract term.
You take out a mobile phone contract for a set period of time. Typically, mobile phone contracts are available for 12, 18 and 24 month periods, though they can extend longer than this. As of 25th May 2011, communications regulator Ofcom ruled (in conjunction with EU regulations) that mobile phone contracts in the UK should run up to 24 months. However, this is not a regulatory requirement, so some mobile plans can run longer than this. Each deal review detailed across the Best Mobile Contracts site lists the contract term along with the amount of data and number of minutes each contract provides.
However, most network providers realise that what customers really want is choice. Mobile Network Virtual Operators (MVNOs) like Giffgaff compete heavily with the major networks in terms of price, packages and flexibility. Giffgaff, in particular, helped to change the mobile contract landscape with the introduction of rolling month-long plans that customers could swap every single month, with no cancellation fees.
In 2019 Ofcom announced a series of measures to increase fairness of monthly phone contracts. These measures include:
- Networks must tell customers the cost of buying handsets and airtime separately
- 24 month “linked split contracts” will be banned
- New protections for out-of-contract “bundled” customers
From the end of 2020 it is a regulatory requirement that mobile networks inform their customers when their bundle is up and explain the best deal for them going forward, including a choice of sim only contracts to save their customers money.
Why choose a monthly contract?
If you use your phone regularly to call, text and browse the internet, a mobile phone contract is often the cheapest way to stay connected. As we use more and more data, most monthly phone contracts come with unlimited minutes and texts, while extra charges are added for additional data type (for example 5G data) and data requirements (ranging from 1GB up to unlimited data packages). However, plenty of networks offer monthly contracts for under £10 per month, while taking out cashback by redemption offers are also useful ways to lower the overall cost of your monthly premiums.
Because of Ofcom’s 2019 ruling for greater transparency among mobile network providers, all mobile phone plans now have to be split up in terms of handset cost and airtime. This means that the free handset offers that many networks provide will offer greater insight into the actual cost of the monthly packages. Handset costs vary between manufacturers, with iPhone, Samsung and Sony all offering flagship smartphones that cost upwards of £1,000, and brands like Alcatel, Huawei and Motorola all offering handsets for less than £50. To pay for a £1,000 handset over the course of 12 months will involve higher monthly payments, so to spread it over 24 or 36 months lowers your outlay each month.
What’s included in a mobile phone contract?
In return for a set monthly fee starting from as little as £5 per month, you will receive an “inclusive number” of data, minutes and texts. Most phone contracts come with unlimited minutes and texts, with varying amounts of data for Internet browsing and streaming services. The contract will run for a set period of time and will be stated on Best Mobile Contracts and on the retailer’s website, for free handset pay monthly offers as well as sim only deals.
If you go over your inclusive amounts you will be charged per MB of data that you use, though all network providers will alert you if you are coming close to your allowance if you need to top up any data. Flexible networks like Giffgaff and Voxi offer monthly contracts that allow you to switch every month if you find your data allowance is too much, or not enough.
Mobile phone insurance is not normally included in the basic contracts, however some mobile phone retailers may offer you free insurance periods, ranging from one to three months. Remember, if you don’t want to continue this beyond the initial months you will need to cancel it yourself.
How frequently do you use your mobile phone?
Before you sign up for a long term phone contract, it is worth asking yourself a few questions to determine whether or not a contract is right for you. Do you need a new handset, or are you happy with your current phone? How much do you want to spend per month? How much do you use your mobile?
How much data do I need?
Because most pay monthly phone packages include unlimited minutes and texts, you can make as many calls and SMS messages as you like. If you use your mobile phone on a daily basis to browse the Internet, stream music services or stream video or live sports, then an inclusive data contract is the best way forward. The table below provides you with a quick insight into just how quickly your usage can add up.
Downloading or streaming music
|13 hours||130 hours||1,300 hours|
Downloading or streaming music
|8.5 hours||87 hours||870 hours|
Downloading or streaming video
|1 hour||10 hours||100 hours|
Downloading or streaming video
|40 minutes||6.5 hours||65 hours|
Downloading or streaming video
|4 minutes||40 minutes||6.5 hours|
As you can see, the amount of data you require from your mobile contract depends on the kind of things you will use your phone for. All mobile networks offer unlimited data packages that you can use for as much high quality video streaming as you like.
Pay As You Go Contracts
If you don’t use your mobile phone very often, or use it for emergencies only (when you go out in the car, for example), then a pay as you go deal is a good option for you as you literally pay for whatever data, minutes and texts you use. However, the cost of cheap monthly deals has dropped so much that a pay monthly plan might be worth even more value than a pay as you go contract.
Are you over 18?
Mobile phone pay monthly contracts are only available to people over the age of 18. This is because you are entering into a legally binding contract and the minimum age for doing this in the UK is 18 years old. If you are under the age of 18 and want a pay monthly mobile phone contract, you will need to find an adult who is willing to take responsibility for the contract and all the responsibilities that are associated with it.
Do you have a good credit rating?
The mobile phone operators will carry out a credit check before you take out a mobile phone contract. This is because they are usually subsidising what can be an expensive handset. If you already have a number of direct debits setup and pay things on time you should be fine. If you don’t have a good credit rating, don’t worry, you still have plenty of options, such as pay as you go packages and sim only deals.
Do you want the latest smartphone?
With every new iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Huawei Pro release, the technology improves along with the performance. Better battery life, faster charging times, quicker processing, clearer displays, better build quality and more impressive cameras are just some of the things we look for with each new handset. Because of the cost of these technical improvements, brand new handsets from the world’s best smartphone manufacturers can be expensive. By spreading this cost over a 12, 18 or 24 month contract you lower your monthly payments without having to spend hundreds on a new handset.
Can I keep my number if I change networks?
By law mobile phone networks must let you take your number with you if you are outside of your contract term and you want to switch to a different operator. This is known as number porting and to do this you will need to get a pac code from your existing network.
Can I change my contract once I have signed up?
People’s mobile phone usage can change throughout the duration of their contract. You can change your tariff at any time if you want to increase your inclusive allowances (thus increasing the monthly cost). However if you would like to downgrade your monthly tariff there are limitations set by the various networks. Some networks like Giffgaff, VOXI and Tesco Mobile offer monthly rolling contracts that give you complete flexibility when it comes to choosing your deal.
Can I get out of my mobile phone contract early?
Every mobile phone contract is subject to Consumer Contracts Regulations, which afford you 14 days after you take out the contract to cancel it without penalty. However, some networks extend this policy. If you have a Vodafone contract you can cancel within the first 30 days without having to pay exit fees, while Giffgaff and VOXI operate 1 month rolling contracts with no cancellation fees. If you are outside of the 14 day period for regular contracts, it will be possible to cancel your contract early but you may have to pay fees to cover the cost of the remainder of your contract. Another option is to upgrade your current handset with your current provider, as they might not apply any charges to upgrade.
Do I always get a better deal by taking out a new mobile phone contract?
Not necessarily. Thanks to Ofcom’s changes to regulations in 2019 mobile networks are legally obliged to contact customers when their contract is coming to a close to help them avoid paying out of contract fees. Some networks including O2, Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile have made a commitment to automatically move its customers to sim only deals at the expiry of their contracts.
Do I need to give my mobile phone back once my contract ends?
No, once you have completed your contract period, the mobile phone is yours to keep. Some people keep their handset and switch to a sim only deal, which is often cheaper as you won’t be making monthly payments to cover the cost of your handset. Instead you will just pay the plan costs for your minutes, texts and data.