How to save money on your mobile contract

Contract renewal bother

Recently our contracts for our current mobiles were up for renewal. We had a 18 month contract and it ended in the middle of September (2011), a month or two before we were starting to get sales calls on the mobiles from various companies that offered us renewals. The renewal included a new phone and a contract extension for another year, 18 month or 2 years. The longer you’re tied in, the more attractive the offer of course.

The mobile phone providers must be making money of selling data back to companies like Carphone Warehouse etc.

The best deal came to about £20 per month for an HTC Wildfire and £25 for a Blackberry Curve 8520. We wanted to get a deal where we would not pay more than our current deal which was about £28 for the two mobiles. Having analysed a couple of past bills we realised that we hardly ever used more than 50 minutes a month. So we’re not heavy users.

I looked on some of these website to find out if the mobiles on offer were any good:

http://www.which.co.uk/mobile/phones/

(We’re a member but you can see reviews)

http://www.gsmarena.com/

I had some special demands, wanted an Android smart phone for the business and my wife wanted a Blackberry. An HTC Wildfire, Samsung Galaxy Ace or Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro looked appealing, the latter also having a slide out keyboard.

Having been alerted to the contract end, I started looking at various sites that offer deals and other sites that had reviews of mobile phones. Here a list of the websites I looked at, please note that some of them are UK specific:

http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/

http://www.e2save.com/

http://www.dialaphone.co.uk/

and website from the various carriers like O2, Orange, Vodaphone etc. Another interesting one is http://www.talkmobile.co.uk/

I looked at some of the phones there and decided that the deals were good enough as an alternative. A couple of Android phones on a £12 a month contract and and a Blackberry contract for £15. Having previously paid about £40 for the two mobiles per month. Appealing to pay a bit less. There are other deals on these websites but a lot of it is either by redemption or cashback.

With redemption you have to send in your bill for instance in month 8,10,12 & 14 to get a cheque in the post. Something you can easily forget. With automatic cashback you get a cheque in the post for instance in month 2 of your contract though it’s usually a lot less that with redemption. The deals I found on Talkmobile had none of that, so it’s a lot easier and a pretty good deal with 200 minutes, 200 texts and 1Gb of data.

How to get the best deal

Now comes the good part. I called my provider and asked for 2 PAC codes, one for my mobile and one for my wife. A PAC (Port Authorisation Code) is the code you need to port your current mobile number to another provider.

“Let’s see what we can do…” was the answer. And the next thing was the offer for an Android phone, either on of three mentioned earlier and a Blackberry 8520 for the wife. A 24 month contract with 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 250Mb of data. A contract normally £20 per month but for our continued custom, £10 per month for the full duration! So with £20 per month for two mobiles well under our target of £28 per month.

I tried to get a bit more data but, he wouldn’t budge. More data would raise the monthly price to £15. Can I get the Blackberry Curve 9300 (same as the Curve 8520 but with 3G)? Yes, he could offer that too.

And I agreed to that. Is the data allowance going to be enough? Possibly but an occasional extra £10 won’t break the bank.

So to get the best possible deal, go try and find another one that is suitable to your needs. Then go to your current provider (usually within 30 days before the contract ends) and ask for the PAC code(s), then they will normally offer you a very good deal. I know it’s already happened before and it also happened last week. Good luck and let me know what happened.

Peter