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Guide to mobile phone tariffs

Getting a tariff that's right for you can be tough. Our handy guide to tariffs can help.

According to an Ofcom accredited survey, three-quarters of Britons on pay monthly deals are spending too much on their mobile phone contract. The total overspend is a massive £5 billion per year, and even more shocking still is that this is happening despite the fact that growing competition among networks means that there are a huge number of great offers around. So how can you avoid signing up for a deal that's not right for you?

Finding the right deal

If you're getting a new mobile phone then there are two major things you need to consider: the handset and the tariff. If you know which phone you're after, we're in a great position to help you straight away with our easy to use phone finder tool.

Once you've found the handset you want, head over to the handset page. Here you'll be able to filter deals by length of contract and cost. You'll also be able to sort them by data, calls or texts allowance, so that picking a deal is easy no matter what your priority is.

Working out which kind of tariff will work for you can be a daunting process. With that in mind, we've put together this mobile phone tariff guide to help you understand exactly what you need to be looking out for. You can also read our guide to picking the best phone contract.

Compare all mobile phone tariffs at uSwitch now.

Pay Monthly or Pay As You Go?

Pay monthly mobile phone tariffs allow you to make one monthly payment and usually include a set amount of minutes and texts. You will be invoiced for any talk time you use over the included amount.

Pay as you go tariffs allow you to top-up your phone with credit in advance and then use your phone until that prepaid credit runs out. People who like to have complete control over what they are spending prefer to use pay as you go.

What's included in a tariff?

There are many elements to a mobile phone tariff, from inclusive calls and texts to emailing and data applications.

Inclusive minutes

Every mobile phone tariff should offer a deal on inclusive minutes, the amount usually dependent on how much you pay each month. Many business mobile phone tariffs offer free calls to your colleagues if you are all on the same network, while consumer-targeted mobile tariffs tend to offer a set amount of free calls each month.

Compare all mobile phone and free calls deals at uSwitch now.

Inclusive texts

Much like inclusive minutes, most mobile phone tariffs will offer a set number of inclusive texts. This often includes a number of free texts that can be bumped up with an add-on bundle.

Compare all mobile phone and free text deals at uSwitch now.

Data

Data refers to content or information that you can access over the internet from your mobile, such web pages, music or video calls. If you are someone who likes to make the most of the advanced technology available on your phone, you should make sure your mobile phone tariff includes a data bundle.

Compare all mobile phone bundle deals at uSwitch now.

International

Calls from mobiles when you're abroad can be very expensive. However, if you plan to use your mobile abroad a lot, you can sign-up to a mobile phone tariff that gives you a good rate on international roaming.

Contract lengths

Phone contract lengths vary considerably. If you're the kind of person who upgrades your phone regularly, it might be a good idea to choose a 12-month contract. These kind of deals, which many networks have reintroduced recently, are excellent for early adopters of mobile phone technology, allowing them to get their hands on the latest and best models on the market.

However, typically most contracts are for 18 months or 24 months. The main advantage of longer terms - and this is especially true of 24-month deals - is that the length of the contract usually means you'll pay a lower monthly premium. You are also likely to pay a reduced sum for the handset itself or even pay nothing.

For more information, see our guide to the best mobile contracts at uSwitch.

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