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How to find a cheap mobile phone

Money-saving tips for smarter shoppers on the hunt for a cheap mobile phone.
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At the turn of this century, owning a mobile phone was for high-ranking executives and businessmen. However, today you can get an excellent smartphone for way less than ÂŁ15 per month.

That said, sometimes the sheer range of handsets and tariff options available means that it’s not always easy to find the right cheap phone for your needs.

This guide will provide you with all the help you require to track down the cheapest phone deals and save yourself hundreds of pounds.

Compare all mobile phone deals at Uswitch now.

Why choose a cheap mobile phone?

Smartphones are powerful handheld devices that offer a dizzying range of functions.

However, some of us neither need nor want cutting-edge functions such as a Lidar sensor or 8K video recording. This is where cheap mobile phones are still the best option.

Lacking high-end, flashy functionality that some of us are unlikely to use, cheap phones are much less fussy and do not overwhelm users with complex menus and options. As a result, they're supremely simple to use.

Are cheap phones just badly made handsets?

No, they're really not. Cheap mobiles are available from most of the world’s best-known and highly regarded mobile phone manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, Sony and OnePlus.

The cheap phones they offer boast the same build and call quality as their higher-end phones.

The only aspect in which they differ from the latest smartphones is that they may not have the same high-tech functions and quite the same standard of specifications.

What kind of functions do cheap phones leave out?

Choosing a cheap phone doesn't mean that you have to miss out on all the great things that modern mobiles can do.

Among the features you can expect on a cheap mobile phone are a dedicated music player, a web browser, a camera, a range of personal organisation apps and a whole host of communications options, including SMS, MMS, email and, of course, social media.

Even the most basic handsets will come equipped with a range of games, a calendar, a calculator and an alarm clock.

However, functions that have yet to find their way to cheap phones include HD video recording, satnav and support for A-GPS.

Need a high-end smartphone? Compare all the best smartphone deals at Uswitch now.

Finding a cheap phone contract

Apart from considering the kind of phone you need, if you’re looking to save money it’s also important to make sure you're happy with the pricing and terms of the contract you sign up for.

You’ll find that all mobile phone networks and carriers have a selection of cheap mobile contracts, with some offering a free handset for under £10 per month.

Of course, as well as the price, you’re advised to look closely at what your monthly charge entitles you to in terms of minutes, data and texts.

For instance, if you’re a heavy data user, it’s probably a good idea to sign up for a plan that allows you plenty of mobile internet usage while you're out and about.

On the other hand, if mainly just want a mobile phone for calling people, it's a good idea to choose a tariff with a generous allowance of monthly call minutes.

Unlimited calls now usually come as standard on most mobile deals - it's mobile data that often drives the prices up. So if you don't think you'll be using the internet much on your phone, you could get away with a very cheap contract.

Which is cheaper: pay as you go or contract?

Pay-as-you-go can be a good choice if you don’t make much use of your mobile and simply need a handset to call or text with.

However, pay-as-you-go customers on average pay much more for calls and texts than those on contract deals.

Pay-as-you-go customers also have to pay for their phones outright. Conversely, cheap contract phone customers can often get a phone for free.

A cheap contract tariff may offer cheaper calls than pay-as-you-go and a free handset.

Can I save money by keeping my old phone?

Hanging on to your existing mobile is a great way of saving money because it allows you to consider SIM only contract deals.

These take the form of monthly contracts but are priced much lower than contracts that include a phone because you are not paying for the handset.

SIM only cheap phone contracts also feature tariffs that are more keenly priced than pay-as-you-go deals, so you’ll save on calls and text messages too.


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