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How to compare mobile phone tariffs

Working out which mobile phone tariff is right for you can be tough. Our handy guide to tariffs is all the help you need.
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According to an Ofcom-accredited survey, three-quarters of Britons on pay monthly deals are spending too much on their mobile phone contract, with the total overspend standing at a shocking £5 billion per year.

Even more alarming is that this is happening despite there being a huge array of new contracts to choose from, and comparison sites that help you track down the best deals and choose the right price.

So here we answer your question: "what mobile phone is best for me?" and help you avoid paying over the odds for it.

Compare mobile deals with Uswitch.

Finding the right mobile phone tariff

If you're getting a new mobile phone then there are two major things you need to consider: what handset you want and which phone tariff is right for you.

If you don't know what mobile phone you're after, we're in a great position to help you. Take a look at our mobile phone reviews section.

Once you're confident on which handset you'd like, 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 what mobile phone tariff will fulfil your needs doesn't have to be difficult either.

With that in mind, we've put together this 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 unlimited minutes and texts and a set amount of mobile data. 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 or mobile data in advance and then use your phone until that pre-paid 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 phone 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 is 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.


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

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.

Keep contract lengths in mind

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.