Your cookie preferences

We use cookies and similar technologies. You can use the settings below to accept all cookies (which we recommend to give you the best experience) or to enable specific categories of cookies as explained below. Find out more by reading our Cookie Policy.

Select cookie preferences

Skip to main content

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.
Share this guide
smiling man with mobile phone - compare mobile phone tariffs guide

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 contracts and SIM only deals

Browse our best contract deals for the latest handsets or save money with a cheap SIM only offer.

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 about 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 may 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.

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 as 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.

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 kinds 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.

Compare mobile contracts and SIM only deals

Browse our best contract deals for the latest handsets or save money with a cheap SIM only offer.


Best smartphones 2022: top 16 mobile phones ranked | Uswitch

Choosing the best smartphone in 2022 is a challenge. That's why we've ranked our top 16 mobile phones available to buy on the market right now. Read it here.

Learn more
Transferring your number guide young man on his mobile phone

PAC Codes | How to keep and transfer your old number

Find out how to transfer your old mobile number to your new handset. Save yourself the needless hassle by keeping your old phone number.

Learn more
comparing smartphones choosing a smartphone

How to choose a mobile phone contract - Uswitch

With so many great value deals on phone contracts, it can be tough choosing the right one. This guide will help you find the best mobile phone contract for you.

Learn more
Woman comparing mobiles - How to switch phone providers

How to switch mobile phone providers

Switching phone providers? You don't have to compare every deal yourself. We do the work for you and make it easy. Just follow the simple steps in this guide.

Learn more