Are you paying too much for your mobile phone?

Mobile phones are getting more expensive

As anyone who’s ever invested in a piece of state-of-the-art, high-spec tech will tell you, the alarmingly swift drop in value that ensues as soon as your shiny new toy is unboxed is the price you’ll inevitably pay for being an early adopter. Except, it seems, when it comes to mobile phones.

Because, while the price of TVs, PCs and other technologies plummet in price as new releases continually supersede old (and not-so-old) ones, smartphones appear to be bucking the trend. As mobile phones have become increasingly sophisticated, to the point where many professionals consider them to be an essential business tool, we’ve also accepted that the cost of owning and running a smartphone will continue to rise, rather than fall.

The range of mobile phone deals on offer confuse consumers

It’s a paradigm that is supported by the bewildering buffet of buying options which make it difficult to nail down the cost of the separate components – handset and contract – that would otherwise enable users to opt for the best-value solution.

In practice, there are two ways to buy a smartphone. You can either opt to buy one on contract, where the cost of your chosen handset is bundled with a service over a fixed period of time, or you can buy a phone outright and pick a SIM-only contract (or PAYG). But should we really accept spiralling smartphone costs or can we cut a deal that suits us, rather than our supplier?

SIM-only versus contract

The reason most people choose to take out a bundled handset-and-contract deal is that it appears to keep things simple. You’re signing up to a fixed-term deal over a couple of years which means you don’t have to think too long and hard about it. Simply pick the phone you like, tick the service you believe will cover your needs and off you go.

With the cost of the handset included in your monthly instalments, you won’t have to foot the bill for your top-notch iPhone upfront, either. So, it’s a win-win situation all round, right?

Consumers wasting money on expensive contracts

Except, of course, it’s not that simple and it could end up costing you more than you think.

A couple of years ago, consumer body Which carried out an extensive survey that showed Britons with mobile phone contracts were paying, on average, almost £100 more than they needed to for their smartphones, with a whopping £355 million collectively being wasted by consumers – mostly by failing to switch contracts at the end of their commitment.

So not only do we often pay over the odds for a handset by spreading the cost of purchase (which usually includes a premium and prevents you from negotiating the best deal on the handset in the first place) but we don’t take the trouble to renegotiate when the contract expires. Which means that the smartphone that appeared to be ‘free’ when we acquired it, quietly racks up a raft of costs long after you’ve settled the original bill.

A flexible contract is the best mobile phone deal

And that’s before you factor in issues such as needing to change your network provider because you’ve moved to a new office and there’s no coverage for the one you’re locked into, or finding out that your data usage is way lower or higher than you’d originally budgeted for.

These days, most tech pundits advise buying your phone and your contract separately if you can, especially if you want a new model. In his online advice column, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis recommends just that:

‘Buy the handset at the cheapest price you can find it, and pair it with a SIM-only deal of your choice.’

It pays to have an expert on your side

At Midland Networks, we can provide customers with precisely the package they need on any mobile network. Not only that, but we’re also happy to switch you to a different network or to change the type of service as it suits your business – every month, if you like. For more information on how we can support your business, contact us on 0800 849 8585 or pop online at midlandnetworks.co.uk for a chat.