personal mobile phones best buys and cheap deals
by Colin Bryant, TelecomsAdvice
Go direct to mobile phone supplier links!
Buying mobile phones - warnings! - applicable to any supplier:
- If you don't make many calls - mostly just want to receive calls - then you may be OK with a 'Pay As You Go' 'SIM' network card and a basic handset - check how often you have to credit your account in order to continue to receive calls.
- If you want to use an existing handset with a new SIM check that it is compatible with the network 'band' ('dual band' 900/1800 and/or UMTS/3G) and the handset is 'unlocked' from the network it was first issued by. (Click here for a mobile phone unlocking service).
- You could decide how many peak, off-peak, cross-network minutes you need per month and find the best price including an acceptable handset. But you may want a mp3 player, camera, video or 'bling' fashion phone - and that particular handset may mean paying towards the full cost of the handset up-front, or subsidising the handset cost by paying for more minutes than you will use (work out the extra cost over the life of the contract).
- Check the various networks' coverage maps to get an indication of where your phone will work - 3g coverage for video and other high speed applications is more limited than the standard GSM service for voice and SMS text - and there will always be local 'blind' spots.
- Don't be confused by 'free' or 'half-price' rental offers - work out the cost of the deal over the life of the contract to get a fair comparison.
- Make sure you understand under the terms of any 'half-price line rental' or similar offer that your line rental could increase part-way through the contract or that you may have to claim 'cash-back' subject to rigid and rigorous terms and conditions to get the advertised rates - some suppliers make the cash-back scheme so difficult that most consumers will fail to reclaim at least some of it.
- Insurance may be included 'free' for the first month or so - but a payment
then starts to be deducted by direct debit. Compare alternative mobile phone
insurance rates and cover. Consider:
- how much it would cost to replace the handset paying full retail price (not subsidised by the rental) and offset that against how much the insurance premiums will add up to,
- how much 'excess' you will have to pay if you make a claim,
- whether you get a like-for-like new or used replacement and what exclusions there may be in the small print.
- The cost of the handset and any 'free gift' or cash-back is subsidised by the network monthly rental charges - if you cancel your contract or miss or stop payments you may be charged for the full retail cost of the handset (which can be over GBP300) as well as for any 'free gift' and the remaining contract rental.
- If you want to use your phone abroad, generally, you will need a 'dual-band' handset for Europe, a 'tri-band' for America and 'quad-band' for the Far East - check the details for your destination. Also the SIM account must be 'unblocked' or allowed for International dialling/roaming before you go - or you will need a local or International SIM which will work in your 'unlocked' handset. (Click here for a mobile phone unlocking service).
- If you are concerned about mobile phone health warnings then you should look for the SAR Specific Absorption Rating of the handset - the lower the better.
If you want to check coverage and call rates including international, and/or buy direct:
Vodafone mobile phones
Orange mobile phones
O2 mobile phones
3 mobile phones
T-Mobile free PAYG SIM cards for mobile phones
BT Shop - BT mobile and 'Fusion' broadband internet telephony
e2save - part of Carphone Warehouse but cheaper if you comply with the cashback requirements!!
Mobiles.co.uk - Mobile News 'Best Small Retailer 2006'
The Phone Spot - Carphone Warehouse again - compare deals
other mobile services
Trace A Mobile - mobile phone tracking system - if it's switched on you can find out approximately where it is!
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 21/01/2011
See also our UK ICT Directory for supplier lists and links
copyright 2000 - 2012 crucible multimedia ltd; all rights reserved - disclaimer