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Many people are wasting money on a mobile phone contract that is not suitable for their requirements. They may be paying for more minutes and messages than they actually need, or they may have committed to a deal that is overly restrictive with the result that they end up exceeding their limits and being charged higher rates for additional usage.

Clearly it is thus important to choose a mobile phone contract that matches your usage profile and a handset that is within your budget.

The following is a brief look at some of the best ways in which to save money on mobile phone contracts and to make your network provider work a little harder in ensuring that you remain a satisfied customer.

Phone Selection

A significant percentage of users will choose a phone contract based upon the handset that is included. The cost of a pay monthly contract will directly relate to the cost of the handset. Even if the device is advertised as ‘free’ up-front, you will be covering the associated cost over the lifetime of the deal. Choosing the most appropriate handset requires that the head rule the heart rather than vice versa.

There are four principal smartphone operating systems currently on the market. Android from Google is the dominant platform, ahead of iOS from Apple, BlackBerry OS from the recently renamed BlackBerry and Windows Phone from Microsoft. Currently our most popular guide is our guide to finding the best iPhone deal.

Also, read our guide to buying the perfect Samsung phone for you.

Each offers a different user experience, although there are some core features which are common to most platforms. These include web browsing, email access, social networking integration and downloadable apps.

Smartphones vary dramatically in quality, durability and functionality so it pays to carefully study professional reviews and to play with a handset in person before you commit to one on a contract.

Contract Type

To choose the right contract you will need to understand your own monthly usage patterns. This includes how many calls you make, the texts you send and the megabytes of data usage you routinely require.

Pay monthly deals tend to be the best solution for heavy users, while SIM only packages are suitable if you want to keep your existing handset and spend less every month. If you are looking for sim card only deals then please read our page comparing the best free sim cards available which are PAYG sim card offerings from the major UK network providers. For longer contract sim only deals, read our sim only guide which asks whether a sim only deal may be right for you.

Network Negotiation

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about mobile phone contracts is that all of the prices tend to be negotiable. This is particularly true if you are already with a provider and you are coming to the end of a previous contract.

Not only will you be able to upgrade your phone, but you should be in a good position to ask for a lower monthly cost or a better bundle of inclusive minutes, messages and data.

It can help to chat to a network provider’s own representatives about leaving. In many cases they will pull out all the stops to convince you to stay. Also check out competing offers from rivals so that you have a realistic point of reference as to how much you think you should be paying.

Recycling & Cashback

There are various retailers who will offer cashback or free gifts when you commit to a contract. This can help to further reduce the lifetime cost of a deal.

Finally, at the end of your contract, if you sell your old mobile phone for recycling, you can recoup some of your investment.

We will update this page as soon as we can with deals on Samsung phones, Android phones, Windows 8 phones and BB10 phones. For the latest Mobile phone news, please check out our recent mobile industry news stories.

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