Wednesday 30 May 2018

How to Get the Best Deal when Renewing your Mobile Phone Contract

young people on a mobile
Teenagers Texting Image by Akhenaton Images from Shutterstock

I've recently just renewed my mobile phone contract and I wanted an upgraded phone but not to have to pay any more per month. I thought this was going to be a very tall order and I'd have to pay quite a lot up-front for a new phone or accept that my monthly bill would be increasing. But no, with some shopping around I was able to secure a new phone that met my specification, the same monthly tariff and only a £50 upfront phone cost. Then considering I was upgrading 40 days before the end of my contract term I even managed to avoid paying off the buy-out charge as I stayed with the same provider and thus the £50 was around the same money. I was suitably impressed!

About a month before the end of your existing contract is a perfect time to look for new deals and to speak to the retention team about leaving your existing network supplier

Let me share with you the stages I went through to get my great value new phone deal -

1.  Choose which Phone you want next
I've been an iPhone user since 2012 and generally I love my phone. I find iOS very easy to use and intuitive and importantly all my music is stored in iTunes and this has kept me tied in over the last 6 years. Personally I've never had the newest iPhone on the market as I can't bear to part with so much money and I've found that by the two year mark each of my iPhones are pretty much done-in and are ready for the scrap heap. At two years my iPhone 4 totally refused to start-up, my 5C camera stopped working and now my SE also has a poor and slow camera!

With this in mind I decided I ought to bite the bullet and give an Android phone a go and I assumed I'd move to Samsung as it is a name I know and trust and my girls had Samsung tablets that worked well but when I started to speak to people everyone kept telling me to try Huawei. The same kind of specs as iPhone and Samsung flagship models but at much lower prices.

I knew that for me, a great camera and fast multi-tasking were the most important factors and the Huawei P20 gives me that. I used Tech Radar to check out reviews of mobile phones to see what had the specs I wanted and then I looked on YouTube and watched some reviews to see what each of the mobiles looked like and how they handled. There is so much choice out there now and most models seem to have a big brother but don't just go for the + or pro model as you assume it will be better. I opted for the base P20 model as the camera on the Pro version actually looked as if it 'blew' and distorted the colours of the images and I didn't need to pay an extra £200 just for a phone to be waterproof.

In my experience you can't get the best deals if you want a new iPhone as they rarely discount them
woman on a mobile phone
Woman on a Mobile Phone by Leungchopan from Shutterstock

2.  Find the Best Deal for the Phone you Want
Whatever you do, please do not assume that whatever your mobile phone operator offers you for upgrade is the best deal. In my experience it rarely is.

Shop around and see who is offering the best deal. Think about whether you are willing to change to another network. It doesn't have to be too cumbersome to keep your phone number and change network, you just give notice to your existing network, ask for a PAC code and pass it to your new network - simple!

I used USwitch to shop around and found loads of great deals via this site. I have to admit that some of the deals seemed too good to be true and I was wondering who companies like and were but after a bit of searching on Money Supermarket I was able to ascertain who are the established and reputable companies and therefore the ones I'd be happy to do business with. There were loads more of them than I imagined.

Some of the best phone deals are only available to new customers of a network and you might already be with that same network and assume you can't access those deals but you can. You can even keep the same phone number, it just takes a bit of work. The last time I swapped I did this, I was already with EE and but could get a much better deal with EE as a new customer via Carphone Warehouse, so what I had to do was pick up a free sim card (from the supermarket) for a different network (I choose Vodafone).

I then gave notice to EE and got my PAC code and had my number transferred to the new sim for Vodafone. Then a couple of days later I asked Vodafone for my PAC (and I was able to do it via an online form, so it was super easy) and then gave it to Carphone Warehouse who transferred my number back in to EE and onto my new phone. Within a week I was sorted and paying £6 a month less than before!

It's worth doing your research at this stage, so that when you speak to your network supplier they can tell you are serious and ready to leave them. They can't afford to lose you!

Don't go with the first discount they offer you. Hold your own, let the silence sit there and wait for something better to be offered. They want to keep you as a customer.

3.  Give Notice to your Existing Mobile Network
Once you find the best deal out there, don't sign up for it until you have spoken to your existing network. Don't faff around with customer services, go straight to the Retention's team, these are the people you get to when you tell the automated system you wish to leave their network. When you speak to them sound confident and as if you really intend to leave and I bet you they'll find you a much better deal than you can access online or get via your upgrade options.

I told them about the deal I had found via and all of a sudden they were able to drop £4 off the monthly cost and £100 off the phone cost of the Huawei P20 deal I'd been offered as an upgrade. I then told them it wasn't enough and I was happy to move over to Vodafone via for a better price and they then tried to convince me that many of 'these 3rd party companies' are not reputable.

Again I sounded confident and told them I'd done my research and was totally happy. After a few more minutes, they matched the monthly cost of the other deal but wouldn't shift from a £50 phone cost but as I've mentioned before that was around the same as my contract buy-out charge and seeing as I could now stay with EE (my preferred network) it was all super easy and my phone arrived the next day!

Moral of the story - haggle! Fight for the best deal, don't assume they have already offered it to you. You only get the best when you ask for it and threaten to leave and once you've gained one thing don't be afraid to ask for more. Can you have more minutes, more data, a free case, can they offer better broadband? The list goes on and on!

Go on, give it a try and have fun.......

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