The UK’s mobile market is one of the world’s most active, since Brits love gadgets and have the disposable income to invest in them regularly. This does not mean that most people are not interested in looking for a bargain, but getting a great mobile phone for an affordable price can be tricky.
Here are a few hints to make sure that you can identify the most appropriate phone deals the next time you need to upgrade.
It is sensible to make a decision on the type of mobile that you actually want to buy before you start looking around at the deals that are on offer.
You will be able to pick between two main categories: smartphones and feature phones, with the former generally being costlier than the latter.
Smartphones vary in price and functionality, although even the bargain basement models should be able to provide a few core features that distinguish them from feature phones. This includes a web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, an application download service and of course a built-in camera.
If you want to spend as little as possible and still get a smartphone, you should try to pick a device that runs either the Android or Windows Phone operating systems, since these are scalable and lightweight, catering for lower specification handsets.
Those with a bit more money to spent might consider buying an iOS mobile, which is a family made up of Apple iPhone models. You can also find class-leading Android and Windows Phone handsets that can match or exceed the technical aspects of an iPhone.
It is important to work out what type of smartphone you will actually need. If you are not going to be doing things like watching movies or playing games, then spending hundreds of pounds on a big-screen monster device might not be sensible, but you should also not limit your choice of activities by picking a phone that is less technically capable than you require.
With a phone in mind, it is time to look for a mobile contract with a network provider to help you actually get a good deal.
There are both pay monthly and pay-as-you-go contracts available. Pay monthly customers will need to sign up for at least 12 months, while pay as you go gives you the freedom to top up when you like and only pay for actual usage, not a flat-rate line rental.
The benefit of pay monthly deals is that you will usually be able to get a free or subsidised handset without having significant upfront costs. Meanwhile, the increased freedom of pay as you go comes at a price, because you will typically be required to buy the phone outright.
So long as you do not get suckered in by promotions that might not be appropriate for your circumstances and ensure that you have done your research, getting a good mobile phone deal should not be too difficult.
Claire Stewart has worked as a tech reporter for a number of years, covering industry trends and trying to get consumers the best phone deals from the wealth of options on the market.