Numerous smartphone-makers have released cheaper, more powerful devices this year. This means that older models with similar features, which were once seen as premium devices, have now been plunged into a cheaper price bracket. At the end of the day it becomes a win for the consumer who is now spoiled for choice when choosing a new smartphone. Almost every manufacturer has an entry-level device which outperforms a premium device from three years ago.
While it may not capture those Single Lens Reflex images like pricier devices, the X Cam outperforms many of the devices in its class when it comes to taking photos. Unlocking your phone means you can use any network's Sim, which gives you the freedom to switch providers. Some handsets are unlocked when you buy them, usually if you purchase them directly from the manufacturer as with iPhones, for example. But if you got your handset from a network it will often be 'locked' to that specific provider. Head outside the EU and your mobile provider may hike prices massively, and even charge for receiving calls as well.
Yet you can cut the cost substantially by using networks' hidden deals or by getting a specialist Sim card to use overseas. These sites are all about instant prices though. If you're prepared to put in a little more effort and flog your handset on eBay, you can often beat their prices.
Don't just settle for the same plan, provider and price each year. Mobile tariff costs are coming down, so if anything you should be paying less each year, not more. Here's how to do it:. There are two types of Sim only deals — day rolling contracts which you're free to leave with a month's notice, or fixed-term contracts, usually locking you in for 12 months often, though not always, better value.
These are great value if you already have a handset or can afford to buy a new handset upfront, and work out better for heavy data users. If you pay for your mobile via pay-as-you-go, you won't be tied into any contract — simply pay in advance for what you use via top-ups, online or on the phone. Pay-as-you-go packs, however, auto-renew. If you definitely do, then there are essentially three ways to get one.
Each has benefits and drawbacks — here's a quick rundown:. This is often much cheaper over two years than getting a contract with a network, plus you can choose whichever network and Sim only plan suits you best. You can also avoid a credit check if you opt for a pay-as-you-go deal.
Also consider refurbished models as these can be a lot cheaper. If you want a snazzy phone but can't afford to buy the handset upfront, you're best off saving up. But if you really can't wait, then instead of paying mobile providers' inflated prices, you could opt for a way to buy it now, but pay no interest. This allows you to buy the phone for Apple's standard price, but pay only a small amount upfront and then the rest in 20 monthly instalments.
Be careful not to get caught out though. You'll be credit-checked and will need to be accepted for what's technically an interest-free loan. Looking for a different model or can't get to an Apple Store? Once you've bought your phone, stash the credit card in a bowl of water in the freezer so you won't be tempted to use it again. For many, the only way they've ever got a new phone is via a two-year contract with a network that bundles the cost of the handset in with a monthly fee for airtime — usually at a hefty markup. This can often be the most expensive way to buy a phone, though there are ways to cut the cost.
Reseller sites such as Mobiles. The contract is still with the main network, so you get the same service, just via a cheaper source. The majority of phone contracts which include a handset are paid for monthly over a two-year period, meaning the handset is paid for at the end. Though the handset has been paid for, most providers continue to charge the same monthly price after the initial contract period is over, meaning you're effectively paying for the phone again.
To avoid overpaying, make a note of your contract end date and diarise to contact your provider one month before it ends to give it notice, which means you're free to leave or change deal. No matter how much storage space your mobile phone's got, it'll eventually fill up with photos, videos, apps and more, severely limiting what you're able to do with it. However, it's highly likely you'd be splashing your cash unnecessarily, as there's a variety of very simple things you can do on Android and iOS devices to save anything from a few MB to bundles of GBs without spending a penny.
Some of these may seem obvious, such as moving photos and videos online, but did you know you can get unlimited FREE online storage, via the Google Photos app? Spring cleaning your remaining apps could also save you GBs, as could hunting down and deleting hidden downloads. As your mobile phone contract comes to the end of its minimum term, you're often hounded by your provider, which will try every trick in the book to get you to upgrade to a new handset — and lock in to a new tariff to pay for it.
It's easy to be lured by the promise of a 'great deal', free of the 'hassle' involved in finding a new contract and switching network. The sad fact is though that for most, you'll be paying over the odds if you fall into this trap. Instead, you're better off seeing what else is out there. That's not to say you can't get a competitive offer out of your current network though, particularly if you're happy to stick with your existing handset.
If you sign up for a contract, you're essentially committing to a phone company and often a handset too for the length of the contract. This means you must think carefully about your budget and if you can afford the ongoing monthly payments. Before you sign up to a contract, make sure you're happy to be locked in for the minimum term. If you want to leave early, it's likely you'll have to pay termination fees which cover the cost of the contract. Cheap Mobile Tips. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site.
It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements. We aim to look at all available products.
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Mortgage Best Buys Tool Compare mortgages and best deals on offer. The Demotivator Stops you spending when you can't afford it. Steve Brigden Edited by Gary Caffell. Facebook Twitter Print Whatsapp Mailme. In this guide. Top mobile need-to-knows, incl Switch with a text, and keep your number How to choose the right allowance Happy with your handset? Buying a new handset? Do it the cheapest way How to buy without paying interest Never just get a contract direct from the network. For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it.
Top mobile phone need-to-knows. Mobile 'text-to-switch' rules make switching far simpler.
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- Using a Cell Phone while Overseas in South Africa.
Here's what to do: Request a switching code by text. To get a new number, text 'STAC' to You need to give the switching code to your new provider within 30 days. You won't need to contact your old provider again.
I've got my PAC, what do I do now? It's a different process if you're swapping within the same provider If you're switching to a new tariff on the same network, for example if you're on pay-as-you-go and upgrading to a contract, you shouldn't need to carry out this process — just call your mobile provider's customer service helpline and they should be able to sort it.
Only pay for the allowance you need — use a tool to see past usage. Be sure you understand what 'unlimited' includes. Use free Wi-Fi spots to save on data costs. Add a spending cap to prevent unexpected costs. If you really need more, then consider switching to a different deal or speak to your network about upping your allowance if you'd prefer to stay put — this may cost, but it'll likely be cheaper than exceeding your limit.
Be aware that prices can rise with inflation each year. Out of contract? Haggle down your costs. Use a tool to check signal strength before signing up to a new deal. How good is the tool? What are my rights if I'm unhappy with my mobile coverage? Don't pay to unlock your phone — you can do it for free. Avoid roaming charges — don't get hit with a huge holiday bill. Happy with your handset? Switch to a cheap Sim only deal to cut your monthly costs. Choose Sim only for the cheapest deals, though you're often credit scored.
Choose a pay-as-you-go deal for no credit check or ties and to never go over your allowance. Do it the cheapest way.