How to lower your mobile phone bill in seven easy steps

Mobile phone bills are an essential cost, but you shouldn’t overpay for your mobile. Here’s how to lower your mobile bill and save money.

Millions of households are feeling financially squeezed thanks to rising costs. But knowing  how to lower your mobile phone bill is one way to help reduce monthly outgoings and make your income go further.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to lower your mobile phone bill. Keeping hold of your old handset and getting a good SIM only deal is an obvious one. Another is that you can get a cheaper deal with a social tariff if you’re on Universal Credit.

Catherine Hiley, deputy editor at Look After My Bills, says: “Mobile phone bills are something that many of us may be overpaying for – either by being stuck in an expensive contract or by not keeping an eye on usage and spending. If you’re currently struggling to keep on top of your outgoings and budget as prices rise, your mobile phone bill is definitely something to look at.” 

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Seven ways to lower your mobile phone bill

It’s easy to reduce the amount you’re spending on your mobile phone bill by following the steps below:

1. Look for a new deal

Most mobile phone contracts run for 12, 18 or 24 months. If that time has passed, you’re free to look for a better deal without facing early exit fees. Shop around using our mobile comparison tool.

2. Consider SIM only

If you’re happy with your existing mobile handset, a SIM only deal will be cheaper than a pay monthly contract. Many deals are on a one-month rolling contract, which means you can chop and change whenever you want to. Alternatively, if you don’t use your phone regularly, you could switch to a pay as you go (PAYG) deal instead.

3. Negotiate or move on

Before switching deals, try haggling with your existing provider. They might be able to match – or even beat – better deals you’ve seen elsewhere. By spending as little as five minutes on the phone to your provider, you could save hundreds of pounds.

Just make sure you do your research before you call. That way, you can tell your provider what other deals are available. And you’ll be able to tell if you’re being offered a competitive deal.

4. Only pay for what you need

Consider exactly how much data, minutes and texts you really need to be sure you have the best deal for you. To do this, check your actual usage via your online account or through your phone’s settings so you know how much you need per month.

Some contracts come with unlimited data packages and these are usually the most expensive, so make sure you’re not paying for this if you don’t need it.

5. Consider the perks

Some mobile phone providers offer added perks, so check whether or not these could save you money.

With Sky Mobile, for example, unused data is rolled over into your Sky Piggybank which can be used to top up data later on or cashed in for rewards. O2 offers new and upgrading customers up to six months’ free Disney Plus, while Three offers exclusive deals at places like Cineworld and Uber Eats.

6. Use a spending cap

If you regularly go over your allowances and get charged extra, ask your provider to set a spending cap. This means you can only use data or minutes up to a certain amount before it stops you from using any more.

7. Weigh up phone insurance

If you’re paying for mobile phone insurance, consider whether you really need it. You might already have cover under your home contents insurance policy or a packaged bank account, so make sure you’re not paying twice.

Can I get a social tariff for my mobile phone?

You could get a special rate by getting on a social broadband tariff or a social mobile tariff. These are deals offered at a reduced rate for low-income households. Anyone on Universal Credit can apply, while customers on other benefits – such as Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support or Pension Credit – may also be eligible.

Sometimes also known as Basics or Essential deals, there are a number of mobile phone networks currently offering social tariffs, including EE, VOXI and SMARTY.

What's the average mobile phone bill?

For a handset and SIM combined, the average monthly contract price is £35.42, according to Uswitch’s 2023 consumer insight data. But how much you pay will depend on the type of phone you have, the type of deal, how much data you require and so on.

Am I paying too much for my mobile phone bill?

If your monthly mobile phone bill is a stretch, chances are you’re paying too much for it. With SIM only deals often costing as little as £5 a month (and one LycaMobile deal costing just 99p a month), it’s easy to cut costs and make your bill more manageable if you’re out of contract. 

Ofcom rules mean that mobile phone providers must send customers alerts when their mobile contract is coming to an end and inform them of their options.

“These alerts must tell you the price you pay now, what that will change to and importantly, the best deal available to you,” says an Ofcom spokesperson. “With these details, you have all the information you need to avoid paying more than you need to – whether you take up a new deal with your current provider, or think it’s time to switch.”