On average once you have selected your handset and/or sim card it takes less then 5 minutes to complete your application
Select your handset, choose your network, decide on sim plan. 3 easy steps and like magic you are all done.
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There are quite a few things to take into account when purchasing a new phone. But the main things to consider are the following:
If you are looking for a brand new phone then you have two options; you can get a new phone by taking out a new pay-monthly contract, or you can purchase the phone outright and get a SIM separately.
Pay monthly contracts
Pay monthly contracts allow you to spread the cost of buying a phone over a set period of time, usually between 12 and 24 months. During this period you will be provided with a pre-determined amount of minutes, texts, and data each month.
Purchasing a phone upfront
If you decide you want to purchase your phone and then take out a SIM separately, you will usually have a lot more choice and freedom, and pay less overall. It does come with its downsides though.
Choosing a Network
There are four mobile phone carriers in the UK — EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone — offering mobile and data services. Your device will ultimately connect to one of these four networks, but they’re not your only options when it comes to finding a mobile contract.
There are many, often cheaper, networks out there that are usually referred to as MVNOs, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. There are around 60 of these in the UK and they include Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, Plusnet Mobile (all EE); giffgaff (O2); and ID Mobile (Three).
MVNOs lease mobile telephone and data spectrum from the major networks. They can offer you the service of one of the major providers at a lower cost, but are usually given less priority to main phone carrier customers; this means that if the network becomes saturated in a specific area, then MVNO customer services will suffer at the expense of main carrier customers. Be aware of this if you live in a major city or regularly go to major events with thousands of people!
Whoever you decide to go with, we recommend you investigate the following first:
Is there network available in my area?
In terms of 3G and 4G, the most commonly used wavelengths for mobile phone traffic, the main four operators cover most of the UK:
4G is generally much quicker and reliable than 3G, so we’d recommend picking a provider that offers coverage where you live.
If you are unsure whether a provider offers good coverage in your area or not, we recommend you check the provider’s coverage checker first. You can check this here : https://www.signalchecker.co.uk/
How much data do you need?
A pay monthly contract can come with a range of different data limits, from as little as 1GB to as much as 100GB or even unlimited data.
Everyone is different when it comes to using their mobile, so the amount of data you need when taking out a phone contract is very personal to you.
It goes without saying that the more data you use, the more expensive your mobile phone contract will be, and considering many contracts can last for 18 or 24 months it is important to get this correct.
Most providers will allow you to check your previous / current monthly data usage, so we would recommend you first do this and see how much data you use(d) on your current (previous) phone.
If you cannot access this information, after you take out a contract most carriers will allow you to add on extra data each month should you require it. However, this will almost certainly be more expensive than if you were to go for a higher data allowance when you started your pay monthly deal.
For more info, read our guide on how much data do you need.
How many minutes & texts do you need?
Most mobile deals now come with unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.
This is not a rule though; with more budget leaning contracts you may be provided with a limited number of minutes or text.
What about roaming?
If you like to travel but stay connected whilst away, you should consider any data roaming charges you may incur with any provider.
Luckily, it shouldn’t cost you extra to use your phone in the EU these days, but taking it further afield can result in hefty charges if you don’t have the right plan in place.
For more information, take a look at our guide on data roaming charges.
Does the network offer any exclusives extras?
As the competition for customers is so great amongst the UK’s networks, they often offer exclusive extras in order to entice customers to their service. Some of these extras include: