Man sitting at a table holding his mobile phone and mobile phone bill

Seven tips to help cut the cost of your mobile phone

There are plenty of ways you can reduce the amount you spend on your mobile phone contract - Switcher.ie has all of the tips and tricks!

If you are one of the many people who opt for the traditional mobile phone contract, which usually includes a brand new handset bundled with calls, minutes and texts, you would probably be surprised to know that this often isn’t the cheapest way to go about it. Although some of these traditional plans do offer good value, there are other ways you can cut back on your mobile phone spend to make sure you’re saving as much as possible.

1. Look at SIM-only or PAYG options

For many contracts, the most expensive part of your monthly bill is the repayments on your handset. In light of this, it might be worth thinking about whether you need a new handset when it comes time to renew your phone contract. If you’re happy with the handset you have, you can choose a SIM-only deal which means you only pay for your calls, texts and data.

You can also opt for a PAYG (pay as you go) SIM which helps you control how much you pay even more. The PAYG option allows you to purchase/top up credit in advance before you start using the service . However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you run out of credit you won’t be able to use your calls, texts and data until you top up again.

Compare SIM-only plans now

2. Work out how much data you actually need

Being connected on the go, all the time, is something many of us can’t live without - but did you know you could be wasting money by paying for data you never use? There’s no need to pay for 12GB of data per month if you’re only using 6GB a month. Before you sign up to a contract or get a new SIM-only deal, check what your average data usage is per month.

That way you can choose a plan that caters to your needs and stop paying for data you’re not actually using. If you’re already in contract or on a SIM-only deal it might be worth talking to your provider to see if they can reduce your data limit and cost.

You can usually find your monthly usage on your mobile phone bill, your online account or by going into the settings on your handset.

3. Research before you upgrade

When your contract comes to an end you’ll often be contacted by your current provider offering an upgrade to a new handset. If you’re looking to move on from your current handset, it might seem easier to just accept the upgrade and move on. However, chances are your likely to pay over the odds for the upgrade.

When your provider offers you the upgrade, it’s a good idea to do some research first to see if you can get the same (or similar) handset and a similar plan a bit cheaper from a different supplier.

If you’re happy with the new handset you’re being offered, and want to stay with your current provider, it’s always worthwhile talking to your provider to see if you can negotiate a better deal on your plan.

If you can’t get your hands on a better price it’s always worth checking what deals you can get with a different provider, which could save you money. Some of the best-value SIM-only deals on the market at the moment are outlined in the table below:

NetworkPlan OverviewPrice
Virgin Mobile
Unlimited
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
Save €25
FREE Per month
for 1 months, €25 thereafter.
+ 4G
+ Uses Three's Network

+ EU Roaming Included

+ Save €25

Lycamobile
Ireland Plus
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
50GB Data
€15 Per month
+ EU Roaming Included

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Tesco Mobile
Unlimited 30 Day 20GB
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
20GB Data
€25 Per month
+ Uses Three's Network

+ Double Clubcard points

Tesco Mobile gives you double Clubcard points when your pay your phone bill.

+ EU Roaming

EU Roaming is included. Use your minutes and texts while roaming plus 6.8GB of roaming data

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Three
Unlimited Flex Max SIM Only
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
€30 Per month
+ 4G
+ EU Roaming Data

11GB of EU roaming data

+ All You Can Eat data*

* Direct debit required. Fair usage policy of 10,000 flexi-units per billing cycle for calls and texts. All you can eat data for use in ROI only. Registration required for 3plus.

+ Unlimited Flexi Units

Flexi Unit = 1 minute call or 2 text messages

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

eir mobile
eir mobile connect 30 Day
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
30GB Data
Save €90
€14.99 Per month
for 6 months, €29.99 thereafter.
+ 4G
+ EU Roaming

Your call, text and data allowances can be used while roaming in the EU

+ eir Wi-Fi calling

Plan is Wi-Fi calling enabled

+ Save €90

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Virgin Mobile
2GB
30 days Contract
250 Minutes
250 Texts
2GB Data
€15 Per month
+ 4G
+ EU Roaming Included

+ Uses Three's Network

4. Newest isn’t always the best value

If you do want a new handset it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to go with the latest model. If you’re heart isn’t set on having the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy you can opt for a model that was released 6 months, a year or two years ago which will bring down the cost of your bill compared to paying off the latest release handset.

5. Contact your provider when your deal ends

When you come to the end of your contract it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll automatically stop paying off your handset if your plan rolls over. If you want to keep your current handset but stay on the same plan, make a note in your calendar to call your provider when your contract is coming to an end to talk through your options - this will make sure you aren’t continuing to pay off the cost of your phone after the contract ends. If you’re not happy with what you current provider is offering, you are always free to switch without penalty once you have reached your minimum term.

6. Don’t upgrade for more storage

If you’re a snap-happy user or you have a lot of apps and content on your phone you will probably know the frustration of running out of storage space on your handset. When this happens many people decide to upgrade their phone to get more storage space, which can often be an expensive exercise.

If you’re still happy with your handset, but just need that bit of extra space, don’t spend hundreds of Euro on a new phone - buy yourself an external memory card to boost your storage space. Depending on how much extra storage you need, external memory cards can be very cost effective and definitely cheaper than buying a new handset. If you don’t want to get an external memory card you can always upload your files to a free cloud service such as Dropbox to free up space on your phone.

7. Split the cost of your handset and your plan

It’s important to understand how much you are paying each month towards the cost of your handset. This will help you work out how much you should be paying when your minimum terms comes to an end and you no longer need to pay off the handset. If you’re unsure how much of your bill goes towards paying for the cost of you handset make sure you ask your provider and make a note for when you’re rolled over after your contract ends.

Virgin Mobile have made this easier to do with their Freestyle contracts - which separate the cost of your handset and plan on your monthly bill so you can clearly see how much you are paying for each element. It also allows you to pay off your handset early if you wish or change you plan to include more or less data, texts and calls if you decide that’s what you need.