Step 1 – Pick a handset
Before you start comparing deals willy nilly make sure you know precisely which smartphone you want.
Just like buying a new car, if you walk into the dealership without knowing the exact make and model you want (plus a target price), you’re leaving yourself open to at best wasting time and at worst making the wrong choice.
We recommend picking two or three smartphones that take your fancy, then narrow it down to your top choice by looking into some reviews. YouTube is easily the best place for this with channels like MKBHD, MrMobile and Linus Tech Tips offering hands-on reviews that give you a real feel for the device. You should also take a quick look at Reddit and the various mobile forums to gauge existing user feedback and spot any inherent faults on the smartphones you have in mind.
Step 2 – Figure out your monthly usage requirements.
Once you have a firm idea of the phone you want, it’s time to make a note of the number of minutes, texts and data you will likely use each month.
Assuming you already have a phone with a monthly bill, this is quickly done by looking at your last few statements and averaging the minutes, texts and data you have used each month. Make a note of these in a spreadsheet. We recommend putting them in a range, e.g. if from your last six phone bills you have used on average 250 minutes, 300 texts and 2.2GB data per month set them like this:
- Minutes: 250 - 600
- Texts: 300 – 1000
- Data: 2GB – 4GB
In the example above, 2GB data would be the minimum you’d need in a contract. At that level, you’re probably going to be ok most months but may go over occasionally. 4GB is likely more than you’ll need, but at least you’re covered. The sweet spot for you will be somewhere in between.
The reason you don’t want precise usage numbers is due to the disparity in pricing across mobile phone deals. With so many providers and offers changing frequently, you are going to encounter deals with Unlimited Minutes that are cheaper than ones with 600. So don’t limit yourself to only looking at offers that come with precisely the minutes, texts or data you require. Minutes and text messages are becoming more and more obsolete for determining contract pricing with gigabytes of data dictating monthly price.
Step 3 – Decide on Pay Monthly Contract or SIM Only
The next step is to figure out whether buying the phone outright and pairing it with a SIM only deal is going to be more cost-effective than taking on a 24-month contract that gives you the phone with no upfront fee or a nominal payment.
Generally speaking, buying the device outright is going to be cheaper in the long run than paying a monthly bill that factors in handset repayments over 24 months. But depending on the phone you want, you will find plenty of deals out there where a 24-month contract works out cheaper.
To make this comparison, you’ll need to do three things:
1. The best price can you find for the phone you want outright. Check Amazon, our SIM free deals list, eBay and the manufacturer’s recommend resellers for this to see the best price.
2. The cheapest SIM only deal that meets your monthly requirements. For this, you can use our sim only comparison tool using your usage ranges to find the cheapest sim only plan that fits your needs.
3. Plug the numbers into our Contract vs SIM Only calculator, and you’ll get an instant breakdown of costs involved and which works out cheaper over 12, 18 or 24 months. You can then choose which works better for you. We aren’t financial advisors, but our approach is always that if you can’t afford to buy the phone outright, then you shouldn’t take that same device out on a 24-month contract either. If you’re unsure of what the savviest decision will be, we recommend posing the question on the UK Personal Finance sub-Reddit where you’ll get a number of well-reasoned answers.
Step 4 – Find the right deal.
You have picked the smartphone you want and decided if you’re going to take out a contract that comes with the device, or go SIM only and buy the phone separately. Whichever you have picked the process for finding a deal is mostly the same:
Pick the phone you want in our handset drop-down box (or use our SIM only comparison page), and you will see the latest deals on offer. We update them daily, so you always have access to the freshest prices currently available.
You can then use our filters to see deals that fit into your usage requirement ranges. Then sort by the monthly cost to see the cheapest.
Using only those filters, you’ll see deals for every single UK network provider such as O2, Vodafone, EE and Three. The reason we haven’t included choosing a network in one of the steps is that in 2018 we don’t think it makes that much difference. Coverage is mostly consistent across all the main players and porting your existing number from one network to another is simple should you wish to change when taking out a new deal.
If you have a preference for a network, e.g. because your number is already with them or you think their coverage is better in your area, you can use the network filter to only show deals on that specific mobile network.
With the usage filters set, you can then choose the deal that works best for you. Adding further filters for the upfront cost, contract length and monthly cost if you so wish. Our deals engine is easy to use, so you will be able to see what’s best for you.
Things to be aware of:
You’ll see many cashback deals on our site; this is where the retailer offers cashback for taking out the deal, either as a lump sum once you take out the contract, or by redemption which means you have to submit your bills at regular intervals to claim cashback in stages. You can filter our deals to show all cashback deals, instant cashback only, redemption only or exclude them entirely.
Our site also lists offers on refurbished phones. The term refurbished refers to a pre-owned handset that has been sent back due to a fault and repaired for resale.
However, not all refurbished phones are used. Many retailers and networks classify ‘refurbished phones’ as handsets that were returned by customers who changed their mind within the 14-day cooling-off period after they signed up for a contract.
Before being put on sale, all refurbished phones have been thoroughly checked and tested to ensure they’re in full working order. Whether you choose one boils down to personal preference, but we’ve tested refurbished devices hands on and have no qualms whatsoever about buying one. In our experience, you’re getting mint condition phone at a lower price. If you wish to exclude refurbished phones, you can do so with a filter on our deals section.
Got any questions about sourcing a new mobile phone contract? Contact us for nonsense advice.
Our business is simple – we help you find the best mobile phone deals possible. We compare exclusive, market-leading mobile phone deals across every UK network. Learn more about us below.
Tiger Mobiles is the one stop shop for excellent mobile phone deals. Whether you're looking for a new handset, a new SIM only contract, or a combination of the two, we've got all you need to know, and we make shopping dead easy.
Why choose us? Let's break it down for you: we've got over a million deals, we're independently owned and operated, we're chock full of phone reviews, and we've even got a handy advice section. An iPhone fan? Then you'll be glad to know that we specialise in fantastic iPhone deals just for you.
Whatever you're looking for on the mobile market, we've got you covered to make sure that you get the best deal for the best price. We'd like to say it pays to shop with Tiger Mobiles, but actually, it saves to buy with us.
Over a Million Deals
Yep, you read that right, over one million deals to choose from, some of them unique to our site. Finding something that fits your needs to a tee is easy when there are so many options, and we update our deals every single day. Why limit yourself to just one or two networks? With Tiger Mobiles you get all the offers from all the UK mobile networks, all in one handy place. You'd think that would make shopping confusing but wait...
Easy to Use Comparison Tool
Thanks to our easy to use comparison tool you'll be able to narrow that huge selection of deals down to just those that you might be interested in. Only want deals with unlimited texts? Or maybe you only want contracts that have 4G, or you're only interested in Samsung phones on the o2 network, or the newest iPhone. By using our comparison tool you make sure that you get to see the deals that concern you, and comparing between networks means you always get the cheapest price. Simple, right?
All Our Phones Reviewed
And if you're not sure how to narrow down your choices by phone model, then fear not! We independently review all the major phone models so that you know exactly what you're getting for your money. No, seriously, every phone available to compare on Tiger Mobiles gets a full, in-depth review. So if you're thinking about investing in a new handset, all you need to do is check out our unbiased reviews to know precisely what you're paying for.
For iPhone Lovers!
Let's face it; iPhones are seriously popular and seriously expensive. Getting your hands on a new, top of the line iOS device doesn't come cheap. But if you're looking to get that new iPhone as cheaply as possible, then you've come to the right place, because we specialise in iPhone deals. That's right, all the best iPhone deals, all in one place. Choose the iPhone model you want, compare network prices, and you'll be sure to save yourself tonnes of cash!
Independently Owned and Operated
Why does it matter that we're independent? Because that means that we don't get paid by any phone manufacturers, meaning that we're free to recommend what we like. A recommendation from us comes straight from our vast experience with mobiles, rather than because someone is paying us to say it.
Got a Problem?
We'd love to say that life is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong, but when you're working with technology, that's simply not true. That's why we've put together a comprehensive advice section on our site where you can get the low down on what to do in all kinds of circumstances. From avoiding scams to what to do if your new mobile is faulty, we'll take you by the hand and lead you step by step through what can be a complicated process. We're here to help, and we're only a click away because we want you to have the best mobile experience possible.
We've Got You Covered
With all the deals you could ask for, and all the information you need to make sure that you're making a great buying decision, we think that we've got all your mobile shopping needs covered. We're no-nonsense, down to earth, and we don't give you the hard sell. We've already helped thousands of UK customers make great mobile decisions, and we're here for you whenever you're ready to start shopping. Ready right now? Then head over to our comparison tool to get started! Oh, and if there's something you need, don't hesitate to send us a message and we'll get right back to you with some answers!