How to – Get the best deal on your next contract and move without fuss

The first in a series of “How to” articles begins with the best way to get a good price on your next plan.

Now, let’s admit it, we’re creatures of habit. We usually get to the end of our contract and then we’ll call our current network to see what offers they’ve got. They might even call you. Either way, you’ll think they’re doing you some sort of brilliant loyalty deal, but in reality they’re probably not.

How to   Get the best deal on your next contract and move without fuss

When I left my previous network it was purely because I wasn’t getting signal in the office, however they continually called me, even after I’d cancelled my plan, to offer me better and better deal.

Should you just take it? Well, I wouldn’t. Not without doing a quick bit of research. After all, you’re in a good position

First, you need to hunt down a good deal. Try sites like Moneysupermarket where you can compare contract, pay as you go and SIM only deals to find the right mobile phone package for you. Remember, if you save just £5 per month that could be a £120 saving over the 2-year life of a contract.

Once you’ve done that, get as much money as you can for your old phone. This will help to make a dent in payments, especially if you are thinking of going SIM-only and need the cash towards your new handset. Head to our very our recycle comparison tool to find the best offer. You can also use the money to cover any costs in buying yourself out of a contract early if you want.

How to   Get the best deal on your next contract and move without fuss

OK, got that? Good. Now there’s two things you should do before you agree to anything..

1 – Are you happy with the coverage and service from your current provider?

Good, great. If you don’t want to leave, that’s fine, but look at competitors anyway. Check our MVNO’s (virtual operators) which use the same parent network as you’re already on too, as you could find them to be cheaper for the same handset.

Either way, get some alternative prices. Find a good offer with the right amount of minutes, texts and data for your needs. Don’t go too high or too low – concentrate on what you actually need and not the one with millions of minutes. Have the network, the offer and the terms of the deal written down ready for when you call your current network.

2 – Do you want to move to another network because there’s a better deal on?

Good, but first do your research. If you are at work, check with your colleagues to see what their signal is like. Which network performs best there? If you’re in college, Uni or school you can do the same. Plus, if you really want to test the coverage, you can get a Pay As You Go SIM from the local shop and try it out in the places you are most.

Sure, coverage maps are published on websites, but they’re never entirely accurate. This might sound like a bit of a “faff” but it’s pointless having the phone you want if the signal drops off when you get to work.

How to   Get the best deal on your next contract and move without fuss

Call your current network

OK, so either way you should now have a better deal that you want to go for. You’ve done a bit of looking and you know that you can get the handset you want with the minutes, texts and data you want for a certain price per month.

Now you’ve got to call your network, and this is where the wheels come off for many people – including me. In years past I’ve called (what was) Orange and asked for my PAC, but then the call centre person will transfer you to the “Retentions Team”. It’s their job to keep you as a customer. They really, really don’t want to let you go – it looks bad if people leave and some say that more loyal customers get better offers. Whatever happens they’ll make you believe you’re getting the best offer around, so have that research to hand to see whether it actually, really is.

How to   Get the best deal on your next contract and move without fuss

A few years ago I was transferred to the Retentions Team at Orange, and I got through to a young lady with a soft southern Irish accent. Immediately I crumbled, as she chatted about what a lovely day it was and how happy she was. Before I knew it I was asking her why, then we were talking about holidays and ….. I’D SIGNED UP AGAIN!! Agh! I’m weak. I’m just a weak, weak man.

Be strong. You’re going to have (probably) 2 years of payments going out. Total this up and it’s a lot of money. If you’re not happy with what you have and you’ve found a better alternative, stick to your guns. Demand that PAC. They’ll ask you why you’re leaving and they’ll want to know what deal you have. They’ll extol the virtues of their network, the 4G, the added value offers and will probably mention how their coverage is better, or how many “free” minutes you’re getting as a valued customer, or the “special family plan” you’re on or something similar. Basically they’ll make it seem like it’s the worst decision you’re ever going to make, and that you’ll regret it.

Be strong.

Even if they do offer you a fantastic deal and you still push for the PAC, you can still call them back up and accept the deal if you wish. The PAC, if you don’t use it, runs out after a certain length of time, then you’ll basically carry on where you left off. You’ll have to call up for another one. So don’t worry if you call up, all ready for a “fight” and the network simply chucks it at you without fuss. You can still choose to carry on with your current package and it doesn’t automatically cancel your plan. PACs usually get issued immediately over the phone or over a text within 2 hours.

I’ve done it! I’ve got my PAC!

You’re still going to be paying for your old contract until you use that PAC, so now is the time to take up that fantastic new offer you found. When you buy the phone and sign up to the package you’ll receive a new number, so once you’ve got your handset and you’re happy with it and the coverage, call up your new network and give them your PAC. Some networks have web pages to let you do this online, others will need a phone call. Either way it’s a fairly painless experience and you’ll then find that your old number is transferred to the new network.

Wait! I’ve read all this but I want to disconnect before my contract ends

Some networks have now started splitting the airtime cost (for texts, minutes, data) and the handset cost. However, for many there can still be a disconnection fee to pay if you want to end your contract early.

If you’re a few weeks away from the end of your deal then your network may offer to cover this and it’ll usually be another one of their “tricks” to get you to stay with them for another contract. This will probably be offered by the retentions team.

Usually, if you’re on a contract costing £30 per month and you’re two months from the end, you’ll need to pay £60 to exit. It’s best to waiting until you’re closer to the end of your contract, however it’s also worth trading in your phone and getting an evaluation ahead of time. If your phone is worth £120 then you could off-load it and potentially leave your existing contract 4 months early.
Asking your network to reduce your line rental or removing any chargeable services like internet or extra texts from your account (this won’t always be possible, please speak to your network for more info).