Phone mast against a colourful sky

5 Things to Consider when Switching Mobile Phone Networks

If you weren’t happy with your washing powder, you’d probably try a new brand. Bored of your morning cereal? Chances are you’d start looking for a new one. Mobile phones have become an everyday part of our lives too, so if you’re not happy with your current deal, it make sense to shop around. If you’re considering switching networks, make sure you keep our top tips in mind.

1. Signal

There are few things more frustrating than bad mobile signal. Whether you’re attempting to send an important work email, or just trying to post that witty Facebook status, no one wants to be practising phone yoga simply because their network is unreliable.

Communications regulator, Ofcom, clearly agreed. They launched a really handy new tool last month which allows you to check the predicted coverage for mobile voice and data for each of the UK mobile network operators. Users can zoom to a specific location on a UK map, or simply enter a place name or postcode, to receive data on coverage for each mobile network – down to 100 square meters. It’s even colour coded, with green demonstrating the highest likely coverage and red the lowest. As well as your home, we’d recommend checking where you work too.

It’s also a useful tool if you’re planning to move home and you want to check that your potential new property has good coverage.

2. Contract

When you’re in the early stages of considering a network jump, it’s important to think about the type of contract that best suits you. Choosing between a monthly bill or a pay as you go plan are the most obvious choices, but you can also get SIM only deals. These are ideal if you don’t want to commit to a longer contract straight away or you’re waiting for a specific handset to come out.

Think about how often you use your phone, and how you prefer to manage your finances. For many people, a standard monthly contract will work out much cheaper, however if you don’t tend to use your device much, a pay as you go deal might suit you better.

3. Usage

When you’re considering changing supplier, take a bit of time to look at how many minutes and texts you use each month. There’s a good chance you use more than you think you do!

It’s also important to think about how frequently you use the internet and what for. If you just like to check your emails occasionally, or keep on top of the football scores on a Saturday afternoon, chances are you don’t get through much data. If on the other hand you’re often streaming videos, you’ll need to make sure you don’t leave yourself short.

4. Current terms and conditions

If you’ve got a good idea of the network you’d like to switch to, then always make sure you have the right to cancel your existing contract first. Sometimes what can seem like a cheaper deal, can suddenly cost you a fortune in cancellation fees. If your fees are particularly high, it’s often worth waiting your contract out.

If it’s just an issue of money, yet you’re happy with the actual service your network provides, it could be worth talking to them and seeing what they can offer you. It’s much more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, so if they think they can save your business by offering a compromise, they may well do it.

Now is also a good time to think about whether you want to keep your current phone number. If you do wish to keep it, you’ll need to apply for your new contract before your current one expires, as networks cannot transfer deactivated numbers.

5. Insure it

When signing a new mobile phone contract, you will almost always be encouraged (if not pushed) into buying insurance from your network’s own policy. You may also be made to feel like you have to make the decision there and then. This is not the case. Take your time to look around and find the best option for your budget and lifestyle!

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