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Mobile phones have become a vital tool for modern life

We use them to text and call friends and family, send emails, watch TV, read the news, order taxis and takeaways and stream music.

Finding the best mobile phone deal for you is, then, pretty important.

But comparing mobile plans can be confusing, especially since broadband suppliers started bundling packages to include TV, landline and mobiles.

If you don't know your SIM-only deals from a new handset contract offer, you could end with the wrong plan.

The deal you need will depend on how you use your phone.

Choosing a mobile phone and network deal when you're elderly, for example, is different than if you're a young parent or a teenager.

That's where we'd like to help.

Whether you're looking for the best iPhone 7 offers or a Sky mobile deal, do your homework before you buy.

Why should I compare mobile phone deals on A Spokesman Said?

Our free mobiles comparison tool lets you compare over 1 million deals on the latest mobile phones.

See how Virgin Media mobile tariffs stack up on minutes, texts, internet allowance and monthly cost when compared with contract and SIM-only deals from networks like BT, O2, EE, GiffGaff, Vodafone and Tesco Mobile.

Compare the latest handsets, such as Apple's iPhone 7, Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Motorola's Moto G5.

You can tailor the search to your needs.

Set your monthly cost from between £2.50 or £30, choose between 500MB or unlimited internet, 200 minutes or unlimited calls, at least 250 or unlimited texts and a one month, six month or year-long contract.

Comparing mobile phone deals will, in a nutshell, help you find the right deal, at the right price.

Latest mobile phones 2017

Regularly checking A Spokesman Said's mobile comparison page will help you stay up to date with the latest mobile phone deals this year as and when they hit the market.

With the latest iPhone, Android, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel and Motorola handsets hitting the market this year, phone buffs are scrambling to find the latest deal.

Make sure you don't miss out by using our free mobiles comparison tool to find a contract or SIM-only deal on the latest models.

What's the difference between a SIM-only deal and a contract?

Mobile phone contract

Typically, a contract will let you get a brand-new handset, with a SIM included. You pay monthly for a set contract length.

SIM-only deal

You'll still get an allowance of data, texts and calls, but the monthly cost will be lower because you're not paying for the handset as well. Some SIM-only deals let you sign up for just 30 days at a time. SIM-only deals are available as pay monthly and pay as you go. You could, of course, buy your phone outright and then sign up to a SIM-only plan to get a mobile tariff. It will be most to pay upfront but less per month.

OK, so should I get SIM-only deal or a contract?

A SIM-only mobile deal can be handy, if your current contract has run out and you want to keep the handset you already have because it gives you the freedom to do so and change the tariff you're on.

It gives you the flexibility to compare prices for minutes, text or data allowance, but your phone will only be compatible with certain SIMs.

If your phone is tied in to a certain network, you'll have to unlock your phone as well.

To leave a contract early, you will to pay off the remainder of your contract and an exit fee.

To summarise:

Pros of SIM-only

  • Lower monthly bills
  • More flexibility – you can choose when you change your allowance and handset
  • No need for a credit check to sign up

Pros of mobile contracts

  • Little or no upfront fee
  • Get the latest handsets immediately without needing to pay a lot upfront
  • Costs are spread out across 6, 12 or 24 months
  • Offered upgrades on your phone by your provider

What about a pay-as-you-go mobile deal?

Another alternative is a pay-as-you-go mobile deal.

This means you aren't tried to a contact and can top up your credit – giving you texts, minutes and data – when you want.

It gives you greater flexibility and, if you don't use your phone a lot, it could save you money. You can also stay on top of your spend and don't need a credit check, as you do with monthly contracts.

But high phone users should steer clear as it's likely to be more expensive.

Different types of mobile phone tariffs

Which tariff you choose should be dictated by how you use your phone. Here's what you might like to consider:

Data

How much content (music, videos) or information (internet pages, for example) do you need to access every month? If you're heavy internet user on your phone, consider contracts offering at least 5GB a month. A heavy user is someone who streams music and video regularly, checks emails, uses maps and uses apps such as Uber.

4G v 3G

High internet users should also check for the best new 4G phones. 4G gives far faster internet than 3G, but will cost a bit more.

Contract length

Typical contracts last 18 to 24 months. A longer contract may give you a lower monthly cost and a lower upfront payment for the handset, but if you want to upgrade regularly then you may want a shorter plan.

Minutes

How much call time you get. Some tariffs, such as those offered by GiffGaff for example, may offer free calls to others on the same network. Others may offer bonus deals for companies. As mobile phone use changes, and customers increasingly use data-heavy apps such as FaceTime to make calls, you might want to weigh up minutes v data when choosing a deal.

Texts

Same as minutes, but for texts. Most deals will offer a certain number of free texts a month.

You might want to consider which tariff offers the best mobile phone coverage by postcode, particularly if you live in the countryside or struggle to get mobile signal at home.

Different types of mobile phone handset

The choices don't end with tariff or contract type.

There's also a wide variety of handsets available, from Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S8 to Sony or HTC mobile phones and Nokia handsets.

Whether it's EE mobile, Samsung mobile or Tesco mobile, or another provider, make sure you have the right handset for you.

The basic choice falls between a basic handset and a smartphone.

If you're not a user of apps, pictures or the internet, a more basic phone might be right for you. They will do the bare bones: calls, texts, alarm clocks and a calculator.

But for more sophisticated phone users, the smartphone is the increasingly popular choice.

Once you have decided on the smartphone, you will then need to choose between an Android, Windows Phone or Apple operating system. If you already have a number of Apple products, for example, an iPhone operating on an Apple operating system may be a sensible choice.

When choosing a handset, consider: size; battery life; screen quality and camera quality.

Can I keep my phone number when I switch mobiles?

Yes, all you need to do is get a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code) from your existing provider. Pass over the PAC code to your new mobile provider and they can transfer your number.

Mobile phone deals with free gifts

Lastly, make sure you check for any free gifts on offer from mobile providers to try and tempt you in.

For example, A Spokesman Said is currently offering a 12-month contract with BT, with 400 minutes, unlimited texts, 500MB of internet and…a £10 gift card.

It's also possible to get a better mobile deal using these three easy steps.

Make a complaint about your mobile phone provider

We're not just here to help you find a great deal.

We want to help fight your corner when things go wrong.

Using our free tool you can make a complaint about your mobile phone provider.

Whether you're confused by unexpected charges on your mobile phone bill, you've been billed incorrectly, your signal keeps cutting out, your internet won't load, your battery drains too quickly, your phone is broken, you've been charged unfairly for overseas calls or data, your monthly bill has been hiked mid-contract or customer service is dreadful, we're in your corner.

A Spokesman Said is price comparison that fights for you.