UK mobile users waste £5billion per year

10 April 2012

"No, YOU'RE on the wrong tariff!"

We're a wasteful bunch, us mobile phone users. According to findings from comparison site Bill Monitor (or William Monitor to his mum), UK mobile phone users are throwing away £5 billion a year by being on the wrong tariff.

Billy M reckons that there's over seven million mobile phone deals on the market and each person who is on the wrong one is losing an average of £194 year. In addition to this, 21 per cent of mobile owners are regularly exceeding their monthly limits, which results in penalty charges of between £5 and £40. If you think about the three quarters using smartphones to browse the internet, extra charges for data allowance start adding to an already toweringly high number of people throwing their money away thanks to their phone.

The report says that mobile users are doling out £173 million in additional data allowance charges every year, and for the most part, this is because consumers have no idea how much data they're allowed to use each month. If you're constantly checking your Facebook account or Twitter, chances are you've no notion of how much date they're using, especially as they're using up data when running in the background.

The Carphone Warehouse commissioned the research to try and convince people that they're trying to help and not in fact creaming us all on these wasted pennies and pounds. What they're saying is that they plan to help customers cut wastage by matching them up to better contracts.

Andrew Harrison, CEO of Carphone Warehouse Europe and the Geek Squad, said: “We’ll compare every network and phone combination and give independent advice on which deal is best. The cost of data charges is a growing issue and this is only going to increase as more people convert to smartphones."

How altruistic.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile


  • iPhone c.
    I don't care, I've have to use my iPhone. I sold my right kidney and remortgaged my house for my iPhone, I need people to like me!
  • Mike H.
    I bet that's just the iPhone owners, they have plenty of credit and benefits though.
  • Boris
    After accidently overhearing a wide range of pointless dross while out mixing with the common folk I can say that far, far more than five billion pounds is being wasted.
  • LeftDinglyDangly
    I must have seen this same story 10 times in the last 2 years. Its just a ruse to get attention for a comparison site. 2 mins on google it and you'll see the same "report" over and over again. People spend too much money on phones blah blah blah reports this comparison site. Promotional press release that countless sites fall for. Also bill monitor is pants there are much better comparison sites out there which will save you more when you put in the same criteria, ofrom recommended or not. Try for yourself, I did.
  • Jeremy
    Why would you want your phone to be mobile? If the bastards want me, they'll have to wait until I'm at home and in a mood to receive callers.
  • Red K.
    Mobile phones are quite harmful to Silurana.
  • Boris
    @red ken They most certainly are; I've just wacked a few with my iPhone 5gx and all of the little tykes are 'somewhat distressed'. I recommend using a hammer instead of a phone though; it's hard to get the ooze out of the headphone socket.
  • Wynne E.
    I recommend you have a look on GO COMPAAAAARRRRE........ GO COMPAAAAARRRRE...... I am a fucking twat GO COMPAAAARRRE.......
  • Michael
    Isn't part of this "wasted cash" more to do with the fact that phone contracts are basically just expensive hire purchase agreements? "Have this "free" phone sir, just commit to giving us £800 over the course of the next two years." It's no different to Brighthouse selling you a TV for £5 a week for 300 weeks - yet mobile networks get nowhere near the same level of vilification.
  • Why M.
    [...] Via Bitter Wallet [...]
  • Alex B.
    My approach is to compare work out the monthly cost using this formula: ((upfront handset cost + (monthly cost * contract length)) - SIM free handset cost)/contract length to get an effective monthly price for the airtime (minutes, SMS, data). I'm currently paying 40 + (£21.18 * 22) = £505.96 for an SGS2 with 300 mins, unlimited SMS, 500MB data (I renewed a month early, and will be able to again, making the effective contract 22 months). The lowest SIM free cost of an SGS2 is £379.43 from Oyyy, making my effective airtime cost (£505.96-£379.43)/22=£126.53/22=£5.75 per month. I was spending more than that on 2 SMS per day on Orange PAYG! My other tip is to work out the breakeven points from one contract to the next up. For example, T-Mobile charge £10.50 per month for 50 mins, 250 SMS, 250MB data. The next comparable plan up is £15.50 per month for 100 mins, unlimited SMS, 250MB data. Out of plan calls are 40p per minute, and out of plan SMS are 15p each, so that extra £5 represents £5/£0.40=12.5 minutes or £5/£0.15=33 texts. If I think there's the possibility I'll *regularly* go over the 50 min/250 SMS limits of the cheaper plan by those amounts, it's probably worth taking the more generous contract. Most networks allow you to upgrade your monthly contract during the term, so at the very least, you should monitor your monthly spend and see if this is worth doing. It's worth trying to get it right when you commence the contract, though, as upgrading mid-term will effectively mean that you've paid a higher upfront cost for the handset (or got a cheaper handset) that you would have needed to if you'd have gone for the more generous contract from the start.

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