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This article was published on August 30, 2011

8 ways to save money on your mobile phone bill

8 ways to save money on your mobile phone bill
Matt Brian
Story by

Matt Brian

Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him on Google+.

As smartphone vendors and mobile operators continue to push the latest smartphone and tablet devices, companies are doing their upmost to secure extra revenues from their customers as they push value-added services and branded products.

As a result, the consumer is facing limits on internet usage, calling minutes and text messaging, as app developers start enabling in-app payments to extract money from their customers – put simply, mobile revenues are booming and you – the consumer – are helping it grow (not that it’s a bad thing).

However, there are ways to save money when using your mobile. Allow us to list ten of the easiest ways to do just that.

1. Download Onavo

Onavo is an iPhone and Android application that compresses the data that you use on your mobile phone, lowering the amount of data that you receive, in effect extending your data plan by cutting down on total transmission through your carrier.

It works by the company employing a “magical shrinking machine” on the back-end that crunches your incoming data. Not only that, the app ensures your phone sends less data and transmission times are lowered enough to offset any processing time increases on your device.

2. Say No To 0870 (UK Only)

Not many people know that when they are provided with an premium rate telephone number to contact a company or organisation, that there is a cheaper, more direct, geographical telephone number that reduce call costs and waiting times as a result.

In the UK, Say No To 0870 is a website that lists allows people to search for the name of a business to find out the geographical alternatives to premium phone numbers, getting them past automated answering systems and through to real person.

With mobile operators charging more for these numbers, it’s great to know there is a service out there that can help consumers save money, often when they need to report issues or seek assistance.

3. Look For SIM Only Deals

With mobile operators offering subsidies to allow customers to buy a more expensive and powerful smartphone, some customers can be locked into long-term deals that don’t allow them to change handsets for a dedicated period of time.

If you have found a device you like and can’t see yourself wanting to upgrade or you think you will just buy the smartphone you want outright, why not seek a SIM-only deal from your operator, a plan that will deliver more inclusive minutes, texts and Internet use over the subsidised contracts that operators traditionally offer.

4. Use Group Messaging Apps

Mobile operators are able to charge a premium for text messages, despite the fact it costs them very little to operate and send. One way to waive these fees is to use a group-messaging application that can connect you to your friends using a very similar messaging system to default service on your iPhone or Android device.

BlackBerry users will know this as BlackBerry Messenger, Apple will soon release iMessage and there are a range of applications including GroupMe, eBuddy XMS, Samsung’s ChatON and even Facebook.

If you have an unlimited data plan, group messaging apps will help you reduce messaging costs if you tend to incur lots of additional SMS charges.

5. Use A Cashback Site

If you want a new mobile phone or are in the market for an upgrade, you can use a cashback website to earn money on your purchase and offset that money against your mobile phone bill.

To do this, utilise a website like or HotUKDeals in the UK, sites that will collate the best deals and tell you what sort of money you can expect to get back from taking out a new contract via one of their links.

The technology/idea isn’t new, the websites simply use an affiliate link which is tied to their promotion, allowing you to claim money back using the same systems that website owners and advertisers use.

6. Utilise WiFi Connections Where Possible

Although many mobile phone contracts come with with all-you-can-eat data plans, many customers sign up for cheaper deals that limit Internet use.

However, if you have a wireless router at home or are in areas that offer Wi-Fi service, you will be able to utilise your handset’s in-built ability to connect to wireless networks, meaning you can bypass data limits entirely.

Those choosing to do this should ensure they do not log on to public Wi-Fi connections to access sensitive information as there are tools that can scan for unsecured mobile data being sent and received on the network.

7. Sign Up For Friends And Family Discounts

If you are on the same network as your significant other or other family members, mobile operators may be inclined to offer you a deal if you combine all of your plans into one dedicated contract.

These deals will often give you perks that include being able to call members of your family for free or allow you to specify numbers that allow you to spend less sending text messages to members of your family.

8. Don’t Upgrade

Whilst you might decide to sign up for a SIM-only deal for your next contract, always shop around before upgrading the contract that you are on.

There are always special deals on specific handsets, offering combined minutes, texts and Internet allowance, giving you the option to port your number should you decide to switch networks.

Checking out other deals and threatening to cancel your contract with your existing provider can see you passed to the retentions team, which can sometimes give you better than expected deals because they fear they will lose your custom.

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