Smartphones and connectivity are an essential part of our daily lives. By 2025, it’s predicted that 95% of the population will be using a smartphone. As we use our phones for more of our daily activities, the demand for data is growing. In 2021, the average mobile data consumption per person was 5.6MB
In 2022, a typical package with a mobile phone and monthly service was £25.62 per month. Mobile contracts can be complex and its hard to unpick the real value of incentives included from your provider, leading to many people overpaying for services they may not need. Meanwhile, the cost of data has reduced and we’ve been holding onto our phones for longer, leading to a huge growth in SIM-only contracts.
This page provides an overview of the main UK mobile providers, summarises recent industry news, and gives some advice and tips, as well as sources for further support.
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There are only four UK mobile networks (EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three). All other providers, called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), are operated by companies using one of the networks.
See a list of providers by network
<aside> ☎️ Ofcom, the sector regulator, publishes an annual report on customer service levels
<aside> 💡 Many telecoms providers are expected to increase prices by the rate of inflation plus up to an additional 3.9% in March and April 2023.
Many of the most popular mobile providers put prices up every year by the rate of inflation plus an additional percentage. If your provider told you about this when you signed up with them, you are unfortunately unable to cancel if you’re in contract with them.
With record inflation-related price rises expected in 2023, many customers are going to see sizeable increases in their bills. There are very few providers who don’t increase prices during your contract term: Tesco Mobile commits to freezing prices for the contract duration and providers such as Giffgaff and Smarty sell 1-month rolling contracts which inflation-based price rises don’t apply to.
Once you’re out of contract, if you don’t need to change your phone then switching to a SIM-only with your current provider will save money or it is simple to switch providers to find a better deal.
The good news is that mobile data has got cheaper over time, so if you’ve been with your provider for a while and haven’t renegotiated, you’re likely to be able to make savings.