My mobile phone bill over the Christmas period was a little silly, and yesterday I finally got around to investigating it properly. My contract, which I assume made sense at one point, gave me 60 crossnetwork minutes, 4mb of data transfer and 60 text messages for £28ish/month. Proper investigation of the bills showed that the data transfer was about right, but I rarely used more than 15 minutes of calls per month, and text messages were regularly breaking 150, which at 10p a time really mounts up. I called Orange and was told my contract expired last July. This was rather a surprise, but put me in a great position to negotiate: I could investigate the best deals and see whether Orange would match them when I threatened to leave.
After much digging I finally realised that the only reason to keep paying £30/month is if I want a high-end phone. I do, but not that much. My current 7610 isn’t particularly clever by N80 standards, but is far from obsolete, and everything I fancy costs silly money. I’ve ended up downgrading to Orange Pay-As-You-Go, which offers surprisingly good deals: I get 300 free text messages providing I top up with a minimum of £10 every month. £10 should cover my meagre calls and data usage just about perfectly (even if call charges are higher than contract rates). The Orange rep. couldn’t really argue when I said that PAYG was better value for money for my particular usage, and was happy to let me downgrade and keep my number. Once I can afford the extra expense of line rental I’ll start looking at new contract deals, but I think this is the correct move for the moment.
FYI anybody who buys a Three contract via Quidco can get £100 cashback within a couple of months, without having to fill out oodles of paperwork. That’s according to the moneysavingexpert forum, which I found to be a very useful resource.