UK mobile users spend £800 million on unnecessary contracts

Switching to a more suitable mobile contract could save British mobile users a packet.

Mobile phone

British mobile customers are not choosing a monthly contract that corresponds to their phone usage, causing 800 million in excessive spending each year.

Researched commissioned by phone comparison site Top10.com, showed users on monthly contracts pay far more than necessary, with 55 per cent of users claiming they never use all of their minutes.

The research was conducted by Opinium, a research consultancy, and showed if users switched to a contract to better suit their monthly usage, they could save 62 per year on average.

However, it seemed there was some awareness of this imbalance, as 42 per cent of users said they found mobile contracts confusing and 46 per cent said they were worried about being overcharged.

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Jessica Ekholm, principal research analyst at Gartner, said she isn't surprised to see that customers are paying more than they should because it can be difficult to select the right contract when so many are available.

"Consumers have to be very careful when they go into a mobile store." Ekholm told IT PRO. "They should look ahead of time to make sure they're not being oversold."

On the other end of the spectrum, eight per cent of users (1.3 million people) on monthly contracts have to top up by about 10 at a time because they use more minutes than their contracts allow, the research said.

Ekholm said it is worth users looking at their spending and weighing up the options between a long and short term contract, as one option could save them more than the other, depending on the handset.

Alex Buttle, a spokesperson for Top10.com, said with so many mobile contracts available, it can be confusing to find the proper contract.

"Before people upgrade their phones or switch networks, we recommend they check their previous bills to work out how many minutes they're actually using," said Buttle.

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He added it is worrying that so many people are wasting their money each month.

"This is even more important now that new devices like the iPhone and HTC smartphones come with long contracts, generally lasting 24 months," he said.

"Making the right contract choice is just as important as picking the right phone."

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