Cheap ways to run your

We take a look at some viable options for getting good deals, discounts and offers on your mobile technology usage

Mobile technology is a big-money business. But for the consumers who drive it, paying huge amounts every month is a grind. The impact of the recession has created a more exquisite pressure on both mobile companies and users, as both strive to find the most cost-effective ways to stay afloat.

Whilst mobile telephones are a daily reality and tool for many users (there are now over 5 billion active mobile devices in the world, a number set to double by 2016, according to research by Cisco), they are nevertheless an expensive one.

For the last few years, owning a smartphone meant being locked into an 18- or 24-month contract, having to buy insurance on top of this, and of course running the risk of the handset being lost, damaged, stolen or simply re-designed and utterly transformed by its manufacturer in that time.

For many recession-squeezed and money-savvy mobile users, the rules of the game are changing, and finding alternatives to the £30 and £35 a month contract is a necessity.  Here we take a look at some of the options for those looking to squeeze a few more pounds from their mobile activity.

Cheaper smartphone handsets

One major new trend emerging is the increased supply of good quality mobile handsets now at more affordable prices. Many 24-month contracts were at such high premiums because the smartphone handsets alone cost well over £250, so off-setting their price meant spreading the network costs over a long time to make things affordable for customers.

This year, models from Blackberry, HTC and LG all offer smartphones for under £100 to users. This means that mobile users can buy a handset and make more independent choices about their networking options – choosing pay as you go leaders like giffgaff.

New 12-month deals and offers

Major network providers like are also trying out new, somewhat mix-and-match packages which offer shorter contracts and more extras and flexibility to their users. The Vodafone Red Hot Plan is a good example – but whether people will buy into to its mix of handset exchange, insurance and network coverage is to be seen.

Switch to sim-only

Perhaps the biggest trend to emerge over the last two years, many mobile users now see they can get the best sim only deals through companies like giffgaff, buying their own bundles and packages as and when they need them.