Which Mobile Network Offers The Best Perks?

Get more than you bargained for when you join these mobile networks – from 2-4-1 drinks to high-street discounts and the chance to buy the hottest gig tickets days before everyone else…

Fancy a new mobile? Weigh up the perks, as well as the minutes, texts and data, before committing to a new network. The most generous benefits, from the likes of EE, Virgin Mobile and Three are laid out in no particular order for you, right here. All there’s left for you to do is improve your credit score and read how to switch your phone contract and keep the same mobile number.

1. O2

Feel like a VIP with O2 Priority. Buy tickets to see your favourite artist or event, up to 48 hours before anyone else in the general pre-sale. Forget refreshing your webpage in panic – you are pretty much guaranteed to see Katy Perry, Alt-J or even A Night of Championship Boxing, for example. And you’ll also get first dibs of seats in the venue, for the best possible night out – just for having a mobile contract with O2.

And that’s not all, if you’re visiting an O2 Arena or venue, because you’ll get fast-lane entry, access to an exclusive bar and other perks. Leave your bag in the free cloakroom, sup a 2-4-1 drink and snack on free food. Rewards change all the time, so keep an eye out for free massages, high street discounts and also the chance to win prize draws. Think £1 Monday lunch deals at Dominos or WHSmiths and 25% off action-packed experience days.

Want more? Just for joining O2 on a 5GB, 10GB or 20GB tariff, you’ll get a year’s subscription to Evernote Premium worth £35 and access to Sun+ Goals to watch Premier League highlights. Made In Chelsea, Fresh Meat and Peep show fans should know that O2 also gives you exclusive access to All 4 – watch your favourite Channel 4 shows 48 hours before they air.

Call O2’s customer service contact number today to join O2 Priority.

2. EE

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No matter which network you’re with, you can connect to free 4G EE WiFi at Glastonbury festival this year. But it’s worth joining EE for lots of other reasons – the UK’s fastest 4G network has a few treats in store for you musos and sports fans.

Remember to take advantage of the 10% discount EE customers get on second phones and tablets, including the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8.

EE Pay Monthly Perks

Tune into Beats 1 Radio, experience live concerts and stream the latest hits and music videos, when you get free Apple Music for the first six months of your EE contract – worth £59.94

Prefer football, cricket or Moto GP? Stream BT Sport for free, on your EE phone and EE tablet simultaneously, for three months – just for having an EE contract. Simply text SPORT to 150 to register for BT ID then download the BT Sport app and cheer your team to victory. That’s all 42 live Premier League matches, every UEFA Champions League game, Aviva Premiership rugby and more, simply for having an EE Pay Monthly phone.

EE Pay As You Go Perks

Extra minutes, texts or data – the choice is yours. EE will give you a free boost every three months, just for spending what you normally would with Pay As You Go – no matter how much that is.

  • Get an extra 500MB, 50 minutes or 250 texts, when you buy three 30 day packs worth £8 or more
  • Use an extra 100MB, 25 minutes or 50 texts, when you get three 30 day packs worth £5
  • Enjoy an extra 50MB, 10 minutes or 25 texts, when you get 12 7 day packs worth £1

Call EE’s customer service team today to find out more or to switch your contract and keep your number.

3. Three (3)

The only network offering truly unlimited 4G plans, Three’s Go Roam makes it one of the best networks for holidaymakers and frequent flyers.

Surf the internet, call or text your mates back home in over 60 countries, without paying a penny extra. Just remember to replace the first number 0 with +44. Everywhere from America to Germany and Greece are already included. But Thursday 15th June 2017 will see Brazil and Singapore, Martinique and more tropical destinations joining the mix. Need a place to stay? Three customers get 12% off hotel bookings through the Expedia mobile app, on top of any other discounts you have.

And that’s still just the tip of Three’s perks. Pay by Direct Debit for a £5 discount on your phone bill, use free WiFi in over 130 London Underground stations and let your friends access the internet by tethering to your Three phone. No signal? No problem – connect to the internet and use ThreeinTouch WiFi calling, which comes out of your monthly minutes allowance.

Call Three (3)’s customer service number today to make these perks yours.

4. Vodafone

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Vodafone is one of the most generous networks in Britain.

Want to call international or local numbers for no extra cost when abroad in over 50 European countries?

Pick Vodafone’s Roam Free Deal over Three’s Go Roam. From Thursday 15th June 2017, new Vodafone customers can call, text or use data in Croatia, Austria and non-European Union states such as Norway, Iceland and Turkey.

And that’s not all. You can upgrade your Vodafone device early for free, depending on your plan or bundle. And you can grab a courtesy phone from your local Vodafone store, while yours is being repaired – so you can stay connected no matter what.

Vodafone Pay Monthly Perks

Fans of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, music or sport might want to sign up for Vodafone’s Red L, Red XL or Red XXL Entertainment plan. Choose whether you watch 11 American channels with Now TV, full access to Sky Sports Mobile or 30 million tracks on Spotify Premium for up to 24 months – just for having a Vodafone contract.

Vodafone Pay As You Go Perks

Get everything from Amazon gift vouchers or extra data, music downloads and mini speakers, just for topping up as little as £5 a month, as you normally would. Simply sign up for Vodafone’s Freebee Rewardz loyalty scheme to collect your points.

Here’s the Vodafone telephone number – call today to switch your mobile contract.

5. Virgin Mobile

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Want to keep your leftover data at the end of every month? Now you can, with Virgin Mobile’s data rollover, your extra data will be added to your next monthly allowance. They’ll even ping text alerts to your phone, showing how much you have left. And should you want to increase or decrease the amount of data or minutes at your fingertips, you can change your 4G plan every month – on all Pay Monthly or SIM contracts.

On top of that, Virgin Mobile customers can connect to over 250,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, not just in London. And you can message on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger ‘till your heart’s content, for no extra cost.

Call Virgin Mobile’s contact number today to see if it’s time to switch.

6. BT

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If connecting to free public Wi-Fi hotspots on the go is important to you, know that BT have more than any other British network – 5 million to be precise, dotted across the country. Each saving your data until you need it most.

You’ll get a £5 discount on any mobile plan if you’re already a BT or BT Broadband customer – which could get you the full BT Sport Pack (for as little as £5 a month). That said, you can watch the Premier League and other big matches with the free BT Sport App, when you sign up for one of BT Mobile’s top-end mobile plans.

Call BT’s UK support number today to learn more about their latest deals and perks.

7. SKY Mobile

Right now, you could pay the UK’s cheapest price for a 500MB data Apple iPhone 7 with Sky Mobile. And if you want to get your hands on the latest mobile every 12 or 24 months, without admin, upgrade or delivery fees, Sky Mobile’s flexible ‘Swap’ scheme will keep your tech bang-on-trend. Better yet, you can roam in 36 EU countries on any Sky Mobile plan for no extra cost.

Want more? Join SKY TV to get free Unlimited Calls and Texts with any SKY Mobile plans. And remember, you can sync your Sky+ recordings with your new phone.

Call SKY’s UK customer service number today to see if you’re eligible for unlimited free calls and texts.

*Information correct at the time of publishing (05/06/17 17:30:00). Contact Numbers UK take no responsibility for changes to the networks’ Terms & Conditions.

FA Cup Wembley Stadium copyright Dom Fellowes, licensed for use under Creative Commons.

18 Changes to Your Finances This April 2017

You’ll win some, you’ll lose some when it comes to cash in your pocket from Saturday 1st April 2017, thanks to a slew of new laws and rules…

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget changed everything from your income and outgoings to your childcare and even the way you drive. From upping the National Living Wage and offering tax free childcare to hiking up your council and car taxes – find out what you and your bank balance are in for…

For Richer

From Saturday 1st April 2017:

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1. Minimum wage workers earn more

If you’re over 25 and earning the National Living Wage, you’ll see a 4% rise in your hourly rate, increasing from £7.20 to £7.50 – giving you an extra £48 per month, if you’re working 40 hours a week. And the fun doesn’t stop there, because 18-20 year olds will now pocket a minimum of £5.60 and 21-24 year olds at least £7.05.

2. Parents can apply for tax free childcare

For every 80p you spend on childcare, the Government will contribute 20p – equivalent to the 20% tax you pay on your earnings, which is why this is called ‘tax free’. By applying today through Gov.UK, working families could receive up to £2,000 per year towards the cost of childcare for each child under 12 or up to £4,000 for children up to the age of 17.

3. Prepayment meter cap comes into effect

Using a pay as you go gas meter? Stop paying your old rate and take advantage of the temporary price cap, by topping up your meter. You could save £80 off your energy bills, say the Government’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, because the scheme should reduce your gas bill by around 10-15%.

Call your supplier to find out more, be that British Gas, E.On, EDF Energy or another energy company.

From Sunday 2nd April 2017:

4. Receive higher statutory family-related pay

Parents, your weekly rate of statutory maternity or paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £140.98 per week as of Sunday 2nd April 2017.

From Thursday 6th April 2017:

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5. Earn £500 more before paying basic income tax

You can now earn up to £11,500 before you pay income tax, rather than £11,000 – leaving as many as 20 million basic rate taxpayers with an extra £100 in their pocket. Higher rate tax payers could also save £400 per year, because the 40% income tax rate will now only apply to earnings above £45,000, rather than £43,000.

Want to check you’re paying the correct rate of income tax? Call HMRC today.

6. Claim a higher rate of sick and redundancy pay

Under the weather? You’re entitled to £89.35 per week in sick pay from now on. Plus, if you’re made redundant on or after Thursday 6th April 2017, you’re entitled to £489 per week, up from £479, if you’ve worked for the company for at least two years – the final amount you get depends on your weekly pay, length of service and age.

7. Get more for your State Pension

The newer flat rate pensions are increasing by 2.5%, giving you £155.65 rather than £159.55 per week. Alternatively, you’ll see your pension rise from £119.30 to £122.30 if you’re on the old system.

Check the status of your pension or ask any questions by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today.

8. Take advantage of a new lifetime Isa

Aged between 18 and 40? Set aside up to £4,000 per year in the new lifetime Isa to save towards your first home or retirement – and the Government will give you up to £1,000 for free, in the form of a 25% bonus. You can make contributions until your 50th birthday and all the money will grow tax free.

9. Alternatively, save more in your current Isa

Did you know that you can now put £20,000 into your Isa during the next tax year, up from £15,240? Now you do.

10. Your family can inherit an extra £100,000 tax free

Those of you who are married or in a civil partnership can leave your family up to £850,000 of tax free inheritance, which is £100,000 more than last year, thanks to the new transferable main residence allowance on property within the estate.

From Monday 10th April 2017:

You’ll get an extra 2p in every pound you earn, when the Universal Credit taper is cut from 65% to 63% – don’t spend it all at once.

For Poorer

E.On customers will be charged an extra 13.8% for electricity and 3.8% for gas from Wednesday 26th April 2017. Plus, BT and BT Broadband, EE and Vodafone also are putting up prices.

But what else can you expect to hit your wallet from April 2017?

From Saturday 1st April 2017:

DVLA road tax

11. Car Tax hike

Buying a new car after Saturday 1st April 2017? You’ll be stung by higher rates of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), depending on your engine emissions, thanks to the DVLA’s rule changes – which you can get up to speed with here. For the first time ever, even eco-friendly electric cars will have to pay road tax.

12. Pay 20p more for your NHS Prescriptions

NHS prescriptions, medicines and appliances, now cost £8.60. Although, you’re exempt from paying if you’re: suffering long term conditions like cancer, epilepsy or diabetes, pregnant, a new mother, over 60, a child under 16 or on low income.

13. Spend up to 5% more on your council tax

Nine out of 10 local authorities in England are expected to increase your council tax bill by up to 5% in April – so you can expect to pay an extra £61 council tax on your Band D property, for example. Meanwhile, the average Scottish Band D household will fork out for an extra 3% or about £32.

Cast your mind back just five years ago to 2012 when 90% of local authorities froze or cut council tax, only 35 hiked the price up. However, East Hampshire is the only local authority who’ll cut council tax in 2017.

14. Pay 2% more for your average water bill

Call your supplier to see how your water bill has changed, whether that’s Thames Water or someone else.

15. Add £1.50 to the cost of your TV licence

Get your money’s worth from your £147 TV licence by watching great TV – haggle for a better deal with Sky or see what Virgin Media, BT Sport or Amazon can offer.

From Monday 3rd April 2017:

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16. Parents must look for work when youngest child turns three, not five

Changes to Universal Credit mean that parents, you’ll have to look for work when your youngest child turns three, rather than five – affecting those of you with pre-school children for the first time, at an age when childcare is the most expensive.

From Thursday 6th April 2017:

17. Four million new families lose £545 per year tax credit Family Element

Starting a family? You can’t claim the tax credit family element anymore, worth £545 per year. And that’s not all, if you plan to have a third or subsequent child after Thursday 6th April 2017, you’ll no longer receive Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit benefits either – these are now limited to your first two children only.

18. Grieving families will be £12,000 worse off

Until Thursday 6th April 2017, widowed parents could receive financial support for 20 years after a bereavement – now, you’ll get just 18 months of help. It’s a move that could save the Government £100million a year, say the Childhood Bereavement Network, but it will affect as many as 6,000 families expected to claim this year.

It’s Official, GiffGaff is Britain’s Best Mobile Network!

“We’re chuffed to bits to be winners of five uSwitch 2016 awards, including Network of the Year. High five to our members who made it happen.” – GiffGaff.

Congrats to the little guy! GiffGaff snatched the coveted ‘Network of the Year’ gong from the likes of Vodaphone, Three, Virgin, and O2 at the customer-voted uSwitch Mobile Awards. ‘Best for SIM-Only Network’, ‘Best for Data’, ‘Best Value SIM-Only’, and ‘Best Network Customer Service’ all sit on GiffGaff’s trophy cabinet too.

That’s pretty much a clean sweep across the categories, showing just how well-rounded a company GiffGaff is. Not only do they seem to have the all-important product quality and customer service down to a T, which is where your money goes, but they’re competitively priced to boot. How’s that for value for money?

That last one, for customer service, will surprise those of you who wrongly believe that GiffGaff don’t have a dedicated customer-service telephone line. While they’re known for their customer-managed web-forums, you can, in fact, call to speak to their representatives.

uSwitch Mobile’s Senior Account Manager Ru Bhika handed the awards over to GiffGaff in front of 100 industry figures, at the fifth annual awards ceremony in London’s Barbican. Other winners on the night, included EE for Fastest Mobile Network, O2 for Best Network Coverage, and Tesco Mobile for Best Pay As You Go, and Best Value Pay Monthly.

So what?

This really is huge news within the mobile industry, with experts proclaiming this as the year that David well and truly trounced Goliath. Some are even warning the big four providers to watch their backs, since their ‘tiny’ rivals are offering customers competitive, flexible deals.

But who cares the experts think? We’d much rather hear an honest account from the customers themselves, about how phone services really compare. Which is why these Mobile Awards ought to count for something, when you’re in the market for a new mobile contract.

uSwitch, a telephone comparison service, surveyed 5,000 UK mobile users and a 14 strong judging panel of journalists, representing the science and technology columns from the Mirror Online, Good House Keeping, and Sky News, to name a few.

Combined with network speed data from RootMetrics, this paints a nationally representative picture of Britain’s best loved mobile networks, retailers and providers. The Mobile Awards celebrate the businesses that have provided the best products, services and customer satisfaction over the past 365 days.

What’s GiffGaff and why did they win ‘Network of the Year’?

One of Britain’s fastest-growing, yet youngest networks, GiffGaff pride themselves on being the most caring, customer-focussed mobile provider. Their name is even Gaelic for ‘mutual giving’. And their philosophy has proven popular, with a million users joining them just four years after they launched in 2009.

While there’s been no official word from uSwitch themselves as to why GiffGaff won the night, we can take an educated guess:

  • GiffGaff use established O2 networks, which are said to give the best coverage, call quality and signal strength
  • Theirs is perhaps the cheapest option you have at your disposal. GiffGaff plans even offer free calls and texts to other GiffGaff users
  • You can leave your non-binding contract whenever you want, and change plan on a whim
  • There are no long term contracts or hidden costs, giving you the freedom and flexibility to change your SIM-only plan from month to month