There’s plenty of guides out there giving you the best ways to get a good mobile phone deal. Most of them, like this one from MoneySavingExpert.com and this one from Which are about haggling and negotiation skills.
They’re great and well worth a read if you’re not confident approaching companies for a deal but I wanted to go a bit further and give you a real example.
I first did this back in 2016 when I was renegotiating my own mobile phone contract. You can watch the whole process, filmed over a couple of weeks here.
This year it was my Fiancee’s turn. The process was a lot shorter because of what I had learned last time so I knew that I would probably be going with UNSHACKLED.com or Carphone Warehouse (I checked a few others just to be safe though).
After a bit of shopping around we decided to go with UNSHACKLED. Here’s why:
Who is UNSHACKLED.com and what do they do? (did you read that like Arnie? ’cause I did!)
UNSHACKLED.com is a start-up that’s making waves in the mobile phone contract world by changing the way we pay for our deals. Instead of bundling the phone and SIM deal together, they split them out, offering an alternative way of financing the phone and the ability to switch SIM deals every 30 days (you can take a 12 month contract too if you want).
Here’s how they describe themselves in 30 seconds:
As well as being a cheap way to get your hands on a phone deal, here’s a few other things I really like about how Unshackled.com works compared to traditional mobile phone providers:
- You’re not tied in. Need more data? Want to cut your bills? Not happy with the service? Unlike the network providers you have the option to take the SIM deal as a 30 day rolling contract meaning that you have the option to switch every month.
- They’re transparent. Instead of confusing package options, Unshackled.com uses a simple tool which allows you to chose your phone, how much you want to pay up front and which SIM deal you want. It’s really easy to play around with the numbers which is a welcome relief from trying to compare pages and pages of notes.
- It’s quick. Part of the draw for going in-store is always going to be that you get your phone there and then. When we used Unshackled.com the phone was delivered next day (for FREE!) and the SIM came the day after – impressive!
- The data calculator. This is a neat little idea that helps you to work out how much data you REALLY need. My Fiancee was really surprised that she was only using about half the data she thought she was. Give it a try here.
Things to be aware of if you’re considering using Unshackled.com
- You’re going to need a good credit rating. The lowest amount of interest is 9.7% but according to this article on thisismoney.co.uk it can be much higher for those with a poor credit score. I recommend reading this Moneysavingexpert.com article on checking your credit score.
I asked UNSHACKLED about this and they said:
“Using someone’s credit score to adapt the rate to the consumer is a pretty new thing in the phone industry and not a lot of people are picking up on the meaning behind this. Every other phone provider is operating on a pass/fail based on your credit score being above a certain threshold, but the APR hidden within the bundled contract doesn’t change. So someone with a glowing credit score is paying the same high APR in their phone contract as someone who is average/low, and we’ve pulled apart contract deals, in the office as an exercise, that hid upwards of 50% APR. People aren’t aware of that because it’s not signposted by the phone retailers – for obvious reasons.”
- There are other similar options. Unshackled.com aren’t the only people offering the ability to finance a mobile phone separately from a SIM contract. For example, Apple let’s you purchase with monthly instalments through it’s PayPal credit plan. Their interest rate is 14.9% though so if you can get Unshackled’s lowest rate you’ll be better off with them.
- Deals change all the time. I made the video above in January 2017, the doesn’t mean that this would still be the best deal in February. Deals are changing all the time so it’s always worth shopping around although not many other providers offer the option to split the phone and the SIM.