Three quarters of mobile phone users could be wasting almost £200 a year each on the wrong contract.

The findings from the price comparison site Billmonitor highlight 76% of mobile phone users it sampled are on the wrong deal.

The report indicates there are four main reasons why consumers are losing money on the wrong mobile phone contracts which costs them an average £194.71 a year.

They are:

  • 52% on the wrong contract have too many inclusive minutes and on average use just a quarter of their allowance;
  • 29% on the wrong contract have too few minutes meaning they pay high fees on extra calls;
  • 19% have the right level of minutes but are not optimising data & text allowances;
  • 82% spend on charges outside their allowance including calls, texts and internet use both at home and abroad.

Billmonitor founder Dr Stelios Koundouros says: "Even we were surprised by just how many UK subscribers are on the wrong contract.

"With only a few truly aware of their usage patterns and with almost 8 million mobile phone contracts available in the UK, customers are being overburdened by choice and are in need of guidance."

Beware internet costs

As more and more consumers access the internet from mobiles Billmonitor predicts many customers may also overestimate their own mobile data usage requirements and therefore end up paying too much.

The average mobile data use is 133Mb a month (about 60-80 web pages) but it's notoriously difficult for people to estimate their real usage.

Reading an email typically takes up 10Kb, visiting a website 1.5Mb to 2Mb or watching YouTube uses roughly 3.8Mb per five minutes.

Mobile costs falling

While consumers can optimise their usage, new rules were introduced last year to prevent mobile phone users racking up huge bills when surfing the internet overseas with a new monthly cap of roughly £49 on EU mobile internet charges.

This was coupled with cuts in EU overseas call charges (see the Overseas mobile costs cut MSE news story).

From 1 April this year, the cost of calling mobile phones from other networks and landlines became cheaper after Ofcom announced it was imposing a reduction in charges.

Further reading/Key links

Slash call costs: Mobile Roaming, Free Texts, Mobile Phone Contracts, International CallChecker