Millions of mobile phone users are out of money because 71% use less data than they buy

Millions of mobile phone users are out of money because 71% use WAY less data than they buy: we reveal the best Sim-only deals available

  • Millions of mobile phone users are paying too much for data
  • Regions that waste the most include Northern Ireland and Wales
  • We reveal the best Sim-only deals on the market

Mobile phone users are locked out each month, with 71 percent consuming less data than they actually buy, new research shows.

The average user spends £20 a month for 5GB of data, but many don’t use that much, often because they connect to Wi-Fi at home.

By switching to a cheaper deal, they could save between £60 and £180 a year, according to Lebara data.

It found that Northern Ireland and Wales were the areas with the highest amount of waste, with 84 percent and 80 percent respectively not using all of their data.

Those in Northern Ireland and Wales waste the most data, study by Lebara . shows

Meanwhile, the Northeast proved to be the best at using all of their data, with only 62 percent not using them all every month. However, that means that a large amount is still wasted.

Overall, the survey found that only 10 percent of people use all their data each month.

It also revealed that 37 percent of Brits think the most important thing when buying a new phone is sticking to a budget, but many are stung by expensive data plans that waste their money in the long run.

With 32 percent locked into a two-year contract, mobile phone owners could be missing out on up to £360 for the duration of their phone contract due to wasted mobile data.

Regionally, while Northern Ireland was the worst for data waste, it was closely followed by Wales and the South West.

The survey also looked at exactly how much each region wasted finding 22 percent of those in Northern Ireland who overspend £180 a year – equivalent to 45GB of data, but 38 percent wasted £60 a year, the same as 15GB per year.

By comparison, the Northeast turned out to be the best in using all their data, followed by Scotland and London.

Only 29 per cent wasted £60 a year in the North East and just 11 per cent overpaid £120.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of mobile phone users in the capital were not using all their data, while the number was lower at 65 percent for those in Scotland.

The majority of respondents said they had a sim-only or pay-as-you-go contract, with 27 percent saying that once their current phone plan expires, they will get a new contract to get the latest handset.

However, a quarter of those surveyed will keep their current device and look for the best Sim-only deals on the market.

Most Sim-only deals do not bind customers to long contracts and are cheaper because consumers only pay for the data, minutes and texts they use, not for the handset.

The best plan of action is to compare the total spend for the handset you want and then find a cheap Sim-only deal for it – then compare that to the cheapest monthly pay-as-you-go deals available from major networks.

Rajesh Dongre, Lebara UK’s mobile commercial director, said: ‘The UK public is wasting up to £180 a year on their data plans, but once their contract is up they can shop around and find a plan that works for them.’

The survey of 2000 respondents from UK residents who own a mobile phone was conducted in June this year.

Customers can save money on their phone bills by switching to a Sim Only deal, experts say

Customers can save money on their phone bills by switching to a Sim Only deal, experts say

Best Sim only deals on the market

The best Sim-only deal currently available is with Lebara, according to independent data from comparison website Uswitch for This is Money.

The deal gives customers unlimited minutes and texts with 3GB of data for £4.95.

The second best deal is also with Lebara – unlimited calls and texts again with 10GB of data for £6.95 per month.

Both deals are not on a contract, so consumers can cancel at any time.

O2 also has one of the best deals with unlimited minutes and texts, 12GB of data for £8 a month.

Consumers also get 3 months of Disney+ free, but the contract is for 12 months.

Those looking for more data should switch to: Three as it offers unlimited minutes, texts and data for £16 a month with a 12 month contract.

provider Minutes and texts data Additional Features costs per month Contract duration
Lebara Unlimited 3GB N/A £4.95 No contract
Lebara Unlimited 10GB N/A £6.95 No contract
O2 Unlimited 12GB 3 months free Disney+ £8 12 months
Vodafone Unlimited 12GB N/A £8 12 months
Three Unlimited 30GB N/A £10 12 months
smarty Unlimited 30GB N/A £10 No contract
Three Unlimited Unlimited N/A £16 12 months
Source: Uswitch (prices correct as of July 19, 2021)