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Brits waste 3.4GB of data a month: how to avoid overpaying

Mobile phone users across the country are paying for data they’ll never use, according to a uSwitch study on phone bills. Figures collected by uSwitch show that the average UK mobile phone owner pays for 3.4GB of extra data every month – that’s data you don’t need. See below for more on the study and take a look at our top tips on how to avoid bill shock.

Best mobile phone networks[1] – our verdict on the biggest providers.

Are you paying for data that you don’t use?

A fear of exceeding data limits has seen phone users buying contracts that offer more data than they need. According to uSwitch, mobile customers in the UK are collectively paying for a whopping 143 million gigabytes of unused data each month. The same study says that one in five smartphone users don’t know how much data comes included in their contact, while a third of over-55s with a monthly plan don’t know how much data they’re using.

But it’s not just older smartphone users that aren’t fully clued up. uSwitch says that the average 18- to 34-year-old pays for 7.5GB of data every month but uses less than half of that (3.6GB).

Which? members on mobile data

The uSwitch findings reflect our own. We surveyed over 1,000 Which? members on mobile data to see what they knew about their phone contracts.

32% of the people we spoke to didn’t know how to keep track of their mobile data at all, and 71% of respondents admitted they didn’t know the cost of using data outside of their monthly allowance. In addition, 50% said they were concerned about receiving an unexpectedly high bill each month, and nearly a third were concerned about exceeding their bundle.

To prevent this from happening, Which? readers are going to some lengths to avoid ‘bill shock’.

Using wi-fi for calls and internet browsing is the most popular solution to avoiding bill shock, with 57% of the votes. But while this can be a good habit to get into, it’s not a great way to make the most of your mobile phone.

41% of Which? members took the more extreme route of turning mobile data off completely, while 26% prefer to stick to landline calls and 10% admitted to turning their phone off completely. One of the biggest benefits of mobile phones is their versatility, something that’s being curtailed by a fear of overpaying.

But if you’re tracking your data usage on a regular basis from your smartphone, you needn’t be concerned.

How to keep track of your data and minutes

The uSwitch survey suggests that erring on the side of caution – that is, opting for more data than you might need – is a safer proposition. But when we asked Which? readers why they hadn’t increased their contracted package, a substantial 63% said they didn’t want to increase the size of their bill. Combined with an effective way to monitor mobile data usage, this could be the best approach.

Armed with that information, you can find a mobile contract that suits you perfectly and saves you money. After all, you don’t want to be spending big on a contract that offers far more than you need it to. Our guide on how to keep track of your data and minutes[2] tells you everything you need to know.

Are you better off with a different provider?

If you’re already adept at keeping track of your usage but still find it a struggle to manage your bills, you might be better off haggling or even switching provider.

Our recent research into customer loyalty found that two thirds of hagglers received a discount on their bill, amounting to GBP6 per month, on average. It’s especially important to haggle if your initial contract period is up: since you’ve paid off your handset at this stage, a monthly bill for usage should be considerably less. Our guide on how to haggle for the best mobile phone deal[3] can help.

If haggling doesn’t work, it might be time to switch.

There’s often little benefit to loyalty when it comes to providers, so it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting a deal that’s good value and well suited to your needs.

Our mobile provider reviews[4] can reveal important factors such as value for money, but also customer service, how easy they are to contact and additional incentives.


  1. ^ Best mobile phone networks (
  2. ^ how to keep track of your data and minutes (
  3. ^ how to haggle for the best mobile phone deal (
  4. ^ mobile provider reviews (

Is the Motorola Moto G5S Plus a Best Buy smartphone?

If you’re on the lookout for a new smartphone, our latest mobile phone reviews include both the cheap and pricey, and other models somewhere in between. Among them is the Moto G5S Plus, a mid-range handset from popular household name Motorola. It has a large 5.5-inch screen, two 13Mp lenses on its rear for recording 4K videos, and it looks and feels premium – impressive considering the phone’s price.

But does this Motorola option reach the dizzying heights of Best Buy stardom? Find out by reading our full Motorola Moto G5S Plus review[1]. Elsewhere from our latest batch of reviews is a model that has the best battery life for call time we’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, there’s also a Don’t Buy in the mix – for which, as we go on to explain, there are plenty of reasons to avoid. Mobile phone reviews[2] – discover the best handset for you, whatever your budget.

LG V30

The LG V30 has an enormous six-inch Quad HD+ OLED touchscreen to help make colours pop and detail look sharp. The curved glass rear and narrow bezels make the phone look the part, too – the screen fills most of the front of the device.

It’s packed with fancy features to tempt you to part with your cash, such as facial recognition and dual rear cameras. But we’ve seen pricey smartphones fail to deliver on the basics, such as battery life and camera quality – does this GBP600 handset really have what it takes to earn our seal of approval? Head to our full LG V30 review[3] for the answer.

Nokia 6

At GBP200, the Nokia 6 costs a third of the price of the LG V30, which means it has fewer features.

But could it be the perfect choice for buyers on a budget? We found its large 5.5-inch nice and clear. But can its 16Mp rear camera takes photos and videos you’ll be happy to share on social media?

And how long will it last before running out of juice? Read our full Nokia 6 review[4] to find out more.

EE Hawk

The EE Hawk has some pretty decent features for its GBP140 price. Its fingerprint sensor means you can unlock the phone in a jiffy, and it has NFC-capability, which means you can use it to make contactless payments via Android Pay.

Is the Hawk a high-flyer, or is it one you should scuttle past in the shops? Read our full EE Hawk review[5] for everything you need to know.

Alcatel U5

The Alcatel U5 costs just GBP90 to buy outright, which is a refreshing break from the raft of new smartphones that may as well cost you both your arm and your leg. It has a removable battery, a feature lacking in more expensive phones.

We like phones with removable batteries because it’s easier to both diagnose and fix any battery-related issues. As you’d expect from a phone this cheap, the U5 is understandably light on features – but we’ve found sub-GBP100 phones that aren’t too shabby at all. Looking for the best cheap mobile phone?

Find out whether this handset is everything you’ve been looking for by consulting our Alcatel U5 review[6].

What makes a Best Buy mobile phone?

A smartphone has to excel across the board to earn our Best Buy recommendation. Here are a few of our key tests to help you buy the best:

A Best Buy smartphone easily gets through a day without needing a recharge, takes nicely detailed photos and keeps everything ticking over nicely. A Don’t Buy, on the other hand, will be painfully slow to use, take photos you’ll want to immediately delete, and will seemingly take pleasure in losing charge.

Make sure you end up with a smartphone you love by checking out our Best Buy mobile phones[7].


  1. ^ Motorola Moto G5S Plus review (
  2. ^ Mobile phone reviews (
  3. ^ LG V30 review (
  4. ^ Nokia 6 review (
  5. ^ EE Hawk review (
  6. ^ Alcatel U5 review (
  7. ^ Best Buy mobile phones (

New Best Buy and Don’t Buy mobile phones uncovered by Which?

We’ve found new Best Buy and Don’t Buy smartphones in our recent round of rigorous tests. Which models are worth their salt? The best of the bunch offers exceptional battery life, powering through almost 26 hours of calls and 11.5 hours of web browsing in our tests.

It also takes good photos with sharp detail and nice balance, as well as excellent videos with smooth motion. The worst, on the other hand, will prove to be a constant source of frustration. It manages just 11 hours of calls or 5.5 hours of internet use, so it may well struggle to make it through the day without needing a recharge.

And to add insult to injury, it takes a laborious 3.5 hours to charge from flat to full. Keep reading to find out more about the five most recently tested smartphones, and make sure you check out our full review before parting with your cash, to avoid spending unwisely. Mobile phone reviews[1] – discover the best models for your budget

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL is the big-screen cousin of the Pixel 2[2], with an enormous six-inch screen.

To help you use it more comfortably with one hand, Google has made this phone’s aspect ratio 18:9, which means it’s twice as long as it is wide. It has a 12.2Mp rear camera and you can squeeze the handset to open Google Assistant, which will respond to your voice commands. But, like the latest iPhones, it doesn’t have a traditional headphone socket.

Instead, you connect headphones via the USB-C port (Google provides an adaptor). You could also consider investing in wireless headphones[3]. You can currently buy the Pixel 2 XL for GBP669.

But should you? Find out in our full Google Pixel 2 XL review[4].

Huawei Honor 6A

The Huawei Honor 6A costs less than GBP150 to buy outright, so it might be worth considering if you’re buying on a budget. It has a 13Mp rear camera and a 5Mp front-facing camera for taking photos and videos, plus it has built-in FM radio to let you easily tune into your favourite stations.

It has a small 16GB of on-board storage, though, so you may want to buy and insert a separate micro-SD card to boost space. Find out whether this smartphone offers good bang for its buck, or whether it’s worth eradicating from your mind, by reading our expert Huawei Honor 6A review[5].

OnePlus 5T

Slim bezels surround the 5T’s display to create an expensive look, and its aluminium build makes it feel like it’s worth a few bob, too. It has a large 6.1-inch display and, like Google, OnePlus has made the phone twice as long as it is wide.

It has two camera lenses on the back – one is a 20Mp telephoto, and the other a 16Mp wide-angle. The theory is that, by working together, the cameras deliver better detail, especially when zooming. It also lets you play with some depth-of-field effects – for example, you can increase focus on your subject by blurring out the background, for a nice artistic shot.

Discover what we made of this phone’s camera quality, battery life, speed and more by checking out our full OnePlus 5T review[6].

Motorola Moto X4

The Moto X4 is another example of Motorola’s perseverance in launching mid-range smartphones to appeal to those who don’t want to spend top dollar. You can pick it up for around GBP250, which is a quarter of the price of the iPhone X (64GB). It has a large 5.2-inch screen, which you may appreciate if you like to watch videos on your smartphone.

It also has a fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking, a built-in FM radio, and it’s NFC-capable – so you’ll be able to use it to make contactless payments via Android Pay. We’ve found brilliant smartphones that cost less than GBP300 before. Is the Moto X4 one of them?

Find out in our Motorola Moto X4 review[7].

Vodafone Smart E8

If you’re really looking to cut costs on your next smartphone, you might want to take a look at the Vodafone Smart E8. It costs around GBP50 to buy outright, and it’s predictably short on features. But if you’re not fussed about having all the latest smartphone technology at your fingertips, the Smart E8 could do the job quite nicely.

That said, it has built-in FM radio, as well as a removable battery, which makes it easier to diagnose any battery-related issues – a feature often lacking on more expensive smartphones. Spending more doesn’t necessarily guarantee better quality when it comes to smartphones. Read our Vodafone Smart E8 review[8] to see whether it hits the spot for buyers on a budget.

Want to see what the new models are up against?

Browse all our mobile phone Best Buys[9].


  1. ^ Mobile phone reviews (
  2. ^ Pixel 2 (
  3. ^ wireless headphones (
  4. ^ Google Pixel 2 XL review (
  5. ^ Huawei Honor 6A review (
  6. ^ OnePlus 5T review (
  7. ^ Motorola Moto X4 review (
  8. ^ Vodafone Smart E8 review (
  9. ^ mobile phone Best Buys (

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