Buying and selling mobile phones

Decided it's time to get yourself a new mobile phone? Don't be too hasty about it because a little bit of research could save you a good chunk of change.

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People will pay good money for many secondhand mobile phones and there's a growing number of firms offering to buy your old mobile from you.

And if you're honest with yourself about your likely phone usage and consider all the options you could save hundreds of pounds on the cost of buying and running your new phone.

When buying a new phone, make sure to look beyond contract deals and consider the total cost of a phone over the contract period.

For example, if you are considering a snazzy smartphone you might find that you can save a massive amount by shopping around and buying the handset outright (perhaps secondhand) and then getting a SIM-only deal to run it.

If you are considering a contract, look at the tie-in period and monthly cost and calculate the total you will spend. A lower monthly fee with a longer tie-in period may cost you more overall.

Also make sure you're not paying for more call time than you will use and pay close attention to data charges for smartphones. Unlimited data is becoming more common so keep an eye out for a deal offering that.

If you want an Apple iPhone, do you really need the minor improvements on the latest version? You could save a fair wedge by going for the 4 rather than the 4S.

It's also worth looking beyond the "big four" mobile companies and considering smaller providers like GiffGaff (actually a subsidiary of O2), who offer some very good value monthly bundle deals.

Get it all right and you could end up paying 50% less than your mates for the same phone and a similar service.

In the excitement of getting a new phone it's easy to forget about your one and just chuck it in a drawer, but hold on - it might be worth a bob or two and you might as well cash in if you can.

You could advertise it on eBay or a classifieds site. Dig up the box, charger and documents if you can find them and take some good pics, and check out what similar ones have gone for before you set the price.

If this sounds like too much hard work, there are a number of companies that have sprung up offering to buy your old phone from you and then sell it on themselves for a profit - usually abroad.

Your phone needs to be in good working order and only have minor cosmetic damage, and the companies will make you an offer. If you accept they will usually send you a bag to post the phone to them in. Apparently only 20 per cent of phones are rejected as being in too poor condition.

Make sure you send it recorded delivery and with adequate cover for the value you have been offered.

What do you reckon is the best way to buy a mobile? Tell us below...