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How to choose the right tariff
So, you've scoured the internet and popped into the shop for a hands-on test and found your ideal phone. But how can you make sure your tariff is right for you? Here at Carphone Warehouse we discovered that many people are on the wrong tariff - and wasting a load of money at the same time. In fact, our War on Waste Campaign finds that on average £194 is being wasted per person, per year!
If you're looking for a new tariff, here's our advice on choosing the right one.
Data Data
Data is possibly the most important part of your tariff you'll need to consider. Data refers to the amount of megabytes or gigabytes that is included in your tariff. This can be used anywhere you have mobile signal, so you're not tied down to the Wi-Fi at home or in the office. Why might you want to include data on your tariff?

Well, there's the explosion in apps - you'll probably want to get in on the action, or have freer access to download apps wherever you are or use them whenever you want. In fact, there's a huge amount of things you can do on a smartphone that need data. Here's a handy table outlining typical tasks, and the best data plan for them:

Activity Recommended monthly data tariff
Instant messaging (such as WhatsApp) 100MB
Receiving/sending emails (no attachments) 100MB
Checking the weather 100MB
Visiting social networking sites (no picture uploads) 250MB
Online shopping 250MB
Web browsing (little rich content such as pictures/videos) 250MB
Uploading photos to social networking sites 500MB
Web browsing (rich content such as images/videos) 500MB
Streaming/downloading music 500MB
Receiving/sending emails (with attachments) 500MB
Downloading and updating apps 500MB
SatNav and maps 1GB
Internet voice calls, such as Skype (no video) 1GB
Streaming videos, such as on YouTube 1GB
GPS Tracker 1GB
Listening to internet radio, such as Spotify 1GB
Internet video calls, such as Skype Unlimited
Online gaming Unlimited
Streaming online TV and movies, such as on BBC iPlayer Unlimited
Downloading movies on the go Unlimited
Tethering a Wi-Fi device, such as a tablet Unlimited
Creating a Wi-Fi hotspot for multiple devices Unlimited
Minutes Minutes
The minutes in your tariff are much more straightforward to get to grips with. There are three main things to think about:

Network to network minutes
These are calls to phones that are on the same network as you. If you have a lot of friends, family or work colleagues that are on the same network as you, make sure you have a suitable number of minutes for same network calls.

Cross network minutes
These are minutes you can use to ring phones on any network, so if you have a group of friends who use different networks to you, make sure the cross network minutes on your tariff are enough.

The total number of inclusive minutes
Simply try to estimate how many minutes you actually spend talking on the phone. This can be tricky, but as long as you're in the right ball park you won't be paying extra for a contract that offers far too many minutes, or paying excess charges for a cheap tariff that doesn't give you sufficient inclusive minutes. Of course, you're likely to have a mix of network to network and cross network minutes, so just think about those you ring most and you'll be on the right track.
Texts Texts
Texts are possibly the easiest thing to estimate; after all, you know if you're a caller or a texter, and the same texts are fine for all networks. There has been a recent increase in instant messaging use, meaning data has taken away some of the importance of texts. Unlimited texts are useful, but if you call more than text, it might be best to reduce the number of texts on offer and grab a tariff with a higher amount of minutes and data included.
Lowest price The lowest price
As long as you're thinking about how much you're going to use your phone, in what ways you'll be using it, and comparing this to your tariff, you'll be much more likely to get the tariff that fits your usage patterns. And remember: sometimes a tariff that has a cheaper headline price will actually cost you more in the long run - it's the inclusive extras that count!
  To learn more about the ins and outs of data, including troubleshooting, head over to our Device Advice data section.