Virgin Mobile has become the latest provider to launch a monthly tariff for less than £10.
The Virgin tariff costs £8.50 a month for 18 months, and includes a new phone, 100 free minutes and 100 texts a month. Customers can choose from a two 5MP camera phones: The Samsung G600 and the LG KC550.
“In these financially challenging times where customers are tightening their purse-strings, our market leading £8.50 monthly package will allow people to stay in touch without the added worry of a hefty phone bill,” says Graeme Oxby, managing director of Virgin Mobile.
Virgin Mobile now offers the cheapest tariff on the market.
James Parker, mobile manager at moneysupermarket.com, says: "Sub-£10 tariffs are ideal for people with low monthly usage, as they provide all the benefits of a monthly contract, the security of always having credit but also the ability to keep costs as low as a pay-as-you-go deal."
Of course, when it comes to mobile phone contracts, you get what you pay for. So what other value deals are out there at the moment?
At the end of last year, 3 launched a £9 tariff – this was the cheapest deal ever offered on the market, until Virgin trumped it with its £8.50 offer.
The 18-month deal, called Mix & Match 100, includes 100 free minutes or texts to any network, 300 free minutes to other 3 customers and free voicemail. You’ll also receive a free handset.
O2 offers a range of online Simplicity tariffs, including a sub-£10 deal.
Online 10 costs £9.79 a month (plus VAT), and includes 150 free minutes and 300 free messages. For £14.69, you can upgrade to Online 15 and receive 300 free minutes and 600 free messages a month. Plus, you’ll get unlimited calls to other O2 customers.
These deals are SIM-only, so you won't be tied into a long contract. However, you won't benefit from a free handset. If you would rather opt for a contract, then O2 offers an 18-month deal costing £19.58 a month. For this price, you'll receive 75 free minutes and 127 texts.
Tesco Mobile has launched a SIM-only tariff costing £10 a month, which includes up to 400 minutes of calls or 800 texts a month.
As it is SIM-only, you won't be tied into a 12 or 18-month contract.
The cheapest deal from Orange is called Dolphin 15. If you’re happy to sign a 24-month contract, you’ll receive 100 free minutes and unlimited texts for £14.68 a month.
Extra benefits from Orange include 2-for-1 cinema tickets with Orange Wednesdays and unlimited free calls to other Orange customers.
Vodaphone offers an 18-month contract that costs £15 a month tariff. This includes unlimited texts, but no free minutes.
T-Mobile's cheapest deal costs £30 a month, but comes with a guarantee that customers won’t find more free minutes elsewhere for this cost.
People who sign-up to its £30 Combi 30 deal for 18 months receive 700 free minutes a month and unlimited texts.
T-Mobile also offers an 18-month contract for £15 a month. For this price, you receive 100 free minutes and 200 texts a month.