How to make sense of your phone plan or bill

Understanding your phone plan or bill shouldn’t involve detective work. Feeling confused? We’re here to help.

A gripping crime series. A recipe with a secret sauce. A first date that leaves you wanting a second. Sometimes, a little bit of mystery can be a wonderful thing. But when it comes to your phone plan or bill, we reckon you want things to be as clear and straightforward as possible.

Whatever network provider you’re with, you may not always be sure about certain aspects of your plan or bill. That’s why we’ve broken down the answers to some common sources of phone-related confusion below. Because while some things should be mysterious, your phone bill shouldn’t. 

First things first… where can I find my mobile phone bill?

You may no longer get a paper phone bill through your letterbox every month, but it should still be easy to find your latest bill (and look up older ones). Simply search your phone provider online and log into your account via their website. Most providers now also have dedicated apps, which make it even simpler to check your account via your smartphone or tablet. If you’re with O2, you can view your latest bill using the My O2 app or by signing in to My O2 online. Top tip: if you’d like to download your bill, you can do this on the My O2 website, but not the app.

What are out-of-allowance charges?

If you have a Pay Monthly plan, you’re probably used to being charged the same amount every month. It’s nice and predictable. You know where you stand. So it can be a shock if your bill suddenly goes up, before returning to its normal amount the next month. If this happens to you, check if you were billed for any “out-of-allowance” or “out-of-plan” charges. That means you’ve used your phone for something beyond the usual terms of your contract, such as making calls or using data while abroad  (although remember, with O2 you can roam in the EU at no extra cost, up to 25GB). Getting hit with out-of-allowance charges on a regular basis? Speak to your provider about switching to a plan that better suits your needs. With O2, you can also add a Bolt On (such as extra data) to your current contract instead of upgrading to a new plan. 

Man holding mobile phone in front of laptop

What’s the difference between an airtime plan and a device plan?

Airtime means things like minutes, texts and data – basically, the stuff you need for your phone to function as a phone. If you’re on a Pay Monthly contract, you may be billed for an airtime plan and a device plan in one bundle. This could be because you’re still paying off the cost of your device (the phone), as well as paying to use it. Depending on your provider, though, you may find that you keep paying for your device plan even after you’ve technically paid it off. At O2, we split our O2 Refresh and Custom Plan contracts into airtime and device plans as part of our Auto-Save initiative. This ensures that once you’ve paid off your device plan, you only pay for airtime - which means cheaper bills, straight away.

Hand inputting numbers into calculator

How can I tell if I’m being overcharged for my phone?

If you pay for your smartphone and airtime together in one single monthly price, and you’re not with O2, you may be paying for a phone you already own.  But it can be a bit of a headache trying to figure out if that’s the case. To make sure you’re not being overcharged, use our simple online calculator, which can give you a heads up if you’re paying for a phone that you’ve already paid off. 

Published: 06 Nov 2023