Best small business mobile phone contracts 2023

Looking for the best business mobile phone contracts and suppliers? Compare the best plans, handsets, and prices available.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young
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Best business mobile contracts at a glance

1. Vodafone: best overall with excellent customer service and huge variety in plans
2. EE: best for reliable coverage, with outstanding 4G and 5G networks in the UK
3. O2: best for fair payment plans, and the most generous rewards system

Don't overspend – you can click any of the links above to compare fees on business mobile contracts for your own business's size and needs.

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best handset deal
  • Vodafone £46 per month (+ £59 upfront)
  • EE £55.27 per month (+ £30 upfront)
  • O2 £42 per month (+ £30 upfront)
Best handset deal
  • Vodafone £41 per month (+ £39 upfront)
  • EE £62 per month (+ £30 upfront)
  • O2 £61.24 per month (+ £30 upfront)
Best handset deal
  • Vodafone £62 per month (+ £49 upfront)
  • O2 £83.25 per month (+ £30 upfront)
Best handset deal
  • Vodafone £37 per month (+ £49 upfront)
  • EE £51 per month (+ £8.33 upfront)
  • O2 £47.91 per month (+ £30 upfront)
Best handset deal
  • Vodafone £58 per month (+ £49 upfront)
  • EE £61.28 per month (+ £30 upfront)
  • O2 £72.35 per month (+ £30 upfront)
Best SIM only deal
  • BT Mobile £9 per month
  • O2 £10 per month
  • EE £13 per month
Best SIM only deal
  • BT Mobile £9 per month
  • O2 £10 per month
  • EE £13 per month
Best SIM only deal
  • BT Mobile £9 per month
  • O2 £10 per month
  • EE £13 per month
Best SIM only deal
  • Plusnet £8 per month
  • BT Mobile £9 per month
  • O2 £10 per month
  • EE £13 per month
Best SIM only deal
  • BT Mobile £9 per month
  • O2 £10 per month
  • EE £13 per month

Almost every telecom company upped its prices on April 1, and there have been plenty of subsequent changes to tariffs. But, most providers save their best rates for new customers, so it can still be a great time to start or switch a business mobile plan. Switching to a competitively-priced business mobile contract can save you money  essential in today's poor economy.

During our research to find the right business mobile plan, we compared the top providers for three key mobile phone metrics we know are important to small business owners: network connectivity, customer support, and value for money.

We then used our results to build our simple online comparison tool. This helps you compare mobile plan costs quickly and easily, and find the best mobile phone provider to switch to with obligation-free quotes.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute

What is a business mobile phone?

Business mobile phones are exactly what they sound like: a mobile phone that's intended for professional, rather than personal, use. Whether you are a sole trader, employee, or employer, if you use your mobile phone for work then you have a business mobile.

Where a business mobile differs from a personal mobile is the contract's terms and conditions. These are specially designed by mobile providers to cater for employees. Rather than a pay-as-you-go plan that's topped up by the worker, for example, a business mobile contract will usually be paid monthly and expensed by the employer.

Business phone contracts come with many advantages for organisations; chief among these is cost. Users will usually pay less than they would for a consumer plan because the VAT can be reclaimed if you’re a VAT-registered business.

Similarly, switching to a business mobile from a VoIP phone system can also be game changing for today's SMEs. Being much less office-centric, mobile phones are a good choice for modern workplaces with remote teams. The incoming PSTN Switch Off in December 2024 means all UK business communications will run through the internet, which is why many SMEs are pulling the plug on landlines and now require their staff to rely on smartphones. Rather than forcing employees to use personal phones for work matters, a business mobile can be a welcome perk and a handy way of ensuring sensible access to sensitive business data.

Best business mobile phone providers

To create the below list of the best business mobile phone providers, we spent days researching the top 10 providers based in the UK. We focused our analysis on what Startups' readers told us are the three most important factors for small businesses. These are:

1. Value for money – we took upfront costs, contract length, data allowances, and seasonal deals and discounts into consideration. We also looked at split deals (monthly fees that automatically reduce once the handset has been paid for).

2. Coverage and speed – SMEs don’t have time to hang around for slow download speeds, or risk a new client call not getting through. We used the 2023 Ofcom customer service report (released in May) to guide our analysis of each provider's data speeds.

3. Customer support – switching any business technology will come with a few challenges. We also used the Ofcom report for the help and support options available to users, and how quickly each provider's support team responds to queries, on average.

We regularly update this page to ensure we are giving you accurate and up-to-date information about the best business phone contract to switch to.

There are lots of different factors that business owners need to consider when switching their mobile contract. The best plans improve your company's efficiency with a bounty of essential features and generous allowances while the wrong choice could lose you money and create a negative customer experience.

Searching for the best business phone contract can be confusing and time consuming. In the below guide, we'll break down the top contract providers in the UK, helping you make an informed decision when choosing a business mobile phone deal.

Are you ready for the Big Switch Off?

Openreach by BT is currently upgrading the outdated, analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to a faster, full-fibre digital network. By the end of December 2025, any business or home phone call will instead be hosted over Internet Protocol (IP). Named the ‘Big Switch Off’, the move has big implications for any firm using broadband in its operations. In today’s world, that’s pretty much everyone.

To prepare for the change, all existing phone systems and older internet connections – including any used by hardware like card machines and CCTV – will need to transition to an IP mode. Therefore, abandoning your business landline and switching to a business mobile will be the best option.

Vodafone: Best for a wide range of business mobile contracts that support scale-up

4.5 out of 5
  • Value for money
  • Coverage and speed
  • Customer support
  • Generous Rewards scheme for pay-as-you-go customers
  • Easy to get help from business mobile experts thanks to Vodafone's 500 UK stores
  • Global roaming: Select plans let you use your UK allowances overseas for no extra charge
  • Slightly lower Ofcom complaints solving rating compared to rivals
  • Unlimited data plans are a lot more expensive for monthly contracts (prices start from £23 per month)

Is Vodafone good value for money?

Vodafone offers good value for money and has a vast mix of pay-monthly offers for business use. Plus, it offers tons of trials and discounts so you can try before you buy, reducing the risk of spending money on the wrong product plan.

Small business phone contracts

Vodafone offers a range of plans that will suit the budgets and needs of most small business owners. The most popular ones are:

  1. Vodafone Business Evolve – a flexible option that is great for SMEs. If you're undecided about what you want from your plan, do not worry. This option will let you change your mind about data allowances or devices whenever, so you can alter your plan based on the growth of your business.
  2. Vodafone Business Advance if you have a growing team and need access to a large number of resources, then this plan is the best choice as it offers employees unlimited data, texts, and calls.
  3. Vodafone Business Optimiser plans can change. If you want to avoid nasty surprises on your phone bill, this clever solution will automatically adapt to the amount of data or calls you're carrying out, so you'll never pay more than you can afford.
  4. Vodafone Business Freedom  for SMEs making international calls or business trips, this plan lets you manage usage so you won't incur any hidden fees when you travel or call abroad.

You can also personalise your plan with add-ons including Device Support and Rapid Insurance, so whatever you want to prioritise as a small business owner the choice is yours.

SIM only business phone contracts

Vodafone's SIM only plans are a great option if you want to keep your existing phone and save on minutes, texts, and data.

The SIM only data plans are ideal for companies with fewer than 50 employees. At the moment, these start at a tidy £19.17 a month (ex. VAT) for the Red 150GB plan. This increases to £33.33 per month (ex. VAT) for the Unlimited Max + 3 Xtra benefits + Entertainment plan.

Pay-as-you-go business phone contracts

Pay-as-you-go customers also get some nice perks and freebies – like the Freebie International Minutes plan, giving you more free international minutes the more you top up.

There's also a generous Rewards loyalty scheme available, where you'll get points for every top-up that you can put towards more calls and data or even your next smartphone.

What is Vodafone's coverage and speed like?

As one of the UK's biggest mobile providers, Vodafone runs its own network, offering 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage across the UK. In the USwitch ranking of the top providers for mobile coverage in the UK, Vodafone came second behind EE, which boasts 97% population coverage for 4G.

5G availability

According to its online directory, Vodafone offers 5G in 124 UK towns and cities. This is not the most extensive list on the market. No new locations have been added in over a year (for comparison, Three caters for over 300 towns and cities.)

In August 2023, Vodafone announced it had acquired Three, another major network player. As part of the merger, Vodafone has pledged to reach more than 99% of the UK population with its 5G standalone network by 2034.

Price hikes in 2023

Many providers – including BT, Plusnet and EE – increase their prices each year in line with the inflation rate, plus their own extra rate of 3.9%.

From April 1, Vodafone announced on its website it has raised its prices mid-contract for broadband customers by 14.4%. Given that most providers save the best prices for new customers, switching can often save you money. Use our cost comparison tool to start comparing plans now.

Is Vodafone good for customer support?

In its 2023 report on mobile and landline customer service, Ofcom found that Vodafone scored 56% for complaints handling. This number is nothing to write home about, but it is an increase from its 2022 complaint satisfaction rating of 53%.

That said, Vodafone does have a higher overall customer satisfaction score on this list than Virgin Media O2 (86% vs. 83%). Should things ever go awry, or you need support with setup, Vodafone is also one of the easiest phone companies to get help from as it has 500 shops across the UK.

Finally, we like that Vodafone offers 30 days to try out your phone and coverage, and if business users are not impressed, they'll get a full refund. This is well above the typical 14 days offered by other companies like O2.

Compare business mobile phone plans

Want to find out more about how our top rated business mobile plan provider stands up against its rivals? Use our online tool to compare Vodafone's business mobile deals today.

O2: Best for its low-cost payment plans and excellent customer rewards program

4.2 out of 5
  • Value for money
  • Coverage and speed
  • Customer support
  • Excellent range of perks and offers for employees
  • More generous European roaming charges than rivals like Three and EE
  • Because deals tend to be longer (typically 24 months), O2's upfront costs are lower
  • Helpline waiting times can be lengthy
  • There has been a small increase in the number of O2 customer complaints between 2021 and 2022
  • Plans tend to be less flexible and tie users in for longer (especially SIM only plans)

Is O2 good value for money?

Ofcom's 2023 report shows that 79% of customers are happy with O2's value for money (compared with just 74% of EE's customers). In August 2023, the provider also released its own cost calculator for users to check if they are overpaying for their smartphone, emblematic of O2's commitment to save its customers money.

O2 welcomes small businesses with open arms via its dedicated Small Biz tariffs. You can choose between SIM only, SIM+phone, and pay-as-you-go deals, all of which are competitively priced. For just £16 per month you can access 20GB of data on a two-year, SIM only deal more than enough for most small business owners.

Last year, Virgin Mobile joined forces with BT for business mobile customers to create a shared offering called Volt. Virgin Mobile will be fully phased out, with all business mobile customers moved to an O2 plan (which is why we have removed our review of Virgin Mobile from this page).

This means that any mobile user on O2 will be able to choose Virgin Media broadband for a broadband speed boost and double data.

Price hikes in 2023

As with Vodafone, millions of O2 customers were hit with price hikes of around £50 a year on April 1.

O2 and Virgin Mobile confirmed that customer bills would rise as a result of inflation. Still, while an increase of £50 is hardly welcome, O2 plans will still likely remain cheaper than more costly rivals like EE.

Given that most providers save the best prices for new customers, switching can often save you money. Use our cost comparison tool to start comparing plans now.

O2 SIM only business phone contracts

O2's 12-month SIM only tariffs start from just £10 per month for 1GB. For unlimited data allowance (both 4G and 5G), prices start from £24 per month for a two year contract.

What is O2's coverage and speed like?

O2 has its own network and offers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage. Coverage experts OpenSignal, in their September 2022 report, found that O2 customers had the least consistent coverage at 66.1% of the time – just behind Vodafone and EE (with 70% and 77.5% access, respectively).

5G availability

O2 currently provides 192 UK towns and cities with 5G (you can check whether you're covered using their up-to-date online tracker).

O2 also allows business customers to create their own private 5G network to ensure reliable connectivity and enhanced security. If you run a SME that works with advanced technologies such as robotics, you can enquire about a private 5G network online.

Is O2 good for customer support?

As one of the UK's largest mobile phone providers, customers can reach the network at one of its hundreds of high street stores, where you’ll benefit from the expertise of the company's ‘O2 Gurus'.

According to Ofcom's 2023 report, O2 has one of the lowest percentages of customers with a reason to complain, with just 9% of O2 business users saying they were happy with the way their complaint was dealt with. With O2 Priority, you can expect many perks, like pre-sale tickets. There’s also O2 Rewards, which gives PAYG customers a percentage of your spend on credit.

How much data do I need?

Many small business owners spend most of their days hooked up to their WiFi, so data usage may be less than you’d expect. 10GB to 15GB mobile data is usually plenty for most small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Recent mergers

If you try Googling Virgin Mobile, you'll notice their webpage no longer exists. That's because they were acquired by O2. Similarly, EE and BT were merged.

EE: Best for 5G coverage and super fast download speeds

4.3 out of 5
  • Value for money
  • Coverage and speed
  • Customer support
  • My EE Bill Analyser helps employees stay on top of their phone bills
  • Wide-ranging 4G and 5G coverage with the fastest download speeds in the UK
  • Free replacement for 24 months in case of breakage or damage
  • Lower money satisfaction score with customers than Vodafone
  • Roaming charges returned in January 2022 - not good for firms with employees based abroad

Is EE good value for money?

EE is unlikely to appear on any budget-topping lists. If you value good data allowance and coverage for your business' needs, they’re unrivalled, but you will pay for the privilege. This is why the customer satisfaction with value for money is a measly 74%, according to Ofcom's 2023 report.

The top business mobile phone plans from EE start at a pricey £13 a month for a SIM only contract, but you'll get unlimited data. However, EE's rates are much less competitive when you add in the cost of a mobile device. A Google Pixel 8 Pro with EE is £51 per month more expensive than Vodafone (£37 per month).

Like O2's partnership with Virgin Mobile, BT recently partnered with EE to hand over the responsibilities for its business mobile customers. That means BT broadband customers may be able to get exclusive deals on EE business mobile plans when they join EE (this is also why we removed our review of BT from this list).

SIM only business phone contracts

Small business owners can choose between EE's Essential plans or Max plans. They start at just £15 a month, and include access to 5G roaming (if your chosen mobile device is compatible).

Price hikes in 2023

EE customers were hit with price hikes of 14.4% on April 1 2023, which is the same cost increase that Vodafone and O2 introduced.

Given that most providers save the best prices for new customers, switching can often save you money. Use our cost comparison tool to start comparing plans now.

Does EE have good coverage and speed?

EE pioneered 4G (super-fast wireless internet) and it still offers the best download speeds and coverage. According to OpenSignal's September 2022 report, EE's download speed was the fastest in the UK with a score of 55.8 this is 21.3% faster than the runner-up brand, Three.

5G availability

EE offers 5G for customers in 162 towns and cities across the UK. It's currently the best provider on the market for 5G in terms of coverage users had the fastest overall speed on EE, with scores of 109.5 megabyte per second for Download Speed Experience. You can check if your area is covered using the EE online tool.

Is EE good for customer support?

EE doesn’t have a leading reputation for top customer service. However, the 2023 Ofcom customer service report for mobile phone providers shows it achieves a satisfaction score of 86%, which puts it on par with Vodafone and O2.

With more than 500 stores up and down the country, EE is one of the biggest phone providers, so it will be there should your small business need them. It even offers free phone replacements if anything goes wrong within the first year. 

Nonetheless, the call waiting time for EE's customer support team lets it down. As we've noted above, users will be waiting almost a full minute longer to speak to an EE representative, on average, when compared with O2.

Want to save time? If you’d like a quicker way to compare phone plan providers, we've designed a simple online tool you can use to compare mobile contracts for your business. It's free of charge and gives you expert advice instantly.

How does a business mobile phone contract work?

Upfront, business mobile phone contracts are considerably cheaper than personal ones. This is a deliberate decision on the part of the provider because these are generally bought in bulk and distributed across a business. This means the phone company can afford to lower the price of its contracts.

Company phones also qualify as a business expense, so you can offset the cost of your phones by claiming them against your annual tax return. Here are three other key differences that separate a consumer mobile phone plan from a business mobile phone plan:

1. Data allowance

If you need to check spreadsheets on the go or stream video calls, you'll need a larger data allowance. Business phone contracts are more than likely to have unlimited data or a shared pool for employees over personal ones.

2. Repair and maintenance costs

Business mobile contracts will typically offer repairs and maintenance for any damage or malfunctioning software as part of the contract rather than as an add-on.

3. Easy-to-manage accounts

With a business phone contract, your team's spend on minutes or data will be saved on a single bill. If an employee racks up an expensive phone bill to a client in China, you can easily expense it, rather than spend weeks combing through phone records for the accounting team.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute

Benefits of switching to a business mobile phone contract

If your business currently uses a VoIP phone system or landline to make and take calls, you might be wondering if, and why, you should switch to a business mobile phone plan instead. Certainly, running your business from a mobile phone comes with some real advantages:

1. Reduces running costs: Mobile contracts can start from as low as £30 per month for the latest handsets. Plus, you won't compromise on functionality. Most smartphones still run all business applications, like Microsoft Teams or Outlook.

2. Encourages business growth: Unlike landlines, you can purchase as many business mobiles as you'd like for your team helping you to adapt your business to today's uncertain economy.

3. Increases mobility: Business mobiles allow you to take your entire workstation anywhere as long as there's an internet connection.

What types of businesses are mobile phones suited for?

In today's online world, any company will benefit from having a mobile phone. However, there are some specific use cases where mobile phones are paramount to your team's success. These are:

1. If you are currently connected to the PSTN: in December 2024, the Big Switch Off will see every landline currently connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network shut off. Turning to business mobile plans will mean you can avoid the admin woes of having to buy a whole new phone system.

2. If your team is in the field a lot: if you have sales reps or contractors who don't work in the office should consider investing in a business mobile over a personal contract. With more and more companies doing business over Whatsapp, having a business phone that's separate to your private number will look more professional and help you keep work and home life separate.

3. If you are a remote or hybrid team: UK employees increasingly work from home some, if not all, of the time. Business phones are a good way to maintain communication and collaboration when teams are based miles apart. Plus, having separate work and home numbers will improve work-life balance and help them avoid stressful notifications at the dinner table.

Business impact of switching from landline to mobile

Naturally, any good business owner will be concerned about the potential negative impact of migrating to a new business technology. Here are three things you should consider before pressing the trigger and switching to a business mobile contract:

1. Will I have downtime when switching? Almost definitely not. Business mobile phone SIMs can be activated instantly, so you will be able to open your new line of communciation immediately after your handset arrives. The only issue could be in switching your business phone number, which can take a few days to complete – more on this below.

2. Is it really the cheapest option? It's possible that neither a mobile phone nor a landline are the cheapest option for your company. VoIP phone system costs can start from as little as £5 per month for a high-quality call connection hosted over the internet. Plus, many come with free mobile apps, so you can use your personal mobile to answer calls made to your business number.

3. How do I divert my business number? Switching to a mobile phone from a landline or VoIP system will mean your business number changes. You can bite the bullet and simply change your contact information to the new number. Or, you can use number porting to keep the same number, which takes a few days to complete. Our guide to business mobile phone numbers has more information on the options available.

What's the best business mobile phone?

Some of the best business mobile phones in 2023 are:

  • Apple iPhone 15 Pro – the best business phone from Apple; offers all-day battery, durable handset, and powerful processing
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro – essentially the Pro Max's younger brother; its more compact, lightweight design is great for doing business on the go
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – top chipset, powerful camera and a super high-res screen make this a great choice for running your business on the go
  • Google Pixel 8 Pro – fantastic integrations with (you guessed it) Google drive, this is the search giant's first attempt at an ultra-high-tech phone and it's certainly a success
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 – this ‘phablet' (phone/tablet) is the future of smartphones. Its dual display is excellent for messaging, multitasking, and video calling

The above list is a good place to start if you're looking for a reliable, effective business mobile phone. If you're looking to keep costs down, take a look at our list of best budget smartphones for business.

When should I switch my business mobile phone tariff?

If your business phone contract is drawing to an end, here are five reasons to consider switching your tariff:

  1. You’re paying too much and think you can find a better deal elsewhere
  2. You’re always having connectivity issues or running out of data
  3. You’re disappointed with the customer support team
  4. You want the latest handset model for yourself or your team
  5. You have multiple phones on different contracts and want to align them all to one provider

If you already have a business phone tariff, it's still a good idea to keep an eye out for competitor deals. The top three providers (Vodafone, O2, and EE) are constantly releasing new sign-up deals to entice switchers, so you could end up saving hundreds of pounds each month if you regularly change providers.

Remember, if your contract is coming to an end, you should also check first with the provider to see if they'll offer you a split deal. This is where the phone handset has been paid off, and so the network gives you a cheaper deal on your contract.

Still not sure?

Let us help. Our specially-designed, 100% free online comparison tool will match you with the most suitable mobile network providers for your needs in just one minute.

Compare business mobile deals

Now you have a better idea of what the mobile phone network providers are really like, the next step is to find out which ones are offering the best deals for the mobile phone you're interested in.

Every business will have different requirements from its mobile network. Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you pick out the best business mobile phone provider based on your specific organisational needs:

1. Is it good value for money?
2. What is the coverage like?
3. What customer support features are there? 

Above, our research team has reviewed the top providers based on these three questions. Save time and money by using our simple cost comparison form to be paired with the mobile network that best fits your business needs, today.

Save money and compare business mobile plans now Do you already have a business mobile plan? Compare quotes in just one minute
Business mobile phone FAQs
  • Are business mobile plans cheaper?
    Yes. Business mobile phone plans tend to prioritise data and call allowance, which is why they are usually the cheaper option for businesses compared to consumer mobile phone plans.
  • Can I get a phone contract through my business?
    Yes. Just make sure you sign up to the contract with your business name and information. Provided each staff member is only given one mobile, you can deduct the cost of each mobile phone and any related bills as a business expense.
  • Should I use a separate phone for business?
    Business phones look more professional to customers. They also ensure you are protecting potentially sensitive business data, and can be used to add useful customer service features like forwarding any calls to team members. Finally, they'll make work more manageable, as employees can more easily differentiate between work and personal calls.
  • What phone do most business owners use?
    Smartphones are definitely a must-have for a business phone, as the best option for on-the-go working and productivity. We recommend either the Google Pixel 7 Pro or the Apple iPhone 14 Pro as two good business models for 2023. is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.
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