Telecoms Guides | Business vs personal phone contracts

Business vs personal phone contracts: what’s the difference?

The main difference between business vs personal phone contracts is mobile business contracts are designed for business use. They have clear invoices for tax reasons and can be part of an employee benefit package.

Many sole traders and small companies use personal phones for business use. But could business contract phones offer more benefits?

Continue reading to find out the differences between business and personal contract phones, or click below to see how business telecoms can help you save you time and money today!

Business women on phone

Business vs personal phone contracts explained

Business mobile contracts are similar to personal ones but are designed for business users. These contracts may vary, but you’re much more likely to find unlimited minutes and data on a business mobile.

Let’s break down the big differences.

Business contract phones Personal contract phones

Used by sole traders, employees and employers

Used by almost anyone

More likely to have unlimited data or shared pool for employees

Data allowance varies

Improved work life balance

Employees could receive notifications outside of work hours

Easy to manage accounts for taxes

Tricky filing to separate personal and business use

Should I get a phone contract for business use?

Self-employed workers and freelancers can get sole trader mobile phone contracts. A business phone could help you manage your accounts and work life.

For employers, these phones can be a great employee benefit and ensure your team can stay in touch remotely.

Are business phone contracts cheaper?

You may end up paying less than you would for a personal or consumer plan, as the VAT can be reclaimed if you’re a VAT-registered business.

You may also be able to claim the costs of the plan against your business which could save you money on corporate taxes too.

Best business phone contract providers in the UK

The best providers of UK mobile contracts are Vodafone and O2, especially contracts for business use.

These two big providers offer contracts with good benefits, a wide network, and a good variety of phone types. But which one should you pick? We dive into the details to help you find your business contract phones provider.

Mobile provider Benefits


5G, VeryMe Rewards, addons, unlimited data


SIM-only plans, business calls abroad, data pool
Man stressing about work

Overall, O2 is better for growing businesses, start-ups, and medium-large businesses that need high flexibility.

For the self-employed and most other types, a Vodafone phone contract for businesses works very well for extra benefits and convenient plan types.

We take a look at the two leading providers of business mobile services in the UK: Vodafone and O2.

Vodafone Business contract mobiles benefits and features

When choosing a Vodafone business plan, you’ll still get all of the regular benefits available on personal phone plans. This means 5G coverage, unlimited data, VeryMe Rewards and Entertainment add-ons.

On top of this, you can then choose the business-specific features you want. These include HR and legal support, device support and a virtual landline number – all of which can be extremely useful for small businesses.

With Vodafone, you can get a business mobile plan for the same cost as a standard personal mobile plan.

Vodafone’s business mobile plans include the following features:

Clear VAT invoices with Vodafone business mobile

Consumer mobile phone invoices are usually lacking in any detail and you have to pay extra for call itemisation, or anything else that helps you analyse how to keep spending under control.

Business mobile invoices split out the VAT for you and offer a variety of other data.

GigaCube 4G & 5G Broadband on mobile business contracts

A 4G or 5G-powered home office or small office broadband service allows you to access the internet without a phone line or cable connection. This is useful if you often work away from the office.

Pay monthly handsets

You can buy smartphones for your company on a business contract with Vodafone, from manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google and Sony. The handsets cost the same on business price plans as on standard personal plans.

Pay monthly SIM cards

The Vodafone Red or Vodafone Unlimited SIM cards are available for business mobile phones.

Fibre Broadband

A ‘superfast’ fibre broadband service with speeds of either 35Mbit/s or 63Mbit/s can be included in business mobile plans.

O2 Business contract mobiles: benefits and features

O2 offer business mobile plans designed around making it easy for you to change the number of phones or other details as your business needs change.

Its website says ‘Our Business Essentials tariffs are designed for small businesses, and they offer simplicity and flexibility. You can upgrade and add apps or devices when you need.’

These are some of the characteristics O2 business mobile plans offer.:

SIM only plans for businesses

You can pay for a business SIM from O2 while using your own personal mobile phone.

You get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, you choose how much data you want and you get business extras The O2 website says these include, ‘flexing your data once a month, connecting for free at O2 wi-fi hotspots, and enjoying daily offers with Priority.’

Share data allowances between employees and use data rollover

Some of your employees will use more data than others. With O2 sharer tariffs, you can share a pot of data allowance between all of them. This can help you go for a cheaper data allowance option, since the spare data notr needed by one employee can go to another one automatically.

O2 will roll your data over if you haven’t used it, helping you iron out the peaks and troughs in your data demand.

Adding connections when your business grows

If you need more connections, you can add to an O2 business mobile contract or remove them whenever you need to.

iCompario tip: Consider business mobiles without a new handset

SIM-only cards for business are a more cost-effective solution if you already have a bunch of handsets or your employees would rather use their own handsets.

Also, if your employees travel a lot, but need constant access to data, consider getting a business data SIM. This type of SIM cards works on any device that has a SIM slot, tablets and laptops included.

Business calls abroad

O2 business mobile contracts let you buy individual and or shared international minutes that you can swap between employees, for the countries and regions your employees call most often.

You can also add roaming to your O2 business plan, only paying upfront for the countries or regions you or your employees travel to the most.

Clear VAT invoices with business mobile

O2 Business mobile invoices split out the VAT for you and offer a variety of other data. Having all your employees on the same bill makes it easier to manage your accounts every month.

Benefits of mobile business contracts

A personal phone contract can be enough for some workers, but you’re missing out on many of the benefits of business phones.

1. Improve your work life balance with a business phone

Personal phones work well when you’re just starting out as a sole trader or work in a small team.

However, getting notifications on your phone outside of work hours can create a poor work-life balance. 67% of UK workers feel pressure to check emails outside of work. Switching off is harder when you’re carrying your work emails in your pocket every single day.

To help you and your team find balance, get phone contracts for business use.

2. Get a separate phone number for work use

For many sole traders, minutes can easily be eaten up on personal phone calls and texts to family and friends. Having the same phone for business and personal use can easily muddle up your phone contacts.

Having a different mobile number for business use means you can easily separate clients from personal contacts and avoid distractions you’d get on your personal phone.

3. Accurate phone usage for tax calculations

For many employers and sole traders, calculating phone usage for tax claims means grabbing a calculator, a pile of paperwork, and a painkiller for the aftermath.

To help reduce time spent on admin, simply use a business phone. This way, you don’t have to calculate how much time you spent on business vs personal calls. It’s as simple as checking your overall usage and putting that down for your tax claims.

Should you get a contract with pop up mobile hotspots?

4G mobile hotspots for “internet on the go” mean your employees can basically take the office wi-fi to temporary locations like trade shows, exhibitions or field offices. They can even use it in moving vehicles.

A 4G mobile hotspot is also sometimes called a temporary event wi-fi hotspot or a portable Wi-Fi router. It connects to your chosen mobile network and broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal.

They can keep around 10 different devices online at a time, although some support fewer and some support more. Your team can then connect their laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile hardware to the mobile hotspot’s signal, and use the internet wherever they need to work.

This is an option that can be shared by anyone in the company, making it more flexible than individual mobile broadband for specific devices.

If you’re interested in getting mobile hotspots, ask your provider these questions to see how they can help:

  • What is the distance range of the device? How many devices can connect to the hotspot at a time?
  • What is involved in setting it up?
  • What info does the hotspot screen display? Most show battery, signal and data usage.

How to get a good UK mobile contract

First time getting a phone contract for business use? No worries. Here’s our threeX steps to getting the best business mobile contract possible.

1. Consider a telecoms reseller to get your phones

Telecoms resellers are businesses that specialise in the latest business communications. Many of them offer the best and brand new top of the range smartphones on a business mobile contract.

Ask to see the telecoms reseller’s service level agreement

If you go through a telecoms reseller, the main way they add value is through customer support.

They should be able to make sure your problems get sorted rapidly after a quick phone call, rather than leaving you hanging on for ages to a massive call centre or waiting ours for someone to address your problem.

Woman in call centre

2. Check the service level agreement

Service level agreements usually give the specifics of the maximum time you will have to wait for different types of service and the penalties they will pay if they fail to deliver – which may be refunds to you.

iCompario tip:

If you’re not used to reading service level agreements, do some research on Google to find out the types of clauses they should contain and what to expect.

They may cover any and every mobile phone problem from new connections, device management and tariff changes to operational queries and more.

3. Ask about the telecom reseller’s call centre

Do you want to use an overseas call centre? We didn’t think so. Do you want your problem fixed in days or hours or minutes? Ask your provider their average time to resolve problems.

Do they have a single call centre for all problems? Or will you have to go to different people to add new starters to your company onto the business mobile contract, or deal with accidental bill spikes, broken phones, trips abroad, security updates and so on?

As a free comparison site, iCompario can help you find the right business mobiles and SIM deals, internet phones, broadband and any other communications solution you need, for the right price.

business woman in airport

Questions to ask before you sign a phone contract for business

Your business mobile contract provider should be able to give you flexible business mobile tariffs tailored to your requirements, with either monthly allowances or top ups as your business needs.

Some questions to ask a provider:

  • What help with installation do you offer? Do you give support with set up and training?
  • How fast and reliable is the 4G connectivity?
  • Which networks do you offer: Vodafone, O2 and EE or others?
  • How flexible are your mobile broadband data tariffs and what are the data amounts I can choose from? Do I have to stick to monthly data allowances, or can I top up as needed?

Where to get mobile business contracts

You can get contracts directly from providers, but you’ll miss out on deals and offers from other companies. To find the latest deals for the best smartphones, compare offers and find a deal that matches your business needs.

Read more about telecoms on iCompario

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