[Written By External Partner]
Choosing the right mobile plan is more than just going into a random mobile services provider shop and picking one without giving it second thoughts. That’s how many people find themselves overpaying for something that they don’t even use that much, and if you don’t want it to happen to you, it might be worth making some time to do proper research regarding the available options.
So, what are some of the things you need to take into consideration before making a commitment to a specific mobile plan?
There are a few things you should consider before making this rather important decision, with the main ones being which provider to choose and which type of mobile plan will be the most suitable for your mobile habits (sim-only, pay as you go or contract being the most common options). Let’s get into more detail about each of them.
In order to narrow down the search, the first thing you should consider is whether you have a specific provider in mind. Have you been using one for a while and want to continue because you’re happy with them? Or maybe quite the opposite; you’ve had one of the worst experiences with a specific provider and would like to stay clear of them?
A good idea here is to ask around your friends and family – this way, you’ll get an idea of how a specific provider actually performs and not how their marketing team says they do. You can also read online reviews, or check out their social media to see if anyone left a comment sharing their bad experience with a specific provider.
How much do you use your phone? Are the current limits you have enough, or maybe you always end up running out of them? If your phone is not a big part of your life, in the sense that you only reach for it every once in a while to call someone or Google something, then there’s no point in going for the biggest packages out there, as you simply won’t use them up.
Another thing you should consider here are your travel habits. Do you travel abroad a lot and need a plan that will take that into account? Picking the wrong plan and using your phone abroad might end up being a very expensive mistake, which is why you need to assess beforehand what your mobile needs in terms of travel are.
There are three main types of mobile plans that people opt for. All of them have their good and bad sides, so let’s take a look at them:
- SIM-only – This is a good option if you have a phone that you like and don’t want to change it. Although it also requires you to sign a contract, the rates are typically more favorable than when you purchase a contract with a new phone. Keep in mind, however, that SIM-only contracts do typically require a credit check, so if you have poor credit or no credit history at all, it might be harder to get a deal.
- Contract – A contract is a good choice when you want to stick to one provider for a longer period. Also, with a contract, you get to pick a new phone at a more affordable price than you would get it for if you were to buy it from the electronics store, which means lower upfront costs. The downside to this type of mobile plan is that you have to commit to a provider for a specific number of months (typically ranging from 24 to 36), and if you want to end it earlier, you will have to pay a fee, which can be quite high depending on your contract’s specific terms.
- Pay as you go – Also known as PAYG, this is a good solution for those who don’t use their phone that much, since they only pay for how much they’re going to use up. It’s also the most flexible option out of the three, as you’re not committed to one provider and can change it with no consequences if you’re not satisfied with the service. As for the cons of this mobile plan type, PAYG plans have a limit that, depending on how you use your phone, you might run out of. If that happens, you can either wait until the next cycle or buy an additional package, which is not often possible if you want to stick to a specific budget.
If you have a specific amount of money you can spend on your mobile plan each month, this is definitely something to take into consideration. Having a functioning phone is important to communicate with your loved ones, but there’s no point in stretching your budget.
Once you understand what your needs are and how much you can afford to spend monthly, it might be a good idea to shop around different providers. Who knows, you might find that two providers are offering almost the same service but at extremely different prices.
The last thing you should look at when choosing a mobile plan, although not as important as the ones mentioned above, is whether there are plans that come with additional features. Many mobile service providers add some kind of subscription as a way to encourage users to sign up with them. For example, they might offer three months of Spotify Premium or Apple Music for free.
While it shouldn’t be the main deciding factor when choosing a mobile plan, it can be a great way to help you choose when you have two very similar mobile plans at similar price points.
Choosing the right mobile plan for your needs can affect how much you spend every month on maintaining your mobile service, which is why it shouldn’t be something that you take lightly. Take your time, do some research, and ask around so that you can make the best decision for your mobile needs.