What to Think About When Looking for a Mobile Contract
This article guides you through the main points you need to look for when considering getting a mobile phone contract to enable you to make the best choice.
Choosing a new mobile phone contract can be a difficult proposition. There are so many different operators to choose from on the UK market, and so many different contract options, that knowing which one is the best choice for you is tough. But the right contract is instrumental in saving you money. Today we're discussing the things that you need to keep in mind while you're mobile contract shopping to make sure that you're getting the plan that's right for you. So, if you're looking to sign a new service contract, then read on to get all the information you need to make a good decision.
Why You Need to Consider Mobile Phone Coverage...
One of the first things that you should do when looking for a new contract is to check into mobile phone coverage. Not all operators offer the same kinds of coverage in all areas. Coverage depends on how many cell towers the operator has working in a location, with more towers meaning better cell phone reception. Poor mobile phone coverage will result in bad mobile phone reception, and that will mean bad call quality, slow mobile internet, and maybe even that your phone won't work at all. It's obviously not a good idea to sign up with an operator that doesn't have good coverage in your area. Urban residents will probably find that they have good coverage with all operators, but rural customers will have more problems, and will probably find that their choice of operators in limited. Checking out coverage is simple, just head to the OFCOM web site where you'll find a comparative coverage map of all the major UK operators.
SIM Only Contracts Have Better Long Term Savings...
Mobile operators offer two kinds of contract: incentive and SIM only. Both of these contracts will give you a service plan, but an incentive contract will also give you a mobile phone. These phones are generally free, though top end models may have a small down payment. However, it's important that you remember that the phone that you get is not free, you are simply buying it in instalments, and your monthly bill will be higher to reflect the cost of the phone. Worse, when you add up all the instalments that you have to pay you'll find that you pay more than the actual retail cost of the phone over the duration of your contract. If you're looking for long term savings, it's a far better idea to buy a phone yourself and then sign a SIM only contract, since you'll save money in the long term. You should only sign an incentive contract if you really need a phone and don't have the money to buy one up front.
You Might Not Need a Contract...
Whilst mobile contracts are the most popular option for mobile service, they're not always the best deal for everyone. Your other option is to get a pay as you go plan. With these plans you buy a SIM card and load it with credit, and every time you use your phone, credit is subtracted from your account. When the credit is gone, you'll need to add more money to the account. Rates on pay as you go plans do tend to be higher than on contracts. However, light phone users tend to benefit more from pay as you go plans than from contracts. This is because light phone customers don't use up the monthly limits that are included in mobile contracts, and so have to pay for services that they don't use. If you find that when you're looking at contract options the monthly limits are higher than you need, then you might want to consider a pay as you go option instead.
The Right Calling Plan is Key...
All mobile contracts come with a calling plan, or a set of limits for the amount of calling minutes, mobile data and text messages that you can use every month for a fixed monthly fee. Getting a plan that's the right size for you can be tricky, but it is important since the wrong size of plan will cost you money. This is because when a plan is too big you end up paying for services that you don't use, you'll be paying the same monthly fee regardless of whether you use all the minutes, texts and data in your limits or none of them. On the other hand, when a plan is too small you'll break your calling plan limits. And this means that you have to pay not only your regular monthly payment, but also expensive premium rates on any extra minutes, texts or data that you use. Contract Length Can Be Important Too...
Finally, you're also going to want to look at the length of the contract you're signing. Most companies will offer twelve, eighteen or twenty four month contracts. Some SIM only contracts are for thirty day rolling periods, meaning that the contract will automatically renew every month until you stop service. Usually, longer contracts have cheaper monthly payments. This is particularly true for incentive contracts, since the cost of the phone is divided into more payments making each individual payment lower. But even on SIM only contracts you sometimes find that longer contracts are cheaper. But don't forget that you need to be able to make that commitment; once a contract is signed it's going to be expensive and difficult to break it. Take into account the fact that your financial circumstances may change, or you might want to switch operators to get a better deal. A longer contract might be cheaper, but it also might not be a realistic option for you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When looking to upgrade his handset, Sam Jones had to consider the mobile phone coverage at both his home and office. uSwitch and other price comparison sites were really helpful in getting him a great deal