Guest post by Kathryn Thompson
Making the choice between the hundreds of cell phones on the market today is a near impossible task unless you’re a dedicated fan of one particular brand or model. Having made the decision, you then have to work out whether you want to opt for a prepaid tariff or a contract, tying you into a deal with your network provider for a longer term at a set fee with pre-agreed terms relating to call time, data and messages.
One thing you need to consider when looking at cell phone plans is that if you take out a contract and decide to break it, you will be charged by the carrier. This is one factor that persuades many to take our prepaid deals, but many still opt for the contractual plans to give them guaranteed minutes, messages and data.
With all plans – contractual or prepaid – you’ll be limited in what you can do. For instance, you can only use what you pay for with a prepaid deal, and you’ll be charged, often substantially, if you use too much, (ie send too many messages or spend too long making calls). Similarly, you get a limited amount of minutes, data usage and messages with a contract, but if you take out a deal which covers you for what you need, you shouldn’t ever go over – in theory!
In most cases, you’re better off overestimating how much you’ll use than underestimating. If you travel with work a lot, you know you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time on the phone calling clients, the office and family, or online responding to emails and Tweets. For this reason it makes sense to go slightly above what you may use to ensure that you’re covered for particularly hectic periods where you never seem to come off the phone!
You need to ensure that you read all of your contract. So many customers, on all kinds of cell phone plans, are unaware of hidden charges relating to using their phone abroad, calling certain numbers and overtime to name just a few, that they get quite a shock when they read their bill at the end of the month. Make sure you know how much it costs to use your phone for certain purposes.
A lot of carriers now offer ‘bolt on’ packages, which enable customers to add what are effectively rewards to their call plans. Some include free messages, others feature unlimited data usage, others offer free calls to certain numbers, so it pays to research this before you sign your agreement – you could get more for less!