Mobile phone plan or prepaid option? How can you decide what’s right for you?
According to Canstar Blue’s research, 74% of plan users feel that they offer better value for money than a prepaid option, while 78% of those on a prepaid option feel that prepaid is better value for money than a plan. Surely they can’t both be right?
Perhaps they can. After all, value is in the eye of the beholder.
We also spoke to Channel Nine news on this subject.
In favour of prepaid phone options
If you don’t use your phone a great deal, if you’re not into the range of Aussie movie and TV streaming services now available; if you’re on a tight budget or perhaps paying for someone elses’ phone, prepaid could be the option for you.
“Prepaid gives customers ultimate spending control – if you don’t have credit, you can’t blow your budget,” explains amaysim’s Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Gerard Mansour.
“It’s particularly useful for people on low or fixed incomes as well as parents looking to control their kids’ spending and teach them about financial responsibility. If children go through their allocated credit before a certain date, having to ask mum and dad for more is a great way to learn how to monitor usage (and perhaps they will end up washing a few dishes to earn the extra credit!)”
And then there are phone expiations. While there seems to be a new iPhone model every few months or so, and an upgraded Galaxy every other month, only 18% of Canstar Blue’s survey respondents who used a prepaid option expected their phone to last less than two years. We’re a thrifty bunch.
In favour of phone plans
Depending on the length of your phone plan, it does afford you the ability to upgrade your handset semi-regularly and 66% of the Canstar Blue survey respondents who were on a phone plan did indeed acquire their handset this way.
Everyone has different needs and wants though, and it’s important to choose a plan which is going to suit you. Mr Mansour recommends keeping the following in mind:
“The old saying goes, “if it is too good to be true then it probably is.” Make sure you don’t sign up for more than you bargained for, like a one or two year set of handcuffs and spend commitment in exchange for a ‘free’ handset,” cautions Mr Mansour. “Sometimes it’s cheaper to go for a SIM-only plan and bring your own handset.”
There are a huge range of smartphones available these days, so if you don’t need the latest and greatest smartphone, there are definitely savings to be had.
Sometimes, things do go wrong so it is worth finding out what kind of support your telco offers. “Don’t wait until there’s a problem to do this; find out in advance who will be there to help and if you can help yourself,” says Mr Mansour. “More and more people are looking to areas like DIY self-service, Live Chat and social media for support, so make sure you have options available if you do need to get something sorted.”
Price is definitely a key consideration when choosing a phone plan. You need to find a plan that suits your budget as well as your lifestyle. “If you choose a plan that doesn’t allow for lots of usage, if you’re a regular user of your phone, you could be on a fast-track to additional charges,” says Mr Mansour. “On the other end of the scale, if you choose a plan with all the bells and whistles but you don’t need them, you may end up paying for things you don’t need – kind of like always having to throw out half of the food in your fridge because you buy too much every week. When pricing a plan, ask questions such as, how much do calls and texts cost? How much data is included? What are the extras hidden in the fine print? If you can’t easily find out this information, it might be time to keep shopping.”