So you have had your eyes on a new phone that is being released and you have decided to take out a contract for your desired handset. If you have not had a phone contract before then you may find it confusing as to what to go for. Spending more money will generally give you more talking time and messages, but do you need that many?
If you are moving from Pay as You Go (PAYG) you may think to yourself that you do not spend that much time talking on your phone, and so a larger amount of minutes is not necessary. Bear in mind that talking on a PAYG phone can be a great deal more expensive and so you may have adjusted your phone habits to take account of this – by mainly just receiving phone calls than making them for example.
Once you have a contract and are paying a fixed monthly fee you may possibly find yourself making phone calls much more often. With a contract you will be given a fixed amount of minutes per month which will be included in your monthly fee, but if you go over this allotted time then you may be charged extra money. Because of this it is important that you pick the right amount of minutes.
At the same time, if you get more minutes than you actually need then you may be wasting money on a more expensive contract. Try and consider how much you are realistically likely to be making phone calls. For many people, 300 minutes (5 hours) may be more than enough, but if you like a good chat on the phone it may be worthwhile opting for more.
Some network providers may offer ‘unlimited minutes’. You should be careful here because this does not mean that you can talk to your heart’s content. ‘Unlimited minutes’, ironically, used to be limited to a certain amount, such as 3000. Now many operators will have a fair usage policy, so while your minutes may be ‘unlimited’ there can be repercussions if the network feels that you are abusing their services by making too many phone calls.
How many text messages are you likely to send? With included text messages you may find yourself sending many more messages than you used to. Most network providers will be fairly generous with the amount of messages they offer on most phone contracts, but younger phone users tend to send a very large amount of text messages, often going over a 5000 message limit. You should perhaps bear this in mind if you are buying a phone for your child or a younger person, as they may easily exceed a lower message limit and incur additional charges.
Again, networks may offer unlimited messages although there will be a fair usage policy in place here as well. Before signing up to a contract, be sure to check the fair usage policy of your chosen network so that you know what they rules are and can avoid additional charges for your new contract.
Many modern phones, particularly the more expensive ones, now come with various means of connecting to the internet. If your chosen phone features Wi-Fi then you will be able to connect it to your home network, or other networks, without incurring any charges. However, sometimes you may not be near a wireless network that you are able to connect to and so in such instances you can connect to the internet via 3G.
It is with 3G internet connections that you will be charged money as they make use of your network. Because phones are becoming one of the main methods of browsing the web many phone contracts will now come with a data allowance. These will typically be for 100MB, 500MB or 1GB per month.
Again, you will need to assess how much internet data you actually need, as you can pick up a cheaper contract by choosing the correct data allowance suited to your needs. If you just need to check your emails, occasionally look something up or use a map service to help you when you are lost then you will probably get by with 100MB.
If you are going to be doing heavier web browsing then you may be better suited to 500MB, and using multiplayer games or constant video streaming from services like YouTube may require you to get the larger 1GB of data on offer.
Once again, networks will offer unlimited data allowances although these may have a fair usage limit for excessive use. You can find out what is considered excessive use by your chosen network by reading their fair usage policy.
It should also be noted that you should not assume that a contract comes with data allowance, because many contracts do not. If your chosen contract makes no mention of data allowance then it may not be included. Most networks will allow you to add some data allowance on to these contracts for an additional fee, although this might not be as economical as finding a contract with the data allowance included in the first place.
Most phones can be taken out on a 12 month, 18 month or 24 month contract. The most common contracts are for 24 months, as these allow the networks to generate the most revenue and so at the same time they are often able to offer the phone for free.
Shorter 18 month and 12 month contracts may be better because you are not tied down for 2 years, and so will not be paying the monthly fee for quite as long. Shorter contracts, however, may mean paying a larger monthly fee and they may require you to pay for some or all of the cost of the phone, particularly with 12 month contracts.
So here there is a trade off. A longer 24 month contract may be more economical and provide you with a free phone but at the same time will tie you to a handset that may feel out of date and behind the times a few months down the line. Shorter contracts will allow you to change your phone more often but will work out being more expensive, particularly with the upfront cost of the handset.
How to find the cheapest contract
As there are so many different options available for most phones it can still be tricky to pick the best contract for your chosen handset even if you have determined how many minutes, messages and data you need. This is because there will be contracts offered with the same minutes, messages and data but at different prices, even from the same network.
You could find an ideal contract for your chosen phone only to discover later that you could get the same deal for much less. This is why it can be beneficial to use comparison websites, like Best-Mobile-Contracts, as these can help you to find the best value for money contract for you desired handset in a matter of moments.
By simply selecting your desired minutes, texts and data as well as your preferred contract length you can be presented with all contracts that fit your criteria and be enjoying your new phone in no time, comfortable in the knowledge that you picked the best deal on offer and have not ended up paying too much money.
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