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How to Choose the Best Phone Contract Deal

By Edited Dec 1, 2015 0 0

Mobile phone contracts are a confusing business. And with so many mobile service providers on the market, the resulting competition means that consumers are offered plenty of special deals. If you want to get the best deals that you can, and save a little money, then there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Here's our guide to getting the best mobile phone contract deals that you can get...

Get What You Need...

The first thing that you need to consider is what your needs are as a phone user. It can be tempting to sign up for a deal that has a low price, or a nice free phone, but if the calling plan isn't what you need you're not going to end up saving money. Analyse your mobile phone habits (or alternatively use an internet site that will analyse them for you) to find out how many calling minutes, text message and how much data you generally use. Then find a contract with a calling plan that meets those needs. A calling plan that's too big for you will end up with you paying for services that you don't use. A calling plan that's too small for you will end up with you paying extra fees for going over the limits of your plan. Whatever else you do, you must make sure that the calling plan is right for you, since this is the only way that you'll save money in the long term. In addition to this, make sure that you're going to get coverage with the provider you choose. Whilst most major providers have good coverage all over the UK, some areas are always better than others. And smaller, regional providers often have poor coverage outside of their region. You can always check coverage on the web site of the provider you're interested in. Alternatively, on the OFCOM web site there's a complete coverage map that shows all of the UK providers so you can see which one covers you best.

Go for Contract Deals that are Plan Only...

As counter-intuitive as it might sound, calling plan only deals are your best bet for money saving. You know all those phone contract deals where you get offered a free phone? Yeah, that phone isn't free at all, and you're going to end up paying over the odds to get it. This is hard for a lot of customers to believe, but it's easy to test. Say you're offered a deal with a hundred calling minutes, unlimited text messages, 1 GB of data and a free iPhone. Compare the monthly cost of that deal to the monthly cost of a simple calling plan with the same specs using the same company. You'll find that the cost of the calling plan alone is cheaper. The extra monthly charge that you pay for the calling plan with a free phone will cover the cost of the phone for the operator. In fact, it will more than cover the cost, since you nearly always end up paying over the retail cost of the phone during the course of your operator contract. By far the best deal that you can get is by buying the phone up front and signing up for just the calling plan. Do the math.

Look For Free Phone Services...

On the other hand, being offered free phone services to sign a contract is a no-brainer. Look for contract deals that either offer you additional minutes, text messages or data for free, or who offer you discounts for the first few months of service. This is usually something like half price service for three months before your contract goes up to its regular price. The truth is that though consumers pay fairly high prices for calling minutes and text messages, it costs mobile operators very little to provide these services, which is why they can easily afford to give you discounts whilst still making a profit. These kinds of deals are one of the rare situations when you really can get something for nothing.

Comparison Shop...

It's always best to shop around, but know what you want before you start looking. If you know what kind of plan you need then there are plenty of web sites where you can enter the number of minutes, messages and the amount of data that you need and then get a comparison of matching plans with different companies, usually along with any special offers that are available to you. This is by far the easiest way of deciding which plan to go for. Comparison shopping lets you see what's out there and compare prices without having to leave your computer. And you can be sure that you're not paying over the odds for something. Just make sure that you check out a few different sites, since not all sites survey all mobile providers.

Shop Online...

Wherever possible, shop online. You might have to go to a retail store to pick up the contract and sign it (or they may mail it to you), but you can still choose the contract online. Even major mobile phone operators offer discounted rates for shopping online, and you can often save money using these “internet only” deals. There's no scam involved at all, it's just that it's cheaper for operators to conduct business over the internet than it is for them to have retail stores and shop assistants, so they like to encourage online business. Having said that, it's always better to go with a major provider when online shopping, as opposed to going with a third party web site. Unless you know that the site you're dealing with has a good reputation, there's far more chance of you getting scammed using a third party web site. In particular, third parties tend to offer cash rebate deals that are rarely what they seem, so it's safer just to steer clear of them. However, online shopping will generally save you cash.



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