Signing mobile contracts is a great way for most people to get reliable mobile service at the best prices. But you shouldn’t just sign any contract. There are some things that you need to think about before signing up for service, and some info that you need to take note of when you’re signing too. If you’re in the process of getting a new mobile service, signing a new contract or thinking about switching providers or plans, then here’s all you need to know to get with the ball game…
Do Mobile Contracts Save Money?
Okay, the basic rule here is based on your phone usage. If you’re a moderate or heavy phone user, then, yes, signing a mobile contract is going to save you cash. If you’re a light user, then, no, it’s not. A light user is someone who uses only around thirty calling minutes a week, sends three to four text messages a day and who uses mobile data just for emailing and maybe a little casual surfing. You might be wondering why this is. The thing is that mobile contracts have limits for the amount of calling minutes, texts and mobile data that you can use per month. And for light users, these limits tend to be way too big, a light user will never come close to using all the minutes, texts and data in his or her plan. So, while pay as you go plans might have more expensive rates, light users end up saving money anyway because they’re only paying for services that they actually use.
Incentive or SIM Only, What’s the Difference?
Mobile operators offer two kinds of contracts. A SIM only contract will get you a SIM card and a calling plan, whilst an incentive contract will get you a SIM card, a calling plan and a free or cheap mobile phone. Monthly prices for incentive contracts are higher than those for SIM only contracts, even when the two contracts have exactly the same calling plan, since this is how the operator makes sure you pay for the phone you get. It’s up to you which one you sign. If you go for a SIM only contract though, you’ll have to make sure that you already have a phone to use, or you’ll need to go out and buy one. On an incentive contract you’ll pay more, but you’ll also walk out of the shop with a phone in your hand.
Is There a Difference Between Long and Short Contracts?
Yes, there is. Most operators will give you either a twenty four month or a twelve month contract, and some will even give you an eighteen month contract. If you go for a SIM only contract you might find that you can even get thirty day contracts. Usually, the longer your contract is the cheaper your monthly payment will be. But you need to make sure that you really want to sign a longer contract. Going for a twenty four month contract might be cheaper, but it also means that you’re tied to the same operator and maybe even the same calling plan for a much lengthier period.
Can I Get Out of a Contract?
Yes, once signed you can leave a contract if you want to, but it’s going to cost you. Most operators charge a flat fee per month remaining in your contract if you decide to terminate early. The flat fee depends on the company, but it’s not going to be cheap. And if you signed an incentive contract you’ll probably also need to pay the remaining balance on the cost of the phone that you got. There are some cases when customers can leave a contract for free. These include moving to an area where the operator doesn’t have coverage or if the operator decides to change their fees. But getting free cancellation can be a lengthy and complicated process, so don’t count on it.
What’s All This about Emergency Procedures?
One very important thing that you should ask before signing your contract is what the operator’s emergency procedures are like. For example, if your phone gets stolen and the thief makes long distance calls on your phone, are you responsible for the charges? Operators have different processes for these situations. Some will require that you call customer service as soon as possible to report a theft, whilst others will require that you get a police report. This can be extremely important, since if you don’t follow the correct procedure you may find yourself paying a lot of money for someone else to use your phone.
What Do I Need to Sign a Contract?
You do need to be legally able to sign a contract, which means being over eighteen and a legal UK resident. You’ll also probably need to pass a credit check, since most companies require them nowadays, particularly for incentive contracts though not always for SIM only ones. Other than that, you’ll need to know what kind of contract you want, which calling plan you want, and some form of identification. You may require a bank card or credit card with some operators, depending on how you’re intending to pay your monthly bill.
A Calling Plan?
A contract always comes with a calling plan. This is basically a set of monthly limits for how many calling minutes and text messages and how much data you can use for your monthly fee. The bigger your limits are the bigger your monthly fee will be. You should have a fair idea of what you want before you go in, since mobile operator salespeople will try to upsell you and persuade you to go for a bigger package than you need. A calling plan of the wrong size will inevitably end up costing you money, either because you’re paying for services that you’re not using or because you’re using more than your monthly limits and paying expensive extra charges. So it’s important that you have a clear idea of what your average mobile use looks like.
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