Want to Sign a Mobile Contract? Read This First

Looking to sign a new mobile contract? Maybe you’re a little overwhelmed with all the different mobile phone networks and contract options that you have. But there are some things that you should be aware of before you start signing contracts. These are things that will not only help you decide which contract is best for you, but also things that will save you money. So before you sign up for service, read on to find out all you need to know…

Not All Mobile Phone Networks Offer the Same Coverage

Coverage is an incredibly important issue when it comes to choosing between mobile phone networks. When you sign up for service you’ll get a SIM card which will allow you access to that operator’s network. The operator has cell towers that broadcast a signal; your phone picks up this signal and gets reception. The more towers in your area, the better your phone reception will be. But not all networks have the same numbers of towers in all areas. Should you sign up for service with an operator that doesn’t get good coverage where you live your phone might not work, and even if it does, you’ll probably get bad call quality and slow mobile data speeds. You should check out coverage before you sign, and not only in your home area, but also in other areas where you spend a lot of time, such as where you work. Operators have coverage maps on their web sites, so make sure you check them.

An Incentive Contract Will Be More Expensive

You’ll notice that operators have two contract options. A SIM only contract will give you a calling plan for service, and an incentive contract will give you a calling plan plus a mobile phone, sometimes for free, sometimes for a low down payment. If you compare the monthly cost of an incentive contract and a SIM only contract with the same calling plan, you’ll see that the incentive contract is more expensive. This is because you’re buying that phone in instalments, and the cost is added into your monthly bill. Add up all those instalments, and you’ll see that you end up paying more than the ticket price of the phone that you’re given. Many people don’t mind paying a little more for the convenience of not paying full up front price for a phone. But you should know that in terms of savings, an incentive contract is going to end up more expensive than a SIM only contract, even if you pay full price to buy your own phone.

The Length of Your Contract is Important

With most operators you’ll be able to choose between contract length options. These are generally twelve, eighteen and twenty four month options. Usually, the longer your contract is the cheaper your monthly payments will be. This is especially true with incentive contracts (since the price of the phone will be split into more instalments, making each individual payment cheaper), but can also be true for SIM only contracts. However, you are going to want to consider how long you can commit to very carefully. This is because once signed it is difficult and costly to break a mobile contract. Contracts will include a non-completion clause which will allow the company to penalise you for not completing the contract in order to compensate them for lost business. This penalty tends to be a fixed rate that is multiplied by the number of months remaining in the contract when you stop service. With one or two months remaining this might not be such a huge amount of money, but it does add up very quickly. On top of that, if you have an incentive contract you will also have to pay all the remaining instalments on the phone in a lump sum before ending your service. Remember when signing up that things can change. Your financial circumstances might change, for example, leaving you stuck paying mobile bills that you can’t really afford.

Know How to Choose a Calling Plan

When you sign a contract you will have to choose a calling plan. This will give you a set amount of calling minutes, text messages and mobile data that you can use every month. It’s important that you choose the right calling plan, since this will help save you money, but this can be tough since you’re basically estimating what you’re going to need. There are two ways that you can make this estimate. If you’ve had a mobile contract before, just look at a few of the old bills and work out your average usage. You can then choose a plan that comes closest to what you usually use. If this isn’t possible then it might be a good plan to get yourself a pay as you go phone for a couple of months. This way you’ll be able to monitor your usage and better decide on a calling plan.

Do the Research

Finally, before you sign that contract, read the small print. Everyone knows that they should do this, and yet few people do. Go online to the operator’s web page and find their terms and conditions page and read it. There is one particularly important piece of information that you’re looking for. Operators have different emergency procedures, and you want to know what the procedures are for your contract. For example, if your phone is stolen, what should you do? You don’t want to have to pay for services that a thief is using on your mobile, but if you don’t follow the correct procedure then you will be legally required to do this. Some operators want you to call the customer service line, some require a police report. It really does depend on the provider. You should also keep an eye out for information pertaining to when you can cancel a contract at no charge. Some operators will give you a couple of weeks grace period at the beginning of a contract to cancel if you’re not satisfied. Others will let you cancel if you’re moving out of a service area. It’s best to know all this info in advance.

Sam Jones wanted to change mobile phone networks but needed a cost effective deal. He shopped around on price comparison sites like uSwitch before signing any contract

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