Mobile phones are really a necessity for a lot of people nowadays. Not only do you get constant contact, but you can also use your phone for a whole host of other things, from internet shopping to getting directions when you’re lost. Many people choose to go with monthly contracts, where they pay a fixed amount of money per month for a fixed amount of service. However, there is another option. Pay as you go services aren’t as popular as they once were, but they’re still offered by all major mobile service providers. And pay as you go can be a great option for some people, even those that own smart phones. If you’re thinking about getting a new phone plan, or you’re dissatisfied with your old plan, then you might want to consider going with pay as you go. Today we’re talking about why pay as you go might be a good idea, and who can benefit from it.
The Problem with Monthly Contracts…
Monthly contracts are great for some people. However, there are a couple of disadvantages to signing a contract. Firstly, one of the main problems with signing a monthly contract is that you’re locked in to using one network for the duration of your contract. Sometimes that’s as long as two years. This means that should you find a better deal with another provider, or should you move to an area where your current provider doesn’t have good coverage, you won’t be able to switch providers without paying a large fee to terminate your contract early. The second problem with signing a monthly contract is that contracts come with a calling plan. This calling plan will set limits for the amount of calling minutes that you can use, the amount of text messages that you can send, and the amount of internet surfing that you can do. And if you’re a big user, you’ll benefit from these plans, since prices per minute, per message and per MB of data tend to be lower than if you compare to pay as you go tariffs. However, if you’re a lighter user you often end up using far less minutes, texts and data than is included in your plan. This means that you’re paying for plenty of services that you’re not using, which really doesn’t seem like a great idea.
How Pay as You Go Works…
Pay as you go plans don’t have monthly bills, and they don’t have calling plans either. You go to a mobile service provider and buy a SIM card for their network. You then put credit on the SIM card, and use your phone as you wish. When the credit runs out, your phone stops working, and you’ll need to go ahead and top your card up with more credit if you wish to continue using your phone. You don’t sign a contract, and you’re free to switch to another network, or switch to a monthly contract plan with your current network or another network, whenever you please. It’s that simple.
How to Compare Pay as You Go Tariffs…
When you compare pay as you go tariffs there are a few things that you want to look at. Obviously the prices are important.
An average calling minute on a pay as you go tariff will cost about 25p, but that varies by provider. You also might find that the charge for calling minutes depends on whether you’re calling a phone in the same network, a phone on another network, or a land line phone. If the majority of your friends and family use one network, you might want to also go with that network, since you’ll probably end up saving money on calling minutes.
Text message rates are fairly standard across all networks, being 12p per message.
Where rates vary most widely is with data usage. If you use plenty of data you might want to check very carefully what data tariffs are like on different plans. Some are a lot more expensive than others. At the very least you’ll want to look for a tariff that has a maximum daily spending limit, which will cap how much money you’re charged- though it won’t cap how much data you can use. Finally, another thing to look at as you compare pay as you go tariffs are the special rewards that networks offer you.
Nearly all networks have a range of rewards that they offer when customers top up their SIM cards on a regular basis. These rewards range from free services, such as extra calling minutes, messages or data, to top up return schemes. In certain cases some of your credit will be refunded for every top up that you make. You can also get deals that give you cheaper calling to certain numbers, which is useful if you regularly call certain people on your contact list. You should look at all of these factors when shopping around for a good pay as you go tariff, and choose the plan that meets your needs best.
The Down Sides of Pay as You Go…
There are some disadvantages to signing up for pay as you go programmes. The first is that you won’t be eligible to receive a free or discounted mobile phone. These deals are solely reserved for people who sign monthly contracts. If you need a new mobile and can’t afford to pay for one up front, then you’re going to have to sign a contract to get one. Pay as you go requires that you either already have a phone, or that you’re willing to buy one up front for full price. Secondly, pay as you go requires that you keep an eye on your credit level. If your credit runs out you won’t be able to call or send messages, and this can be inconvenient, particularly late at night. Thirdly, pay as you go deals are simply not made for larger users. If you frequently use your phone, and use up your limits on a monthly contract, then there’s no benefit in you switching to pay as you go, because you’ll simply end up paying more for your services.
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