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Finding the Best Mobile Plan for Your Money

These days, it seems almost impossible to not own a cell phone. Not only are they convenient, but they have become so omnipresent that landlines are coming closer and closer to obsolescence. So, now the question is what is the right plan for you?

There are so many options out there, it can be difficult to know what you want, or if you are getting the best deal possible. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of phone you want – a simple mobile phone that only makes phone calls and sends texts, a feature phone that adds extra functionality such as a camera, or an outright smartphone. It all depends on how much you plan to use your phone, your purpose in using it, and how much you want to spend.

The next step is deciding on the type of plan will again best fit your needs both financially and practically. There are three main options:

  • Pay as you go (PAYG) monthly plans. This is the best option for the low end user, who only wants to spend £15-£20 a month for their phone service. With a PAYG tariff, no contract, fixed monthly fee or direct debit agreement is required.
    Rather, you pre-pay for your minutes by “topping off” your credit account with a given network carrier. Your credit pays for a certain amount of minutes, and once you’ve used up your credit, your phone won’t work – until you top off your credit account again.
    Though this option is optimal for just the caller/texter, all levels of phones are available with this type of plan, and you can get as many minutes as you wish, you’ll just pay more for them.

  • Pay-monthly mobile contract deals. These work well for a majority of users interested in pricey, top-of-the-range smartphones. Many people appreciate the convenience of this set up as well, but it does come with a caveat.
    With a standard mobile contract, you pay a monthly fee in the form of a direct debit. For this you get a free or subsidized phone and a set number of minutes, texts and data transfers for the month. This also comes with a 12, 18 or 24-month contract.
    If you find the right plan for you, many find this hassle-free approach to be the best option. However, it is important to note that you are bound by a contract to this agreement. And, unlike with a PAYG account, your use is not limited at all. If you surpass your set limits, you won’t be stopped from continuing to use your phone.
    While this may seem nice at the time, you will be charged extra for exceeding your agreement, and the fees will still be drawn from your account via direct debit. Though it is possible to move to a higher rate plan in most cases; the majority of network providers will not let you move down to a lower level if you aren’t using your minutes, or otherwise get out of your contract.

  • Sim-only mobile contract deals. As the name implies, a Sim-only deal comes with just a mobile Sim card, and no handset. This is for the high end user that already owns their own phone.
    You still have an allowance for minutes, texts and data usage, but the cost will be less, because there is no phone subsidy.
    An additional perk to the Sim-only plans is that many don’t ask for more than a 30 day commitment, so you have more freedom to move around as you wish.

Of course, this is just the start. You’ll still have to consider which network best serves your needs. Check service area maps to help you decide this. You may want to consider any exclusive contracts for your phone of choice through the different providers as well.

It is also worth looking at the different levels of plans that are offered, as well as family and other group plans. Many providers will also try talking you into insurance for your phone. Usually, this is not worth the £8/month or so you would be charged for it.