What You Need To Know Before You Sign A Mobile Contract

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mobile phoneContracts with mobile phone networks are by far the most common way that most people choose to get service on their phones. You can, of course, get a pay as you go plan, but the lack of reliability of these plans, and the risk of running out of credit when you need to make a call, makes contracts preferable to most customers. But before you start signing mobile contracts, there are some things that you should know. Today we’re telling you the important information that you need to know before you sign up for that new mobile contract. So read on to find out the info that you need…

Not All Mobile Phone Networks are Equal…

The operator that you choose does matter, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, not all mobile phone networks have the same coverage in all areas. If an operator doesn’t have good coverage where you live, there’s really no point in signing  a contract with them, since it’s possible that your phone won’t work at all, or at the very least that you’ll get bad call quality and slow mobile internet speeds.

Each operator has a coverage map on their web site which you should check before you go to sign a contract. Secondly, some operators are simply better at some things. Three tends to have the best mobile data prices, for example, whilst Orange has the best mobile roaming prices. Knowing what you want in a contract will help you find the operator that’s right for you, and it’s easy to get the information you need to compare providers on the internet. So don’t just sign up with the first operator that you find.

That Free Phone is Costing You More than You Think…

Mobile operators will offer you two kinds of contract. A SIM only contract is simply a service plan, whilst an incentive contract is a service plan that comes with a free or low cost mobile phone. A lot of customers are tempted by incentive contracts, because it means that they can get a great new mobile that they otherwise might not be able to afford.

However, before signing you should know that not only is the phone you get not free, but it will end up costing you more than if you buy it up front elsewhere. Monthly rates on incentive contracts are higher than those on SIM only contracts. This is because you’re actually going to buy your phone in installments, and your bill will reflect the cost of the service plan plus the installment that you’re paying on your phone.

If you add up all the installments that you pay over the course of the contract you’ll find that the final sum is higher than the actual cost of the phone. This is common among all operators. Wherever possibly you should sign a SIM only contract, and buy a phone yourself if necessary, it will save you money.

You Can Break a Contract, but You Might Not Want To…

Operators will offer you a choice of contract lengths. Generally you can choose between twelve, eighteen and twenty four month options. With many operators monthly rates on longer contracts are slightly lower. However, you do want to consider the length of your contract carefully. Once a contract is signed you can break it, but it’s going to cost you a fair amount of money.

Mobile contracts contain non completion clauses that protect companies against loss of income should you decide to leave the contract early. You will have to pay a penalty to leave the contract, and it’s usually pretty high. With most companies this penalty is a fixed fee multiplied by the number of months left remaining in the contract when you stop service. With only a couple of months to go, this fee might not be too bad. But with six months or more remaining in the contract, you’re going to be paying a lot of cash. Plus, if you did go with the incentive contract and its free mobile phone, you’ll also be required to pay all the remaining installments on the phone in a lump sum before you can cancel your contract, further adding to your expenses.

Choosing a Calling Plan is Tough, but Will Affect Your Cash Flow…

When you sign up for a mobile contract you will need to choose a calling plan. This calling plan will tell you how many text messages and calling minutes and how much mobile data you can use each month for your fixed fee. Getting the right plan can be tough, since you’re being asked to estimate what you’re going to need. But it is important.

The wrong calling plan is going to end up costing you. You pay the same monthly fee whether you use all of your minutes, text and data limits or none of them. That means that when those limits are too high for you you have to pay for services that you never use. However, when you use more than your monthly limits you not only pay your usual monthly fee, but you also have to pay some expensive premium rates on any extra minutes, texts and data that you’ve used. This means that a calling plan with limits that are too low is an equally bad idea.

Of course, if you’ve had a mobile contract before you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for. A quick look at some old mobile phone bills will tell you what your average usage looks like and help you to choose the right plan. But you should choose you calling plan carefully, and if necessary get a pay as you go plan and monitor your monthly use for a while before deciding on a plan. Operators may allow you to change your calling plan during your contract, but you’ll nearly always have to pay a fee for doing this, so it’s better to get it right the first time.