It's always exciting to head for your local cellular store to choose a new handset once your two-year contract has run out. But you should also use the handset upgrade and the renewal of your contract as an opportunity to pick the perfect package for your needs.
Chris Radley, Managing Director at Nashua Mobile, offers some tips about the questions to ask about your cellphone package and new handset:
About your tariff plan
Getting a free phone on the incorrect tariff plan can end up costing you more over the lifetime of the contract than getting the right tariff plan and selecting the phone that you want.
- Start out by asking your service provider to help you analyse your usage of your current package to see if it is the right one for your needs. You're wasting money if you have too few or too many minutes, data megabytes and SMS messages included in your tariff plan. Nashua Mobile stores can run a tariff analyser to help you understand your usage patterns.
- How many minutes do you use in an average month? If you have a lot of free minutes left each month-end, it might make sense to downgrade to a cheaper package. But if you exceed your monthly free minute allowance every month by a significant amount, you might be wise to upgrade to a package with more free minutes.
- Which package best meets your patterns for making outbound calls? Some packages offer cheaper off-peak call rates while others are better suited to people who make their calls during peak hours. Choosing the right one can save you a lot of cash.
- How much data do you consume and how many SMS messages do you send? Check what your package offers you as part of the deal and look into additional data and SMS bundles that can save you a lot of money if you SMS and use data services a great deal. Nashua Mobile has also launched Xtreme Data which allows predictable data billing for regular e-mail, browsing, social networking and instant messaging.
- Does the package offer per-second billing? This is normally a cheaper option than per-minute billing – you’ll only have to pay for the time that you actually talk rather than being billed for a full minute when you've only spoken for a few seconds. Don't be fooled by cheaper rates per minute on per minute packages, generally per second is still cheaper.
About your phone
Match your phone to your requirements and not necessarily to your wardrobe. Two years with a difficult-to-use handset is a long time.
- What do you really want from your phone? Do you spend a lot of time on the road speaking to people or do you value data services? If you need a long battery life with plenty of talk time, that sexy touch-screen phone might not meet your needs.
- Do you just want to make calls or send text messages, do you want to get email, use social media tools and browse the web or do you want the whole high-end applications and multimedia experience? There are some great-looking, feature-rich entry level smartphones that might do nicely if you care more about cost than fashion.
- Do your friends all use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) or do they prefer another instant messaging service such as WhatsApp? BBM is included in the BlackBerry data subscription making it a cost effective alternative to SMS, whilst WhatsApp is available across a wide range of phones, however you do pay for your data usage.
- Do you really need WiFi, a high-end camera, a touchscreen, GPS and all rest of the bells and whistles? Be wary of buying an expensive package to get a top-end smartphone if you probably won't use all of its features.
- What can you get for your budget that best meets your needs? Ask about the options for prepaid and postpaid packages alike.