Given the rise of the smartphone in our day to day lives, the type of phone plan we opt for can have bigger consequences than many people realise. From international roaming, data caps, and even your location can have a big role to play when it comes to choosing a phone plan.
Unfortunately, many people fall victim to signing up to a plan without reading the fine print, particularly when it comes to getting themselves the latest smartphone release – only to find themselves locked into a contract that they may not be able to easily get out of. The thing about consciously choosing a new phone plan is that it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed with your options, so what factors should you consider before signing the dotted line?
How To Choose A Phone Plan That’s Right For You
Although there are over forty mobile phone providers in Australia, many people are generally surprised to learn that all phone plans run on one of three networks: Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. Telstra’s market-leading mobile coverage of 99.4% is the very reason many Australians choose to pay a premium for the provider’s plans. While the “little guys” at Vodafone have long been the cheapest solution, it’s now rapidly catching up in recent years in regards to coverage, which now sits at 96%.
Other than doing your research with the actual reception and coverage you can expect to receive from a phone plan, choosing a format is also one of the big influencing factors. If you already own a phone, you will have to choose between a prepaid plan that gives you a credit to use over thirty days or so, or to sign up to a SIM only plan, which is usually a contract that allows a designated amount of phone calls, texts and data for each month.
On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a new phone, you can buy one outright or on a plan. Buying a phone outright allows you to choose a prepaid or SIM only plan for calls, text and data. While this option costs significantly more upfront, it does make it easier to switch plans or providers when you want. The alternative is to opt for a SIM only plan, which is once again contract based.
If you want to break the contract linked to a SIM only plan, you may be liable to pay an exit fee of the duration left on the plan length. As these contract durations can vary anywhere between one, twelve or twenty four months, this commitment is not for the faint hearted, and can leave you significantly out of pocket in the event that your circumstances change.
Other important factors to consider when choosing a new phone plan include the network speeds. Don’t sign up to a cheaper phone plan if you don’t get coverage where you live, and pay careful attention to any extra data charges or limitations if you go over your monthly allotment. Given the data driven era we now live in, things like streaming and social media can quickly eat up a data allowance. As such, it may be a good idea to monitor your average consumption prior to signing up to a new plan.
Every mobile phone plan provider has to ensure their customers have access to their Critical Information Summary (CIS). This is a document that explains what your new plan is going to cost in total, and what you’ll be getting for your money. Given that many providers often offer promotions, discounts and sign up specials that expire after a certain period of time, it’s a good idea to read the fine print before signing the dotted line.
As a consumer, it’s important to be wary of comparison websites that filter mobile phone plans and products. Keep in mind that particular products may be promoted or recommended more heavily than others because of commercial arrangements, and that conducting your own independent research is always advised.
How To Save Money On Your Monthly Bills
Kyco is a member based buying group that ultimately aims to save Australians money on their energy, health and insurance bills. The more members we have, the more negotiating power we have to arrange low, long-term deals with service providers.
Kyco doesn’t play one provider off against another taking commissions of up to 30% like most comparison sites. Instead, we’re leveling the playing field with a low 3% capped commission. It’s free to become a member, and with no lock in contracts or unexpected price hikes, spending less on your annual bills has never been easier.
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