For the majority of us, a mobile phone is no longer a want but a necessity, and something that helps our own little world keep on spinning.
In the UAE alone, the number of mobile phone subscribers spiked to 19.75 million by the end of July, with the number fast increasing until today.
If you’re about to join the bandwagon of people making a living off of their mobile phones, you may be thinking of changing your unit or upgrading, and switching from a prepaid to postpaid data plan (or vice versa) for whatever reason.
Making a decision may leave you feeling stressed or confused about choosing a phone or a plan, especially as there are so many choices on the market. So here are three tips to help you identify the best mobile plan option for you:
1. Understand the difference between prepaid and postpaid plans
First things first, you need to understand the two options before you can finally pick and stick with one. As you should be able to tell from the name, the main difference between prepaid and postpaid plans is the timing of when you pay for them.
Prepaid plans require payment upfront, whereas postpaid means you receive a bill from your provider at the end of each month based on your usage.
For you to be able to use a prepaid plan, you will have to recharge or top up your account. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use it! Prepaid plans are a lot more flexible and come with no termination fees. However, there is the possibility of your phone number being changed, limited coverage and higher actual phone costs as you have to purchase a new phone in full upfront.
On the other hand, postpaid plans involve a contract or agreement. At the beginning of your contract, you and your chosen provider will commit to a particular plan. Each month you will be billed, and your plan will automatically be renewed until the end of your contract.
Because you have a contract, you won’t be able to cancel easily, and if you have a bad credit rating, your plan may become more expensive.
If you go over your contract, then your provider will allow you to keep using the services for an extra fee; however, this means you will never run out of data!
2. Be realistic about what you use your phone for
Now that you understand the pros and cons of these two options, it is time to consider which one would work best for you.
If you solely use the basic functions of your phone (such as calling and texting) and rarely surf the internet, post on social media platforms or play video games, then a prepaid plan may be your safest option, as it will be cheaper.
If you shy away from signing contracts or dislike having a set bill amount to pay even if your usage doesn’t reach that amount, then a prepaid plan is also the best way for you to go.
However, if you use a lot of data, then a postpaid plan that comes with unlimited talk, text and data will probably be better for you. If you are more interested in the convenience or versatility factor, then a postpaid plan is definitely the one for you. Postpaid mobile plans usually come with extra features.
3. Consider your budget
Once you have understood your options and been realistic with yourself about what your lifestyle requires, then it is time to consider your budget. The reason Tip #2 is so important is that both of these plans can be good for your wallet, as long as you get the one that works the best for your lifestyle.
In fact, many people shy away from getting a postpaid plan because they think it is far more expensive than a prepaid plan. But, this isn’t always the case, as there are certain circumstances where contract plans are cheaper.
If you are looking to get a phone plan with multiple people (either a group of friends or your family), then a postpaid plan can be negotiated to be cheaper than a prepaid plan.
That being said, if, for some reason, you dislike the service or your phone, you have to adhere to your phone plan contract until it finishes, or pay a hefty penalty.
However, if you want to control your expenses and force yourself to only live within your means, then a prepaid mobile plan can assist you with this. Since you get a fixed allocation of services, you have to be careful with when you use it to ensure that it lasts longer.
Choosing a mobile plan can be an overwhelming task. Hopefully, these tips have helped to bring some more clarity and understanding to the decision ahead of you. The most important thing is for you to be realistic about your needs. Afterwards, you can select a plan from your service provider that sufficiently meets your desires and lifestyle.