Buying A Phone - A Tale Of Cash, Contracts, Sims And PAYG

Posted by Bhavesh Joshi On Monday, March 11, 2013 0 comments
Buying A Phone - A Tale Of Cash, Contracts, Sims And PAYG
It used to be the case that you had to buy mobile phones outright in order to benefit from the functionality. Nowadays, mobile operators offer many ways to buy handsets and get a monthly allowances of air time and data. These broadly fit into the following categories: monthly contracts, pay-as-you-go, SIM free, and contract SIMs. It can be very costly buying several phones on contract, here we look at the 4 main ways to buy phones and air time needed for different types of user.

Monthly contracts

Monthly contracts provide buyers with the opportunity to save money. Buyers can spread the cost of the purchase of the handset and receive excellent value airtime, data allowance, and text messages in return for a commitment to a monthly contract. These contracts tend to nowadays be 24 months, although it is possible to get contracts of 18 and 12 months.

A mobile operator will normally credit check the buyer and decide whether they are worthy of the phone they are looking for. Handsets are a significant purchase of often £400 or more. Contracts of 24 months sometimes weigh in at £800 or more. Therefore, the operators will want to now that the buyer is a responsible borrower.

There are specific types of contracts that are designed to different types of users, from light users, medium users, heavy users, and even business users. Orange, Tesco and T Mobile offers change almost daily and it is essential to check current offers.

Pay As You Go

Pay as you go phones provide buyers with the opportunity to buy a phone that is locked to a certain provider. They will buy air time with the phone, and then top up as they need credit through the purchase of vouchers, or by registering their credit or debit card to the phone.

Most of the best phones are offered on pay as you go, and these range from £15 to hundreds of pounds. When people are looking to buy on pay-as-you-go, they are more conscious of the price of the phone than when buying through a contract. With contracts, the difference between phones is normally a few pounds a month. When paying up front for a phone, the difference between £150 and £400 is more compelling and immediate.

SIM free phones

It is possible to buy phones that are not locked to a network and can be used with any sim card. These are often more expensive than pay as you go phones, but provide the opportunity to choose your network and move between networks if you choose. These unlocked phones are available through many high street shops, and also online retail stores.

Contract SIMs

A new innovation in the mobile phone market over recent years has been the availability of sim card contracts. These provide affordable allowances of talk, data, and texts in a stand-alone sim. The buyer will not get a phone with the purchase, but will put the sim card into an unlocked sim free phone of their choice. The great thing about these sim contracts is they give access to cheap calls and data without such stringent credit requirements. After all, the operator does not have to part with an expensive product in the form of a premium high end phone.

In Summary

In summary, the 4 main ways to buy phones and air time are suited to different types of user. You should always be mindful of your budget and not get tempted into a phone and contract above your financial capacity. It is a dangerous trap when a household starts buying several phones on contract. It is easy to end up with outgoings of well over £150 a month and commitments of up 24 months.

Phil Turner is currently looking at T Mobile offers on his shortlisted phones. He is stuck for network choice because he lives out in the country where most networks have no coverage.

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