With all the different mobile phone and plan options available these days, it can be hard figuring out exactly what the best plan for you will be. There are a number of options you should take into consideration before you talk to a salesman.

Certainly, you may want to shop around a bit before making any decisions. The best way to do that is come armed with information, questions, and a determination not to get snookered into the prettiest phone by some sweet talker.

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Here are some things to consider before making any final decisions.

  1. What kind of phone do you want/need? This may determine which carrier you choose, as some phones are only available through certain vendors, but the market is pretty flexible, and you may be able to find the phone you want, or at least one similar, available through a number of network carriers.You should also consider how you plan to use your phone. Will it just be for phone calls and texting? Perhaps a pay as you go plan (PAYG) would be best for you. For low end users, this tends to be the best deal, and you can add data usage to these plans as well, so smartphones are still available. If you plan on using your phone frequently and would like a top-end phone without doling out the entire tab all at once, a monthly contract plan is probably the right choice. You do need to be careful not to exceed your contracted limits with these plans. If you go over your limits, you are not stopped from using your mobile device, but are charged a premium tariff which will be automatically debited to your account. This can result in unexpected large withdrawals, which can cause all sorts of problems. If you already own your phone, or plan to buy one outright, and you are a high-end user, you may prefer a Sims-only contract. You have to buy a phone for a PAYG account as well, but the rate plan is set for minimal use. With a Sims-only contract, you get the benefit of the lower tariff associated with a contract, but even cheaper, because there is no additional phone subsidy. In addition, many carriers don’t require more than a 30 day commitment for Sim-only plans, which still gives you the flexibility of a PAYG account.
  2. Which provider offers the best service? Now, part of this can be subjective. That is, you may prefer one company over another for customer service or the type of plans they offer.
    You should think about how many minutes or texts you use in a month, how much you use the web and other data services, when you tend to make calls (peak or off-peak), and whom you call the most.
    All of these things can factor into the type of plan you choose for yourself (or your family). Keep track of your habits, so you know which size plan will best fit your needs. Remember, exceeding the allotted amounts can be costly, while paying for more than you use is also a waste of money. Though some companies will allow you to move to a more expensive plan after you’ve committed to a contract, few will let you scale down.
    A contract plan can be a one or two year commitment, so it is important to make the right choices beforehand.
    Most importantly, you need to find a network provider who offers the best service in your home area, and those you frequent most often. Don’t rely on companies maps alone. Find people who are currently using the network, or look for online reviews of each networks service.
    Remember, if you can’t get the phone to work, it’s not a bargain, regardless of how much money you save.

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