Signing Mobile Contracts - What You Need To Know

Signing Mobile Contracts - What You Need To Know

If you're looking to get a new mobile phone, then you're going to need to choose a mobile service operator. Knowing which operator to go for, what kind of contract to sign and all the ins and outs of how mobile service works can be important in saving you money. So today we're looking at everything you need to know about signing mobile contracts. If you're just getting started in this process, then read on to find out what your options are.
  • Decide on an Operator
There are plenty of mobile service operators on the market in the UK. Many of them are similar. The first thing you need to do is find out who has good coverage in your area, if you don't have good coverage you'll find that you have call quality problems and your phone might not function at all. Go to the OFCOM web site and check out their coverage map. After that, you can choose an operator based on which company offers you the best price for the kind of plan you want.
  • Choose a Calling Plan...
You have a few options here. If you're a light mobile user, calling for around thirty minutes a week, sending three or four text messages a day and using mobile internet just for email and looking up directions, then you'll be best off with a pay as you go plan. Just go to a mobile operator who has good coverage in your area (prices are fairly similar for pay as you go amongst all operators) buy a SIM card and put credit on your card, and you're ready to go. But more moderate and heavy users will need to choose the best calling plan. You need a good estimate of the amount of calling minutes you use per month, the amount of text messages you send per month and the amount of mobile data you need. If you have old mobile bills you can use these to find out what your monthly usage looks like. If you don't, you might want to consider getting a pay as you go plan for a couple of months, just to see how you use your phone and what kind of calling plan you're going to need.
  • Incentive Plan or SIM Only Contract...
Now you need to decide if you want an incentive plan or a SIM only contract. An incentive plan will give you a calling package with calling minutes, text messages and mobile data, and will also give you a mobile phone, usually for free but sometimes for a small down payment. A SIM only contract will give you just the SIM card you need for service and a calling package. Monthly prices for incentive contracts will be more expensive than monthly prices for SIM only contracts, since this is how the operator can afford to give you a free or discounted mobile phone. If you already have a phone, or wish to buy one yourself, then you should look at SIM only contracts. If you don't have a phone, and don't have the cash to buy one for full price immediately, you'll want to look at incentive contracts. You don't usually save money buying a phone over an incentive contract, in fact, you often pay more for the phone over your contract than you would if you bought it yourself. But incentive contracts offer the convenience of buying a phone through an installment plan.
  • Smartphone Deals...
If you decide not to sign an incentive contract and you don't already have a phone you can take advantage of one of many smartphone deals to get the phone you need more cheaply than through a mobile operator. The best smartphone deals tend to be either refurbished phones- which you can buy direct from the manufacturer's web site of the phone you want, or simply going to a phone retailer that has a good sale. There are a lot of good deals and good prices around if you do a little research and spend some time choosing what you want.
  • Contract Length...
When you sign a mobile phone contract you'll be given a choice over the length of time you want to sign up for. Most companies have both twenty four month and twelve month contracts, and some companies also have eighteen month contracts. SIM only contracts can sometimes be signed for just thirty days, but this option will not be available on incentive contracts. Usually, the longer the contract you sign the cheaper your monthly price will be. But remember that signing a long contract ties you to using one network, and often one calling plan, for a lengthy period of time. You can end a mobile contract early, but you will pay a fee for doing so. Generally, mobile operators charge a fixed fee multiplies by the number of months that are remaining on your contract in order to terminate that contract. So if you think you might want to switch networks, or you're not sure that you've chosen the right calling plan for you, then you might want to think about signing a shorter contract.
  • Be Sure You Are Eligible...
In order to sign a mobile contract you must actually be eligible to sign contracts in the UK. This means that you must be a formal UK resident (not necessarily a citizen) and over the age of eighteen. Most major mobile service operators will also require that you undergo a credit check. They will allow you to sign the contract, but should you fail a credit check they will then rescind the contract. If you won't pass a credit check then you won't get a mobile contract, it's that simple. For people who are ineligible to sign a contract, you will have to use a pay as you go programme to get service for your phone. This will mean paying slightly higher prices, but you will have no other option if you can't sign a contract.

Finding great smartphone deals is very easy for Phil Turner.  All he does is turn to uSwitch, the price comparison service that shows him just how much he can expect to pay with each provider.

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