How much you spend on phone bills will depend, to a great extent, on the phone plan you subscribe for. The quality of service you enjoy, as a phone user, will also be greatly influenced by your choice of phone plan. You therefore need to be very careful, while choosing a phone plan to sign up for. And you need to ensure that you undertake proper due diligence, before opting for a specific phone plan. Remember, the wrong choice of a phone plan could end up costing you hundreds of even thousands of dollars in the long run. And on another note, the wrong choice of a phone plan could mean that you have to endure a very poor quality of service for the duration that you would be on the plan. So you need to be very careful.
Therefore, while choosing a phone plan, you need to:
- Consider the cost of the plan: The question you need to ask yourself here is as to how much money you would be expected to pay, in terms of phone bills, under the plan. Then the next question is as to what you would be getting, in terms of ‘features’, under that particular plan. The question that would follow then is as to whether the plan would be good value for money – given how much you have to pay for it, and the features you would be getting. An important consideration here is at the maximum amount of money you would be willing to spend on phone bills, on a monthly basis. Then you need to ensure that the phone plan you sign up for is one where you will never find yourself having to spend beyond that ceiling. Note that this is not a question of opting for the cheapest phone plan. You may find a phone plan that is very cheap, but where you then have to endure a very limited experience. You may find one that is slightly costlier, but where you get to enjoy a better experience. So the most important thing is to look at the ‘value for money’ offered under the various plans, rather than just look at the prices/phone bills you have to pay under the various plans.
- Look at how much data is available under the plan: The first question you need to ask yourself here is as to how much data you are likely to use on a monthly basis. Then you need to ensure that the phone plan you sign up for is one that allows you to use that much data. If you sign up for a phone plan with less data than you are likely to use in a month, you are likely to find yourself going past the data caps/limits regularly. You are then likely to find yourself having to pay ‘excess’ fees regularly – and the excess fees in question here can easily add up to hefty sums.
- Look at how many phone calls you can make under the plan: Again, the first question you need to ask yourself is as to how many phone calls you are likely to need to make on a month-to-month basis. Then you need to sign up for a phone plan that allows you to make those many phone calls. If you are likely to make very many phone calls on a monthly basis, it would be prudent to opt for a phone plan that allows you to make ‘unlimited’ calls. Otherwise if you opt for one with ‘limits’ and you go past the limits, you could find yourself having to pay a bit of money for the extra usage.
- Ask whether it is a prepaid or a postpaid plan: With a prepaid plan, you pay for the service before you use it. Conversely, with a postpaid plan, you pay for the service after using it. So the question you need to ask yourself here is as to whether you’d prefer an arrangement where you would be paying for the service before – or after—using it.
- Ask whether it is a contract or contract-free plan: With a contract plan, you are bound to the service provider/carrier. If you opt to ditch the contract midstream, you have to incur a penalty. But then again, a contract plan can give you access to a good phone, which you would be paying for in installments (with the installments being part of your monthly phone bill). If you opt for a contract-free plan on the other hand, you would have to buy your own phone upfront. But then, your bills would be lower – because they wouldn’t include installments for the phone. And given that you wouldn’t be contractually bound, it would mean that you can ditch the plan at any time, without incurring penalties.
- Consider the reputation of the carrier offering the plan: So here you need to look at things like quality of service, and the customer support that is available, as well as billing issues. You may need to look at the reviews of the various phone service providers, and actually talk to people who have subscribed for the services offered by various carriers. The most important thing is to ensure that you don’t get yourself entangled with a carrier who will cause you grief. Sometimes, it is even better to pay more, if that is what it takes to avoid the stress associated with the disreputable phone carriers.
- Look at your needs as a phone user: This is perhaps the most important consideration, hence our decision to bring it in last. The most important thing is for you to carry out an objective assessment of your needs, as a phone user. Then you would need to ensure that the phone plan you sign up for is one that is best suited for those needs. If, for instance, you make lots of phone calls, you opt for a plan with ‘unlimited calls’. If you use plenty of data, you opt for a plan with ‘unlimited data’… Just consider your needs, against the various phone plans that are on offer, and then simply go for the one that is best suited to your needs. If you take that approach, you probably won’t regret your choice of a phone plan.