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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mobile Options FAQ

There are so many mobile phones and mobile service providers on the UK market that the process of choosing a phone and operator can be extremely confusing. You have a lot of options, how do you know which ones are right for you? Today we're looking at some of the most frequently asked questions about mobiles and mobile services in the hopes that we can help you make the best decision for yourself...

What Mobile Should I Choose?

What mobile you choose is really defined by what you need from a phone, there's no clear cut best mobile phone for everyone. When you're looking at what mobile to go with, you'll need to consider various factors. Cost is a big issue for most people, so keep that forefront in your mind. Then what kinds of functions are you looking for? Make a list of four or five things that you think are must haves on a mobile phone, and look for devices that match those needs and your budget. It's a good idea to use mobile comparison sites on the internet to put different models head to head and see how they compare.

Which Operator Should I Choose?

The best operator for you comes down to two factors. Firstly, who offers the best plans for you at the best prices? We'll talk more about choosing calling plans later. The second is - who gives the best coverage in your area? You need an operator that has good coverage in your area to get the kind of service that you're paying for. With poor coverage you're going to end up with bad call quality, slow internet and maybe even a service that doesn't work at all. This is of particular concern if you don't live in a city. The easiest way to find this information out is to go to the OFCOM web site and have a look at their coverage map. This map shows which networks give the best coverage in which areas.

Should I Sign a Contract or Go with Pay As You Go?

You have two options when buying mobile services. You can get a pay as you go plan, which has no contract and no monthly fee. You buy a SIM card from a network and put credit on the card and pay for only the services that you actually use. Alternatively, you can sign a contract and get a calling plan with a monthly bill. These services are designed for different people. If you're a light user or on a strict budget, then pay as you go is probably the better solution for you, since you only pay for what you use and can keep tight control of how much you spend. However, higher users profit from signing contracts, since prices for them tend to be lower. Contracts come with limits on calling minutes, texts and data, and lighter users probably won't end up using those limits and will therefore pay for something they're not using. Heavier users will use those limits and get cheaper prices per calling minute, text message and MB of data on a contract than they would using pay as you go.

Incentive Contract or SIM Only Contract?

If you decide to sign a contract, you again have two options. A SIM only contract will give you a calling plan and a SIM card, whilst an incentive contract will give you a calling plan, SIM card and a mobile phone. Incentive plans tend to have higher monthly prices than SIM only contracts. If you already have a mobile or want to buy your own then you should sign a SIM only contract. If you don't have a mobile and can't afford to pay full price for one right now, you should sign an incentive contract. Remember that the phone you get on an incentive contact is not free, you'll pay more on your monthly bill so you're basically just buying the phone in instalments. But if you don't have the cash for the phone you need right now and incentive contract is a good option.

Which Calling Plan Should I Choose?

When you sign a contract you'll be asked to choose a calling plan. Which plan you go with depends on your needs. You can look at older mobile phone bills to find out what your average monthly use of calling minutes, text messages and data looks like. Choosing the right calling plan is important. If the monthly limits for calls, texts and data are higher than you'll ever use then you're paying for services that you won't use. If the monthly limits are too low then you'll have to pay expensive extra charges for going over your limits. If you can't look at old mobile bills to get an idea of your usage you might want to consider getting a pay as you go plan for a month or so to get the information you need in order to choose the right calling plan for yourself.

How Long Should My Contract Be?

Operators tend to offer different contract lengths. Most companies have both twenty four month and twelve month contract options, whilst some providers also have eighteen month contracts. Many SIM only contracts are available for thirty day contract periods. This is because the provider doesn't need to guarantee that they'll make back the money that they lost by providing you with a mobile phone, as they do with an incentive contract. In general, the longer the contract you sign the better you're monthly rates will be.

Can I Sign a Contract?

In order to sign a mobile contract you must be eligible to sign such a contract. In the UK this means that you have to be eighteen or over and a formal resident of the UK (although not necessarily a citizen). You'll also need to pass a credit check with most mobile providers. If you don't pass a credit check then the provider has the right to rescind any contract, even if it's already been signed.

Sam Jones tried to find out what mobile would be the best option for a light user.  uSwitch helped him by offering a great search facility and access to all the latest information from the top providers.
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