cellphone contracts

Do you really need a to sign an expensive cellphone contract anymore?

BY Bethwel Njore / March 21, 2016
BY Bethwel Njore / March 21, 2016 / Devices

Once upon a time when a ‘smartphone’ was the one that could play Snake and people were stuck to sending SMSs as a way of communication, prepaid was the poor alternative to actual phone contracts, left in the cold sending SMSs limited to 12p-per-160 characters whereas contracted moneybags partied it up with their ‘unlimited’ plans. Nowadays things have changed drastically, thanks to the rise of messenger apps, more and more consumers are turning to prepaid services. Which begs the question is signing a cellphone contract worth it or is choosing a different route more suitable? As this is not a one size fits all option, there are a number of factors you should consider including the pros and cons, before opting to sign up for a plan with cellphone company. So are cellphones contracts actually valuable?

Unlimited Problems

Before the existence of smartphones, multi-year contracts had been a long-standing option for consumers. You could have a calling plan with a particular coverage area and designated times when calling would be cheaper. Sending SMSs was later integrated into the plans, which usually meant that you were allowed to send a limited number of texts within a month.

With rapid increase of smartphone technology and the significant usage of data, cellphone companies began to provide unlimited calls (or at least a huge load of minutes talk time) and texts with different options for data plans. Carriers embraced this approach with ease as calling and texting had over time become cheaper, thanks to better infrastructure and the decrease in demand.

The only arising issues is the number instant messenger apps such as Whatsapp, which offer the similar benefits such as free unlimited calls and messages, that more and more smartphone users have come to adopt. This as a result has led to a decrease in the need to send texts or make unlimited calls offered by cellphone companies, hence we end up paying for services we may never use.

Data remains the only thing that matter the most when shopping around for an ideal phone contracts. However, when the data plans starts running low, we are left paying outrageous amounts of money, in order to have extra data added on to our set monthly plans. If you choose to go for an unlimited data plan from a major carrier, then you will have to part with at least $75. You will dig deeper into your pocket and pay $100 or more for a high-speed option.

The problem with scheduled upgrades

Upgrades scheduled for smartphones don’t sit well with everyone, in fact. only a few customers find it suitable. The issue here is that a manufacturer’s schedule doesn’t really follow the same timeline as that of a carrier. As for your individual plan, its upgrade is set to a different time, this is basically the time you initially popped into the store. There are a number of differences, but many of the carriers provide you with a specified time range to swap out your handset and if for instance, you want one that’s a bit faster then you’ll have to pay extra.

For folks who like to hang on to their devices until they’ve ensured that they are no longer working or they are so outdated that using them is impossible, are constrained by the options for the scheduled upgrade. Though smartphones are not built to last a lifetime, they can easily make it through a two year contract. It is ridiculous for companies to expect consumers to get rid of the smartphones just because they said so.

As tempting as it is to grab a killer new smartphone as soon as it hits the market, the question of whether your contract is ready for an upgrade must be addressed. If it isn’t then you’ll have to sit patient and wait or pay large sums of money instead. Scheduled upgrades stand in the way of you swapping out your phone for another or getting something different when you decide to.

When they are actually worth it

Under certain circumstances choosing a cellphone contract plan may prove to be a more sensible alternative. For example, if your prefer using a texting service instead of a messenger app or service, that consumes most of your data, then consider a plan that offers you unlimited texts with less data. This not only saves you money but can reduce on your data usage.

If calls sound better as a way of communication rather than the back and forth text messaging, then it might be ideal to go for one of the plans available. Calling is usually faster compared to texting and having an unlimited calling plan from a carrier company, is your best bet.

The two-year contract is also not so bad. Getting a phone upgrade after every two years (when your carrier is ready to give you a phone exchange), gives you a discount advantage which can save you a lot of money, if you opt for this system.

Alternative Options

If the two year plan isn’t good enough or is too expensive for you, then prepaid is always an option. There is a load of prepaid plans to choose from and most of them can be bought from Best Buy, Target or Walmart. Walmart is currently offering up to 12 prepaid carrier options with lots others to choose from. Other options like Straight Talk Mobile Hotspot allow you to save on data by using hotspots whenever you are out and about.

Google has also made Project Fi available to the public. This system basically lets users pay $20 for unlimited calls and texts every month and $10 for per GB. Refunds are made for any data that is left unused. Additionally, it uses Wi-Fi connection when available.

Is a cellphone contract really worth it? Let us know in the comments.



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