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6 Things to Keep Top of Mind When Comparing Mobile Phone Plans Online

  • by Guy Glover
  • 14 Nov, 2016
Alex Kidman | Tech Expert at finder.com.au
When it comes to selecting the right mobile phone plan, you need to evaluate your needs as a user and decide what features you value most. Your phone bill can form a large bulk of your monthly outgoings, and if you have the wrong plan, or one that doesn’t cater to your usage or budget needs, you could wind up paying excess charges for data usage or for features you don’t use.

There are an abundance of competitive mobile phone plans available on the market, so it’s up to you to do your groundwork, find out what it is you’re looking for, and compare different plans to find the best possible deal.

Keep these 6 things in mind when carrying out your online comparison.

  • Plan type
If you’re tossing up between a prepaid or postpaid plan, consider whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term solution. If you’re after a low budget, pay-as-you-go option or if you’re unsure about whether you can commit to a long-term contract, then a prepaid plan may be your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an ongoing arrangement bundled with a new phone, a postpaid plan will most likely suit you.

  • Cost per billing cycle
For many of us, cost will be a major factor when choosing a mobile phone plan. Identify how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your phone bill each month and then allow a small buffer on top of this to account for any unexpected costs that may arise, such as if you exceed your data limit one month. If you’re after a basic SIM Only “no frills” plan, you may be looking around the $4.95 -$30 mark, whereas if you want greater features such as more data, you could be looking at $60 - $85 per month.

  • Usage needs 
Think about the kind of user you are and the types of features you need from your phone plan. Do you regularly stream online and churn through your mobile data quickly? Is a lower price point a major drawcard for you? Or do you want a plan and/or provider that gives you access to global roaming? Carefully review your usage needs as this will give you a good indication of the type of benefits to look out for when narrowing down your search.

  • Data inclusion 
The amount of data that comes with your plan will be a key consideration when comparing mobile phone plans. However, you need to work out how much data you need and one way to do this is to see how much data you’re currently using (you can use an online tracking tool or via your provider’s app). Keep an eye out for any excess data charges that apply as you could rack up a large bill if you exceed your data allowance, so compare these charges amongst providers. Knowing how much data you use and how to manage your usage is essential to not only finding the right phone plan but also making sure that you stay on budget.

  • Network reliability 
When weighing up your options, consider the reliability of the service carrier and the type and reach of coverage they have. Think about whether you need a 3G or 4G plan based on how highly you value network reliability as a benefit from your mobile phone provider.

  • Customer service
The type of customer support you receive could make or break your decision when selecting a phone plan. Compare the level of customer service provided by each provider. For instance, do they have 24/7 online chat available? Do they give you enough warning if you’re nearing your data limit?

Choosing the right plan for your lifestyle and usage needs means you’ll only pay for the features and benefits you use.

However, the onus is on you to do your homework. Identify your needs and compare plans side-by-side to make an informed decision. Set yourself a monthly budget for your phone plan, become familiar with the terms of your plan and always read the fine print to make sure you don’t get stung with any excess charges or late payment fees.


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