For the majority of people, being on a phone contract is the biggest mistake you could make.
I remember when being on contract was a prestige thing; when having unlimited texts or calls (in the era before smartphones…) made you a cool kid. And whilst the sound of unlimited does sound good, in practise, you probably don’t need it.
In general, bigger always equals better. As consumers, we love more. But when bigger becomes so big that you don’t even use it, it doesn’t make sense any more. And unless you’re downloading or streaming TV and films to your phone, you don’t really need more than 1GB of data a month. Taking a look at my usage, I’ve used about 3.5GB of data since August. That’s roughly 700MB/month with pretty normal social media and app usage. It’s true that I don’t stream or download video, but I don’t need to: I can download that whilst on wifi. And whilst at uni, I’m pretty much always on eduroam, anyway: even more of a reason to go smaller on your data allowance.
The problem with contracts, you see, is that they are grouped offerings. Say 4GB, 500 minutes and 500 texts. Now, it may be that you want 4GB but you don’t need 500 minutes or texts, because you use Whatsapp or Skype instead. In which case, you’re spending money on those items when you’re not really using it. And on the whole, the more data you want, the more minutes and texts you get packaged with it. Pay-as-you-go lets you choose exactly how you want to spend your money.
The best thing about moving from contract to pay-as-you-go is that it affords you flexibility. Literally affords it to you. You don’t have to feel guilty any more for paying £18.99 a month and only really using 50% of your allowance. You can do what you want, when you want. Particularly with Three’s miraculous 321 pay-as-you-go SIM, which prices calls at 3p/minute, texts at 2p/minute and a megabyte at 1p. And yes, the coverage with Three is actually pretty damn good.
Obviously, if you’re a power or business user, or use your phone instead of wifi, then being on contract might make sense. But instead of assuming that it does, it might be worth checking: you could save some serious dosh. Thank me later.