6 Important Steps – How To Choose A Mobile Phone Plan

6 Important Steps – How To Choose A Mobile Phone Plan

Most people fall in love with a newly released phone and then think about the plan. That’s understandable. However, really, there should probably be at least an equal amount of time spent thinking about the plan you’re going to buy. The phone is the puppy, the plan is the dog ! 2 years after you’ve signed up, it’s the contract you’ll be paying for.  To help you make the right decision, here are 6 Important Steps – How To Choose A Mobile Phone Plan.

This advice is true for all the phone companies.

1. SIM only / BYO or with a phone ?

The first question you might ask yourself is, how do you feel about your current phone ?

In the last couple of years, the Australian market for phones has changed. These days, more and more people are getting their own phone and getting a SIM Only ( also known as a BYO SIM ) plan. SIM Only / BYO plans offer bigger value bundles / more minutes for the same price. With most Australian operators, you’ll save $10 or more a month on your plan if you bring your own phone. That’s $240 over the course of a 24 month contract. Not to be sniffed at.

2. Network – Coverage & Customer Service

A Phone Price Plan is a monthly charge which allows you access to a wireless network – as you very obviously know ! You might also like to think about what else it allows you access to ! The reality is, as we all know, that things are going to go wrong at some point during your contract with your new telecommunications company. When they do, you’ll call their Customer Service team. Make sure you check out how good the telco Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction is before you sign up. You can do that quickly and easily using the WhatPhone infographic.

6 Important Steps - How To Choose A Mobile Phone Plan
Click To See The WhatPhone Infographic


3. How Much Do You Need To Spend on Voice and Data ?

The best way to figure out how much you need to spend every month is to think about the plan you’re already on. Did you blow your cap ? Did you get any excess usage charges ? Which bit of your cap allowance did you go over ? Voice or Data ?

You might like to go online and review your previous bills over the last few months to get to the bottom of this one. All of the telecommunications companies offer electronic billing these days. It’ll help you understand how much value / how many minutes and how much data you need in your new cap.

The more you pay, the more you’re going to get. And this is not a time for false economy ! You’ve got to be realistic about how much you’re using. It’s much easier to go to the next price plan up ( which is usually only $10 a month ) and get the next tier of usage entitlements than it is to deal with an expensive bill for overage.

A valuable tip is to split the data out. If you’re near to your allowance on data but fine on the voice inclusions, every telco offers the ability to ‘Add A Data Bundle’ to your voice plan. You’ll be able to do it as part of your checkout process. Make sure you track your data usage after you’ve signed up using the Self Service App. People’s data usage generally rises over the course of their contract. Add more data as you need to, using these Data Bolt Ons to avoid expensive overage charges.

4. Read the CIS – Critical Information Summary

Oh No ! Not a contract ! Every Australian Telecommunications Company, by Law, has to provide a Critical Information Summary ( CIS ) on their website. I guarantee you will see a link to it right next to the plan information. This is a simple to read, easy to understand, and, importantly, very short ( usually only 2 pages ) outline of what you’ll get charged for in your price plan. It’s the map which shows you how to avoid the pitfalls of spending money where you didn’t mean to. Are 13 or 18 numbers included ? Are you charged per MB or per kB for the data you’re going to use ? Are international calls included in your plan ? The CIS is where you’ll find out !

5. Look For Deals And Web Deals

Australian telcos always do their best deals online. Here are some key things you’re likely to get online that you won’t get if you go in to store. The plan is going to be cheaper if its SIM only. You’ll very often see one, three or even six months free access for an online offer, especially if the telco concerned has too much stock of a particular device.  You’ll get Velocity Points with Virgin Mobile or Frequent Flyer points with Optus.

Virgin Mobile’s plans have some great value included that you just won’t get elsewhere. If you don’t use your credit one month, it rolls over to the next ( why don’t they all do that !? ) You’ll get free voicemail retrieval – which saves most people $30 a month out of their cap !

Have a think about what network your friends are on. Very often, the telcos will offer free calls on their network, to your friends and family who are also on their network. This can save you heaps used right !

6. Any Questions ? Use The Online Chat Facility

Shopping online is great. It’s quicker, more convenient and cheaper. But, sometimes you have questions and you need a quick answer. The great news is that all the telcos have an online chat facility you can use to find out what you need to ! How big is it ? Is it better than the iPhone ? Can I get a red one ? Ask Chat. They’ll know.


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.