Deciding whether to buy your phone outright or get it through a contract is serious business. Signing up to a telco can be like plunging headfirst into a marriage proposal immediately after you’ve swiped right.
On the other hand, buying an iPhone outright could put an immediate dent in your bank balance. With the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus looming, here are a few thoughts on buying the latest shiny smartphone outright versus signing up to a lock-in contract.
One thing I hate about two year contracts (or any lock-in contract) is that I’m stuck, even if my financial situation changes (like I go on holiday, interest rates change or something else happens that hits my wallet where it hurts). Some providers let you upgrade to a larger plan, but downgrading can be a doozy. Getting a handset outright hurts initially, but gives me more flexibility in the long-term which I love. More importantly, I feel like I’m in control (I’m the kind of guy that researches green slip providers and hassles for a better health cover deal every year … painful, but worth the savings).
Read past the headline price
Don’t sign what looks like the cheapest contract just because you want a shiny new handset. Many plans that look low-cost come with small data allowances. When you want to use all the online awesomeness a new smartphone allows (and most new smartphones come with bigger screens that beg you to watch more videos and upload more pics), you could end up getting stung with data charges that make your monthly spend a lot more than what you thought you were signing up for.
Locked vs unlocked handsets
Getting a mobile phone through a plans means it’s usually locked to the carrier you’re on contract with. If you travel overseas and want to use a local SIM, this can be problematic. Buying outright means the phone is unlocked, so you can buy a travel SIM and save a packet.
Whether you buy your next phone outright or on a plan always take into account your personal and financial situation. A lot of research pointed me towards buying my phone outright when I first went down this path; the benefits have been great, because it suits my wallet and lifestyle. Before you embark on a similar journey, make sure you check out all your options. A few hours of research can make all the difference.
Telco websites can make it a headache to compare plans, so search for plan comparison tools that help do the job. Also check out forums to see what customers are saying about various plans. Remember to think about your usage needs, and what it’s going to cost you in the long run.
If you’ve decided to buy your next phone outright, tell me what sparked your switch.
Ged – amaysim’s PR & social guy