What Happens When Your Phone Contract Ends?
If, like most people, you have a contract for service with a mobile operator, there will come a time when that contract runs out. Once your contract is done, you've got a choice to make: do you continue your contract as normal (usually the worst option), do you stick with the provider but change the plan or do you go elsewhere? Making the right decision could save you money, which is why we're taking a look at re-signing mobile contracts and how you can make sure you're getting the best deal. So let's take a look at your options:
What Happens If I Do Nothing?
Let's begin with the simplest of options, which is that you do nothing. You're not required to sign a new contract, and in many cases, your mobile operator won't even tell you when your contract is up. If you do nothing you will continue to get service and will continue to pay the same amount each month, which is called “rolling over.” There may be nothing wrong with this, but the downside is that you could end up paying too much or not getting the service that you want. If you don't look at your other options, you won't know what else is out there!
If you took out a brand new iPhone deal, then the cost of the handset was factored into your monthly repayment, so after 24 months you will most certainly be overpaying if you don't cancel or change the contract. If only for this reason you should at least look at your other options before deciding to do nothing.
Staying With Your Existing Provider
So let's say you decide to stick with your mobile provider and re-sign a contract with them. There are some benefits to this; it's less hassle for you, you won't need to worry about finding a new operator, or about changing/transferring your mobile number. You will have two options if you decide to stay:
Upgrade Your Phone
Your network will usually allow you to look at upgrade options via their website. This option means you get a brand new phone and then sign another 12 or 24-month contract. Depending on the phone/tariff combination you had previously you might end up paying the same, even more, or less per month. We find this option is usually the least cost-effective.
Keep Your Existing Phone and Change Tariff
If you are happy with your handset and don't want to change then your network will allow you to change or downgrade your plan. This can be in the form of re-signing another 12 or 24-month deal or taking out a rolling 30 day SIM only plan. If you choose this option then shaving a big chunk off the amount off your bill is achievable., this is because are no longer paying for the subsidised handset. Speak to your network directly and see what deals are available.
The Cons of Stay With Your Provider…
There are disadvantages to sticking with your provider, however. For a start, you might get a better deal elsewhere, another operator might have a package that better fits your needs, or a cheaper package, or even offer things like free gifts or 4G internet that you can't get with your operator. Many operators save their best deals for new customers so there's a pretty fair chance that you can get a good price elsewhere. Another disadvantage of re-signing is that because you're sticking with your operator, you might not take the time to research all the contract options, simply re-signing for the same calling plan that you had before, which could mean paying higher prices.
Moving To a New Provider
If your contract is nearly up and you want to move then we recommend doing the following:
Compare deals elsewhere
The first point of call will be to compare mobile phone deals and see what offers are out there on the handset you want. Take a look at your existing bills and try and find a plan that will fit within your typical monthly usage.
Cancel Your Contract
If you decide no to stick with your existing network then you'll need to inform your current operator that you're leaving and wish to cancel their service. Each network has different ways on how they want you to do this but most will allow it via email or live chat.
Get Your PAC Code
Once cancelled you will need to ask them for your PAC code (which will allow you to keep your current mobile number even with another operator). You'll then need to sign up with a new operator and give them your PAC code. That's it!
So How Do I Decide?
If your contract has run out then there are a few considerations that you'll need to keep in mind to help you make your decision. We've broken this down into easy steps for you!
- Decide your calling plan needs. This is pretty simple. If you've got an online account with your mobile operator to check out your average usage (minutes called, number of texts sent, amount of data used) and make a note of it (or simply track your usage for a month yourself). You want a monthly allowance that comes as close to matching your average usage as possible.
- Check out competing operators as well as your own to see what prices are like on packages that fit your needs.
- Ask friends & family who live locally who they use and what coverage is like
- Consider extras such as free gifts, 4G rather than 3G mobile data, and range of phones offered for incentive contracts.
- Make your decision!
Pro Tip: We said above that most operators save their best deals for new customers, which is true. However, operators will work to keep you as a customer if they think you're going to leave. If you're serious about getting a great deal then it's definitely worth calling your operator's customer service and politely telling them that you're thinking about moving on and asking if there's anything they can do to persuade you to stay. Some operators will match offers from other operators, for example, whilst others will offer discounted months of service or even free gifts.
A good mobile contract is a necessary expense for most of us. But if you're on a budget, or even if you're not, then choosing the right mobile contract is key. You don't want to end up paying more than you have to, and at the same time, you deserve a certain level of service. Sticking with your current mobile contract might be the right thing to do, but it might not. The only way you're going to know is if you take a little time to look at all your options. Luckily, these days it's fairly easy to change operators, so even if you decided not to remain with your current company getting a new contract should take too long.