Prepaid or Postpaid? Picking the Phone Plan That Is Perfect for You
It is undeniable that phones have become a part of everyone’s lives.
Seldom do you see a person who doesn’t own a cellphone these days. At the very least, one could have the most basic model. More often, however, you will see the latest and most sophisticated mobile phones being used in almost every corner of the world.
Young or old, a phone seems to be a natural extension of one’s limb.
Finding the Perfect Phone Plan
Since having a phone is typically a given in this fast-paced, highly connected world. The only question left to answer is which phone plan to get.
Normally, telecommunication companies offer two main type of phone plans to their subscribers: prepaid and postpaid.
These plans give you the option to choose from a variety of services that would most fit your requirements. There are certain variations that differentiate one plan from the other, and here is where subscribers are usually puzzled over which to choose.
To help you identify which phone plan is best for you, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each main type:
1. Prepaid Phone Plan
1. No contract commitment
Prepaid packages will not require you to be tied down to a contract. All you need to do is buy a prepaid card that suits your mobile needs and just top it up when it runs out.
This lowers your risk of committing to a plan that you might find cumbersome after a while, and it allows you to switch easily when you find yourself eventually veering toward a postpaid plan.
2. Fantastic flexibility
There are several prepaid card packages available today. Depending on your use – whether you need more data, more calls, more text, a combination of calls and texts, and many other permutations – you only have to choose a card that fits you to a T.
- If you’re always on the go and have plenty of contacts abroad, you can opt to choose a prepaid card that offers amazing international rates with unlimited international SMS services.
- If you are hooked on the internet and spend most of your mobile minutes online, booking staycations at the best hotels and spas, then you can choose a prepaid card that offers unlimited data to give you that ease of use on a speedy 4G network.
Whether you need more data or more voice credits, you have great flexibility with a prepaid phone plan as you only pay for services that you use.
There are even promotions that you can take advantage of, like an unlimited validity package where you only need to recharge with any amount to place calls, send SMS, or browse data at least once every 90 days.
3. No fuss sign-up or termination
With a prepaid phone plan, you simply purchase the phone you want, plus the services you need, without having to go through tedious credit checks.
Usually, phone companies won’t require you to plunk down a deposit or pay a termination fee when you decide to discontinue use of your current plan.
1. Higher cost for phone unit
Typically, you’ll need to pay for your phone unit upfront when opting for a prepaid package. Since you are not obliged to sign up for a contract with the phone company, paying full price for the phone of your choice will also protect their interests.
2. Possible phone number loss
For some companies, once you fail to top up your prepaid SIM for a certain period, your phone number will also be deactivated. This will prove to be a hassle, but it could be completely avoidable if you set reminders to recharge your credits.
2. Postpaid Phone Plan
1. No mobile service limit
There really is no limit to the mobile services that you want to purchase. You usually sign up for a set amount every month with a corresponding list of services.
For example, a mobile service provider can give you unlimited minutes on voice and SMS, unlimited data, unlimited roaming data, and up to 300 minutes for international use. On top of that, you can also get a vanity number and a superb device plan for a competitive monthly fee.
However, if you find yourself exceeding the use of voice calls, SMS or data services, you need only pay the amount that went over and beyond your monthly cap.
2. Lower cost for a new phone
Postpaid plans usually offer very attractive prices for their handsets. Either it comes at no cost for certain monthly packages, or at really discounted rates spread out over the two-year contract period. This way, you can easily pick the phone of your choice.
At times, the latest phones are bundled with postpaid plans as well, which makes it very attractive for those who are fond of following the latest phone trends.
3. Convenience for family or group use
Usually, phone companies offer postpaid packages for families or large groups who want to share their mobile services.
Aside from the convenience of maintaining just one account, it provides ease of monitoring of the cost for each member.
1. Excess usage charges
It varies among carrier companies, but excess usage charges can pile up quite a bit when you are not careful. It is a relief, however, that control packages have been made available for postpaid plans as well.
2. Sign-up and termination processes
It is common practice for phone service providers to conduct checks on you first before you can subscribe to a postpaid contract. At the same time, termination before the 24-month contract period can translate to filling out forms and hefty fees.
With the pros and cons listed above, you now have a better idea of what the advantages and disadvantages are for each plan type.
It is also essential that you consider what you need and how you use your phone. By taking into account your lifestyle, your budget, and the coverage area that your phone company covers, you can be guided toward choosing the perfect phone plan that caters to your requirements.
Azhar Abulhamayel is the Head of Marketing - National Segment and High Value at Zain KSA. The company was the first operator in the Middle East to commercially launch the 4G/LTE network. Zain serves +10M customers, has extended its network coverage to 94% of the population, and attracts thousands of new customers daily.