Christmas is just around the corner and you may be thinking of buying a
mobile phone or 'smartphone', either for yourself or for a friend/family
member. While a phone can be a great gift, it usually has ongoing obligations
that extend well beyond Christmas.
If you're looking at getting a mobile phone on a contract or plan, it is
important to understand the contract terms and conditions before signing
Remember to shop around for a plan that offers best value for the types of
services that are going to be used.
Contracts may cover the provision of both a mobile service and handset.
Mobile contracts commonly run for a period of 12 months or two years. Given the
length of the commitment, make sure you obtain and understand the contract
information before signing up and compare different plans.
So remember to ask your provider the following questions:
- How long is the contract term?
- What is the minimum cost I have to pay per month?
- Does this include an amount for the handset and if so, how much?
- What types of calls, SMS and data are included in any 'cap' or
'included value' plan?
- What is the cost of making a call, sending a SMS and downloading
- What happens if I exceed the 'cap or 'included value'?
- Are there alerts based on my spending and/or usage to help avoid any
unexpectedly high bills?
- What is the total minimum cost over the contract period?
- Are there any charges if I end the contract early?
- How often do I receive a bill? What are the payment methods? Are there
any late payment fees?
If you're buying the phone for someone else, you should also ensure that
they'll be responsible for any debts. Usually the person buying the phone is
legally liable for any debts and there can be costs involved transferring the
phone to someone else.
If you don't want to buy a mobile phone and service on a contract, another
option may be to consider buying a mobile phone outright and get a prepaid
And finally, if you are going to be travelling overseas, ask the provider
about roaming costs and how to turn off roaming on your phone before you