Before you choose a service and sign a contract with a mobile phone company, it's good to know what the various offers and services mean. A Critical Information Summary will provide you with clear information about products, plans and services allowing you to compare offers from mobile phone companies. Providers are also required to have a range of information on their websites, including information about mobile coverage.
Some things to consider before you enter a contract are:-
- Will some calls be included in your monthly fee or will you need to pay extra for every call you make?
- Will the provider give you satisfactory mobile service performance for the locations where you will mostly use the service?
- What type of service agreement do you want to enter with the provider?
Types of service agreements
There are four basic types of service agreements for mobile services. These are:
Mobile phone service contracts are a specified length, usually between 12 and 36 months. During this period you may be provided with a connection, a handset or device, and a certain number of free calls or text messages per month.
However, choose carefully as you may be agreeing to a one or two-year contract for which early termination fees may apply if you change your mind.
Pay monthly (no contract)
If you own your own handset or device. This offers you flexibility and it's possible to shop around for the best network access deal.
Prepaid mobile phone services offer more control on the amount of money spent on call. You can use your own handset or device, or buy one separately.
Call charges for prepaid mobile services can be higher with some phone companies.
If the handset or device is part of a prepaid package, it might be locked to a particular company and you may have to pay an 'unlocking fee' if you want to change networks.
There are also special requirements to identify yourself when you buy a prepaid service.
Renting or leasing a mobile handset or device may be a suitable alternative if you only need a mobile phone for a specific period. At the end of the lease, you can either return the handset or device, or continue with the lease. Leasing prevents you from being tied to a lengthy contract.