Simple hacks for getting the most out of your mobile plan

Tech expert Charlie Brown shares his tips and tricks for getting the right plan for you.

When it comes to buying your next mobile phone plan, there are plenty of options on the market to choose from. There are so many, knowing which one is right for you can often be a little baffling!

So before you lock into a contract, it’s worth considering a few simple hacks you can do to make sure that it’s the right plan for you.

TODAY chatted to Tech Expert Charlie Brown to find out exactly what you need to be on the lookout for when signing up to your next contract.

TODAY: Plenty of us sign up to a new phone plan but don’t actually know if we’re leasing or financing the phone — how can we tell?

BROWN: Two out of the three big telcos are promoting plans that involve leasing. A lease plan differs from a regular 24 month contract — with the customer having to hand back the handset at the end of the contract period. On a regular 24 month contract the customer is able to keep the handset once all the monthly payments over the 24 month term have been completed. Customers are being attracted to the leasing option because the monthly amount they pay can often be a few dollars lower than a regular 24 month contract. However, many don’t realise they are foregoing the ownership of the handset. This can be $400-$600 in value at the end of the two-year period, depending on the handset.

TODAY: How do we know what the terms of our phone contract are and can we change them?

BROWN: Some contracts allow the customer to amend the plan during the 24 month period and others do not. Ask whether you can amend the plan during this term should the telco offer better deals to new customers.

TODAY: Prepaid plans seem like a thing of the past, but they’re still quite popular aren’t they?

BROWN: Prepaid is great. Many customers just sign up to the advertised rate for a handset and/or plan. But phone companies are always having sales promotions and offers to encourage customers to sign up. A quick search of websites like OzBargain can lead to the customer being able to obtain a discount of as much as 30%. I know these offers exist, I took advantage of one when renewing an annual prepaid service for my wife!!

A telco that offers a 28 day refresh for $40 is more expensive than an equivalent that offers a 35 day refresh for $40, so take into account the term of the prepaid offer. Some prepaid offers are for longer periods of time — such as three months or 12 months — and the customer is incentivised to sign up for longer by way of a lower price.

TODAY: If we are having to lease a phone or change it every two years, how can we maximise the resale value?

1. Water resistance — a water resistant handset simply means your handset will keep working if you drop in water (such as if you’re spending time by the pool or at the beach). Some children enjoy stealing their parents phones and throwing them in the bath. A water resistant phone will last longer in wet environments and mean that your handset is likely to operate for a longer period of time.

2. A Case — a good case is an investment. We will always experience accidental damage with our phones and a good quality case will mean your phone will last longer, and more importantly, will last longer in a resellable condition. So when it comes time to change phones and you decide to sell your handset, you will get a higher price for it and you can put that money toward your next phone..

TODAY: What about purchasing a phone outright — does this minimise cost?

BROWN: You don’t need to spend big to get big feature list and good quality. New handsets launching in the market come in under $300 and have features like face scanning for improved security, high definition screens for better movie playback and two-day battery life for improved usage.

* In highlighting particular offers we are not making specific recommendations as this article does not cover all available products and may not compare all features relevant to you. Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take account of your needs, objectives or financial situation. Individuals should consider their own circumstances, and if in doubt seek appropriate advice, before proceeding.

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