Want a better mobile deal? Check your usage and pick up the phone! – EFTM

Want a better mobile deal? Check your usage and pick up the phone!

a response to an article on news.com.au

Someone’s stirred the hornet’s nest, got people talking, wondering if we’re all getting ripped off – yep, Mobile plans are in the spotlight and we’re being asked to consider the fact that the writer’s bad experience has put him off contracts for life!

Well, hip-hip-hooray!  Mobile contracts are a pain, not because of the value they provide, not because if you get drunk and smash your phone you’re left paying off something that you don’t have any more.  Mobile contracts are a pain because they remove one really awesome thing from you – flexibility.

But let’s get real – not everyone can afford to walk away from these contract plans.  Campbell Simpson over at Gizmodo write a telling response today outlining why you really should take care of your phone – especially when you don’t own it outright.  I couldn’t agree with Campbell more.

What I want to get deeper into here is the fact that yes, there may just be a better deal out there, and just because you’re on a contract does not mean you can’t get some of the action!

Matt over at news.com.au makes the point that his original $80 Vodafone plan gave him 2.5 GB of data.  Now I’m assuming that was some time ago – perhaps back in 2014. Back then, that was a good deal – but things moved fast, and today their $80 plan offers 6GB of data, 9GB if you’re a new customer or getting a whole new contract because of the regular offers of “bonus data” you’ll see these days.

So you can see why Matt is frustrated by his measly little 2.5GB.

His solution?

“Surely telcos could do this automatically as part of “customer service” – especially given its cost them literally nothing to give the customer extra data.”

Yeah, no.  Great idea, and I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t want to break it to you young man (he self-identifies as a millennial – and I’m the old man here right?) we’re talking about “Mobile phone Contracts” – the key word is contract.  It’s a binding legal agreement.  One party can’t just up and make a change, no matter how positive you perceive that change to be.

There are also loads of people who hold on for grim life to their old plans – grandfather plans the Telco calls them.  Perhaps 5 years ago you signed up and got “unlimited social media” – well that would be pretty sweet today with all the data pumping through Facebook and Twitter right?  You’d be filthy if they removed that but at the same time gave you double the data?  Yes.

The fact is, there are always going to be better deals.  Better mortgages, better credit card deals, better home broadband deals and way way better Mobile plans.

You’re the consumer, you’re responsible for your monthly spending.  You’re in control of what you pay and who you pay it to.

Pick. Up. The. Phone.  It ain’t hard.

Now I too am like Matt – I’ve not had a mobile phone contract for ages, being on a SIM Only plan is awesome – great deals, flexibility to change carriers whenever you want. I encourage this to my readers, listeners and viewers at every opportunity.

But, I get to review phones all year, I have the latest and greatest phones all the time – so I don’t even need to buy a phone (and I doubt Matt really does either).  I’m lucky.

The reality is a huge percentage of the population do want the latest phones, and the best or only way they can do that is on a contract plan.

So here’s the secret to getting the best deal.

Sign up to a 24 month plan, get the phone you want, get the data and inclusions you need.  But do NOT sign up to a contract for more than you need.

The reason for that is – you can change your plan any time during your contract.  You can call your telco and ask about better inclusions or more data deals at any time.  You can switch to a different and more current deal at any time – as long as that new deal is of equal or higher value.  Kinda moving sideways or up in the plan structure.

Bottom line, if Matt had called Vodafone after 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or any time up to his 24 month contract ending, he could have been moved onto one of those great new plans with all that fabulous data – just by asking.  And no, his contract wouldn’t have been extended to expire 24 months from the change of plan.  The contract dates stay the same, the contract value can stay the same (or be higher if you choose), but you can get the latest and better inclusions.

“You can call it self-entitled, but I call it living in 2016.”

Sorry Matt, it’s just self-entitled.  Anyone can get a better deal.  Sign up to a club to have deals sent to your inbox, or pickup the phone and call your telco or call around the other telcos, you’ll be surprised what 30 mins on the phone might get you.

Here’s a classic example of sitting on your hands and paying way too much.  My mate Brenden Wood – he won’t mind (too much) me making an example of him, but I can recall 5 years ago him talking about paying Telstra $180 a month – it was ridiculous, but “I’m on a plan”.

Recently he tweeted that he’d moved on and got a better deal with Vodafone paying just $50 a month!:

$400 bills I asked? What the heck? Yep, here are his last 12 months bills:

Wait a minute, what on earth is going on there? I asked:

That’s an example of just sitting back and watching the money leave your bank. You’ve got to pick up the phone, you’ve got to take ownership.

No, Mobile Phone contracts aren’t the best thing on the planet for consumers when it comes to flexibility and always having the best deal. But they aren’t going away – they are a reality.

You wanna save money? Pick up the phone. Do it now.

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OpinionTech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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