When it comes to buying a new mobile phone, your first priority will probably be the handset. Along with a high-resolution touchscreen, other essential features include a powerful processor, a long-life battery, and lots of software innovations.
But you should not overlook your choice of mobile network. Many people fail to consider this factor, even though it could be the difference between lightning-quick 4G speeds and no service whatsoever.
So, what should you be on the lookout for when choosing a mobile network? There are four main factors to consider when you need to do some research on the best provider for your needs.
For most people, price will be the main consideration when choosing a mobile network. But with so much competition, you will probably find there isn’t much difference between the market’s biggest players. Therefore, it makes sense to compare mobile networks for call, text, and data allowances.
Of course, some handsets are available for free with certain deals. However, you will usually have to pay an extra fee for top-of-the-range devices in addition to your standard contract cost.
In many respects, coverage should actually be given greater precedence that price. This is because you might not be able to make calls, send texts, or go online if you’ve got poor network coverage in your area.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, visit each network’s website to find out whether there is sufficient coverage where you live. You can also check with Ofcom’s independent coverage checker. Finally, you may also want to discover which network your friends or family members use, and then ask about the quality of their signal.
In order to secure the phone you want for a reasonable price, you will be asked to sign a contract, which generally lasts for 18 or 24 months. Generally speaking, the only way you can leave before the term comes to an end is to “buy-out” the rest of your contract.
For this reason, some people prefer the flexibility of Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) or SIM-only deals. However, allowances don’t tend to include as much as a contract, and you usually have to own a handset already.
Another critical consideration is how much you’ll be charged when exceeding your allowance limits. Mobile networks will have a standard amount per text, but call charges often depend on whether you are phoning a premium rate number or not.
Data is typically charged per MB or GB and usually costs a lot more than any in-allowance rate. However, some networks will take away your ability to go online altogether and only restore it when you’ve paid a fee.
So, if you are looking for a mobile phone deal but have only thought about which handset you would like, remember to consider the network too. It can spare you trouble and save you money in future.