MSE Blog: My MoneySaving mobile dilema: contract or pay-as-you-go?

edited 20 March 2012 at 3:27PM in Mobiles
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Former_MSE_AndreaFormer_MSE_Andrea Former MSE
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edited 20 March 2012 at 3:27PM in Mobiles
Hi all, this is a thread to discuss the MSE blog:


My MoneySaving mobile dilemma: contract or pay-as-you-go?


"I’ve had a pay-as-you-go mobile for some time now. But with so many new all-singing, all-dancing phones available, it’s easy to be tempted into buying a new contract phone...."
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  • MobeerMobeer Forumite
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    Hardly sounds like a dilema - you don't want to use the functionality of a smart phone, so no point in paying for one.
  • Stuart_WStuart_W Forumite
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    Surely, you should apply usual moneysaving logic - look at all the options available and choose the cheapest based on what you want.

    From the description in Andrea's article, it looks like she may have an increased need to text but other than that doesn't use her phone much, paying £2-£5 on PAYG.

    If most of those texts are calls amongst family, various same network deals may be the best - Talkmobile 2p texts, giffgaff free with £10 top up every 3 months, etc.

    More information is actually needed to provide the best moneysaving advice on exactly what tariff or network is best (one main issue being which signals work best in key areas that are important, such as home, work, daughter's school etc), but just like any other consumer decision, if you don't want a smart phone, don't buy one. My Nokia 1112 is doing me perfectly well, thank you. I don't have a iphone and don't consider it a dilemma whether to get one.

    I get the impression that it isn't really moneysaving that is the issue here, it's being uncertain about what you actually want. Work that out first, then work out the cheapest way to do that.
  • FLA27FLA27 Forumite
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    I have the Orange San Francisco smart phone and it does not cost me any more to run than my previous little Nokia phone.

    I use the Orange PAYG Dolphin plan which is a £10 a month top up. This gives me 400 texts and 100MB of data. Not much for some, but more than enough for me. Since I am a low user when it comes to phone calls, I don't use up much of the £10 top up in a month. Instead of topping up by £10 every month to get the data allowance and texts, I use the previous months £10 to by two lots of extras - £5 for 250MB of data and £5 for unlimited texts.

    Since I only top up every other month, (two months in a row when the credit starts to get too low), on average my monthly spend for my PAYG smart phone is just over £5 a month.

    I would find it difficult to get a contract this cheap and at least with PAYG, if I mess up, I know I can only lose my existing credit and not end up with a shock when I receive my bill (probably worry too much about things like that!).

    Hope that makes some sense.
  • Stuart_WStuart_W Forumite
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    FLA27 describes exactly the best way to use PAYG by combining both top up rewards (eg 400 texts and 100MB data with a £10 top up on Orange Dolphin) and buying bundles to get the best value. This might be the best plan for Andrea's dilemma. It does depend on her expected usage, which she doesn't detail fully.

    If she is likely to be using a little more than FLA27, then something like Tesco Mobile's deal on a Samsung SS5570 might be worthwhile, available on a capped monthly contract for £10/month with Tesco Mobile, 5000 texts, 250 mins and 500MB of data. This kind of usage would have a similar cost on SIM only deals, so if it is suitable, no need to be in a dilemma over the cost of the phone. Just a willingness to commit to a 24 month contract.
  • Obvious answer, wait for the hand me down to be the required spec.

    Alternative, get the husband with the contract to keep his existing phone at renewal and get a smart phone that way.

    Use a suitable tariff for PAYG that comes with data with top ups as others suggest.
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