Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

How to pick the right mobile phone plan

As many as a quarter of New Zealanders could save money on their mobile phone plan by choosing one better tailored to their use.

That’s easy to say, hard to do. Finding the best mobile phone plan is not straightforward.

There are two problems. First, the way plans are presented makes them hard to compare.

Second, understanding how much to buy is tough if you can’t see your past use. You can get a short transaction history, but you need a year’s worth of information for an informed decision.

You need a full transaction history


Phone companies provide transaction histories on their branded phone apps and on company websites.

How much information is available depends on the company. You can expect to see at least a couple of months of transactions and you may be able to break out data, voice and texts information.

Check the transaction history to see how many voice minutes and how much data you used each month. Write these numbers down.

How does the amount of call minutes and data compare with your current plan?

Break out the numbers


Treat the two numbers, voice minutes and data, as separate.

If both the number of call minutes and data is close to your plan allocation, then you are probably buying the right amount.

If either number is a fair way lower than your allocation, chances are you are spending more than necessary. It’s time to consider a less expensive plan.

One clear sign you should trade down is if your plan has rollover data and you start to accumulate a lot of gigabytes.

It is possible you went over the plan allocation. It may work out cheaper to pay to add on blocks of extra minutes or megabytes of data. Otherwise accept that you may end up paying a one-off amount of few cents extra for casual data or minutes.

One-off mobile phone plan charges


Remember that one-off charges are just that. Moving up to a more expensive mobile phone plan means paying extra every month. If you go over allocation all the time then you could be a candidate for a more expensive plan. But don’t rush into an upgrade ahead of time.

Now you know your needs, you can pick a plan. There are traps to watch for, especially with lower price plans.

Plans can run for one month, one week, two weeks or four weeks. A four week plan means you pay 13 times over the course of a year compared with 12 times for a monthly plan. It makes price comparison hard. You may need a calculator to decide which is better value.

If you want to use your laptop on the move, check the plan allows tethering or hot spotting. Some lower cost plans don’t allow this. Others charge extra.

Sometimes less expensive plans charge extra if you text a photo. This can be referred to a PXT or MMS. You may have to pay, say, 50 cents for each photo. It means you have to maintain an amount of credit on your account on top of the regular plan charge.

The Commerce Commission asked mobile phone companies to make comparisons easier. It didn’t tell them how to do it. Instead the ball is in their court.

Supermarkets


Supermarkets now need to show prices per 100ml to make comparisons easier, many electricity and water companies provide their customers detailed usage information, these are good examples of how telecommunications companies can improve.

Possible improvements include allowing customers to have access to a whole year of transaction history, that would include voice calls, text messages and data use. Carriers could watch to see if customers are overspending and automatically inform them of plans that better suit their needs.

The Commission would like to see a ‘consumer data right’. Consumers would be able to show rival carriers their current use and spend in a way that would allow comparisons and, where appropriate, encourage a better offer.

New Zealand’s mobile sector has come a long way. On the whole competition is delivering benefits to consumers. Yet price confusion remains an everyday headache for consumers.

This article was commissioned by the Commerce Commission.

How to pick the right mobile phone plan was first posted at billbennett.co.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Biden’s Victory: A Eunuch Presidency Beckons

Whatever was set to happen on November 3, President Donald J. Trump would not lose. Falling in that establishment firebreak against democracy known as the Electoral College would not erase, let alone repudiate him. His now victorious opponent, far ... More>>

Reese Ehrlich: Foreign Correspondent: The Challenge For Joe Biden

If he’s smart, the likely President-elect will stop the unpopular endless wars and use the money to help our domestic economy. By Reese Erlich I’m pissed. I’m pissed at Donald Trump for trying to shut down the vote count early and at Republicans More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog