Crunch the num­bers for best phone deal

Daily Mercury - - MONEY SAVER - AN­THONY KEANE

A NEW iPhone goes on sale within days and one of the ques­tions fac­ing con­sumers is whether to buy it out­right or pay it off through con­tracts.

The cost of smart­phones has surged to above $2000 for high­end Ap­ple mod­els – but phone spe­cial­ists say out­right own­er­ship can de­liver bet­ter deals in a fast-chang­ing mar­ket.

Maik Ret­zlaff, amaysim’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor mo­bile, said while con­tracts of­fered con­ve­nience and no lump sum up­front, his pref­er­ence was to own out­right. “Don’t lock your­self into a con­tract,” he said. “If you’re a savvy shop­per, buy­ing out­right will pay off in the long run.”

Mr Ret­zlaff said flex­i­bil­ity was im­por­tant be­cause a lot changed dur­ing a 24-month con­tract. “We know that over the last 12 months the av­er­age per­son’s data us­age dou­bled,” he said. Some cheap con­tracts have small data al­lowances “which can lead to a sting”.

There were fi­nance op­tions avail­able to pay off phones but peo­ple should check in­ter­est rates and fees, Mr Ret­zlaff said. They could also wait and snap up a pre­vi­ous model cheaply.

A report last month by con­sumer group Choice said it was of­ten bet­ter value to buy phones out­right be­cause SIMonly plans tended to have more data and phone al­lowances.

Com­par­i­son web­site Whistle­out.com.au’s pub­lisher, Joe Han­lon, said out­right own­er­ship was usu­ally a bet­ter op­tion “but whether you have $2000 to lay down on a new phone is another ques­tion”.

In a con­tract, the cost of a new phone is usu­ally di­vided into equal in­ter­est-free pay­ments over the two-year agree­ment. “So when you do the maths, it kind of works out the same,” said Mr Han­lon, adding that Voda­fone now spreads it out over three years.

Leas­ing deals are spruiked by some providers but are no use for those who hand down older phones to chil­dren.

“The iPhone holds its value over time – at the end of the two-year con­tract you still have a lot of value,” Mr Han­lon said.

Pic­ture: AP Photo/Mar­cio Jose Sanchez

RE­VEALED: The iPhone XR was launched last week.

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