Flirting with migration to prepaid
Ihave always had a cellphone contract. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that I recently had to ask someone how to buy prepaid data. The thing is, I got my first cellphone back in the dark ages when phones were the size and weight of a brick, and contracts were the only available option. I even have the same cellphone number.
However, when my BlackBerry gave up the ghost two months before my contract was due for a renewal, I took over my husband’s old iPhone 5 and saw a great opportunity to rid myself of contracts and to move to prepaid.
As I already had a handset, I thought it was a great way to save some money. I had also discovered that over the past 24 months, I had been overpaying for the amount of minutes I used on contract. I was on the 200-minute contract and yet had more than R2 000 worth of call time available. I had also opted not to receive emails on my cellphone (they were getting way too distracting), so I needed less data.
My research surprised me when I realised the extent to which handsets are subsidised.
Based on MTN’s offering, a new iPhone 5s (32GB) with 100 anytime minutes, 200 SMSes and 300MB of data costs R369 a month. If I used prepaid for this same connectivity, I would be spending about R180 a month.
This meant I could save about R189 a month, but on
the other hand, if I went with the contract, it would mean I would, in effect, get a new phone for R4 536 (R189 multiplied by 24 months).
By comparison, a 16GB iPhone 5 retails on the iStore for R9 000.
I was also concerned about the hassle factor of running out of airtime. I looked at the “no phone” contracts offered by MTN and for a 24-month contract at R139 a month, I could buy my 100 minutes, 200 SMSes and 300MB of data.
This was a saving of about R41 a month to prepaid, but I would now be in a contract and if my phone died on me and I had to get a new device, I would still be locked into this 24-month agreement.
In the end, I decided that a contract with a handset made the most sense, considering I was already saving about R200 a month by selecting fewer anytime minutes and, as my BlackBerry experience had demonstrated, cellphones have a shelf life.
By having my husband’s phone as a spare, we don’t have to insure the phone if I lost it during the contract. This is another saving.
A quick comparison with Vodacom and I discovered that it was charging R429 a month for an iPhone 5 with only 75 minutes, 200 SMSes and 200MB.
Basically, Vodacom was charging R60 more for less – which proves that it is really worth shopping around.
MONEY SAVER Prepaid can slash your monthly cellphone bill