Flirt­ing with mi­gra­tion to pre­paid

CityPress - - Business -

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

Maya Fisher


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

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