Finding the best mobile plan can be really tricky. Mobile operators don’t make it easy for consumers. There is a vast and confusing array of different plans, networks and allowances on the market. With this in mind we compiled some of our favourite tips for finding the best mobile plan:
1. Consider Coverage
As covered in a previous blog posts, if you’re based outside of an urban centre, coverage can vary drastically. Don’t rush into choosing a provider. In the long run it pays to check coverage before committing to a new network.
Finding the best value mobile plan is useless if you don’t have enough coverage to make a call. Make sure to ask around with people in the area to see if you’ll get enough bars to use your device!
Open Signal is a great tool for anyone looking to check coverage in a certain area. This site uses crowdsourced reports to build a coverage quality map. Hint: Before checking this site it helps to know what infrastructure your mobile network operates on (e.g. many MVNO's in Ireland run on the Three network).
2. Pick the Right Plan Type
Prepay or Billpay, that is the question! We’ve found that Prepay or SIM Only plans can offer some of the best value on the market. Billpay plans that include monthly payments for a phone usually end up costing far more than the cost of buying a phone outright.
But, if you’re looking to pay less upfront on high-end devices such as the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6, a Billpay plan with a 12-24 month contract might be just the ticket. If you're looking for more things to look out for, Thejournal.ie recently did a great piece on picking the right plan type and provider.
3. Know Your Usage
Compare, compare, compare. Don’t go with your gut feeling. Use a comparison app like KillBiller to assess use your usage and find a plan that’s tailored to how you like to use your phone.
Also, it doesn't hurt to visit brick and mortar stores and talk to a representative from the network if you can. Sometimes chatting to a real person makes things clearer than visiting a website. Carphone Warehouse represents most of the major mobile providers in Ireland and can help you to compare and switch.
4. Be Wary of Unlimited
Unlimited allowances? Sounds great, however do you really need them? Unlimited allowances may seem a handy way of avoiding overspending, but, if you examine your usage you’ll probably find that you use far less of these allowances than you think. The latest research from Comreg shows that the average Irish consumer uses 208 minutes, sends 117 texts and uses 1.8GB of data.
Also, be wary that some ‘Unlimited’ data plans can come with a fair usage cap. As the Three terms & conditions on ‘All You Can Eat’ data state, there’s actually a 15GB limit to the service.