Signing a postpaid contract is often a necessary procedure to get the smartphone and service that you want and/or need. However, committing yourself to a contract can be nerve-racking especially if you can no longer go back.
Make sure not to take contracts lightly; after all, you will be agreeing to pay a substantial amount of money every month for the next one or two years because of it.
So before you pick up your pen and sign a contract with your chosen service provider, here are important considerations to keep in mind:
1. Trial period
There are some service providers who are willing to offer a limited trial period. During this time, you can easily cancel your contract without incurring a penalty fee. Find out first if your chosen service provider offers this trial which is likely to last no more than 30 days.
Once you get a trial period, make use of the time wisely. As much as you can, use your smartphone in different locations so that you will know if the service coverage is extensive enough so you can use it wherever you need it. If it doesn’t, then you may have to switch to a better service provider.
2. Cancellation options
It’s important that you know how to get out of the contract when necessary. Most companies will give a penalty fee if you want to terminate the contract early.
Before you sign up, ask how much exactly you will have to pay should you want to cancel the contract and if the amount will decrease over time.
3. Hidden and overage fees
Not all fees written on your phone bill are obligatory. You should always be on the lookout for services that you didn’t ask for. Upon signing, ask upfront about these additional phone services.
The best way to save when in a postpaid contract is to only pay for the minutes you need. If you don’t make phone calls a lot, you may not need to get an unlimited calling plan. However, if you’re a frequent caller, do consider getting more than enough minutes as going over your allotted calls can lead you to incur overage fees.
You may end up getting charged a per minute fee which can be quite pricey for every extra minute that you use. Figure out what the rate is and do all you can to avoid it.
You may be satisfied with the new phone that you’re going to get after signing the contract. But remember, you may not always feel that way as new phone models are released every year. The phone may lose its appeal before your service contract ends.
Ask what options you have for replacing or upgrading your phone and what fees you will have to pay in those scenarios.
5. Introductory price
Most service providers will want you to sign a contract so that they can lock you up in a payment agreement.
Regardless of which service you want, remember that prices fluctuate over time. No matter how great the initial offer is, find a way to negotiate with the service provider to mitigate the price of their introductory promotional offer.
6. Extensive terms and conditions
Once you get a hold of the fine print, familiarize yourself with everything written on it.
For instance, when you sign up, you may also have to buy a pricey data plan or pay full price for free movie channels once the introductory promotion ends. To ensure that you only get the best deals, make sure to discuss and ascertain the length of any promotional period.
7. Roaming options
Travelling abroad with your smartphone can be expensive, but that’s only if your phone will work outside the country. Not all service providers offer roaming options that are compatible with the technologies used in other places.
Even if your service provider does offer roaming, you will still find that calls you make and receive abroad can be expensive. If you frequently travel overseas, ask your chosen service provider about specific roaming options.
If you really need to sign a contract, make sure to evaluate all the terms and conditions written into it so you won’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises down the line.
Also, take some time to shop around and compare offers to pick the one that promises you the best service and value. To make your contract more beneficial to your needs, don’t hesitate to negotiate with service representatives.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.