If you’ve got your smartphone on a contract, you’re probably familiar with the notion of upgrades; you’ll sign a contract which means you’ve got to pay a certain amount of money every month for your phone and usage, which might be for 12 months, 18 months, or 24 months. Once that time is about to be up, of course, your provider is going to want to retain your valuable custom, so you’ll probably get a little nudging phone call from them, where you’ll be offered a ‘free’ upgrade to any number of swanky new handsets. If you want to pay a little extra, you can even upgrade before the end of your initial contract.
The idea is, of course, that upgrading at the end of your contract is often cheaper than ending your contract and then signing for a new one for the same phone. To most people, this sounds like a pretty good reason to upgrade your phone, and so it’s no surprise that we jump at the chance for a bargain. Well, in most cases, this is probably true. However, I’m about to advise you to not necessarily accept the offer of an upgrade. That is, don’t refuse the upgrade, but just… do your research first.
Firstly, just because a phone is ‘better’, doesn’t mean it’s… better. That is, you’ve been using your sturdy little HTC Desire S for a whole year, and someone comes along and offers you a phone with a more powerful processor, a bigger display, and a more recent version of Android. Is your first thought to accept? It’s perfectly possible that you’ll get your new super-phone home and discover you just don’t like it. Smartphones are a very personal thing, and just because a phone’s got great technical specs, it doesn’t mean you’re going to like it any more than the one you’ve got now. Just as you try phones out in shops before you buy them, you should try them out before you accept an upgrade, too.
Second of all, it’s worth thinking about your current contract, and the amount of value you’re getting from it. If your phone provider offers you a new phone at the same rate but you’re still getting less texts and minutes than you would with T-Mobile or Orange, then think twice before accepting. Once you’re locked into a contract for two years, you can’t change your mind and jump ship when you realise you could save more money on a contract with another provider.
Finally, even if you are going to accept the phone upgrade, it’s worthwhile trying to haggle about the rates offered. It’s well-known that most mobile phone network providers will reduce their rates and tariffs if it means keeping a customer; if you really need to, break out the ‘If you don’t lower the cost, I’m going to change network’ card, or even say that another network has promised you a better deal. Honestly, you’d be surprised how much you can get away with – and how much money you can save – by doing a little bit of haggling over the phone. Alternatively, ending your contract and looking for a new one can be a great way to save money too, as it allows you to use comparison websites like Best Mobile Contracts . Your network will only offer you a select number of phones but starting again with a comparison website can help you pick out a new tariff or compare a large number of phone contracts not being offered by your network