The ins and outs of cell phone contracts

By JimmyCliff on January 21, 2011 In Finance





Cell Phone Contracts In General
A cell phone contract is an agreement between the buyer and the wireless service provider. Usually it is of 1 or 2 years of duration, during which a consumer is legally bound to remain with the wireless service provider. A pre-paid contract does not need a contract term but then discounts are also not offered. Cell phone contracts specify the service plan that the consumer has opted in for.
The Top Names In Cell Phone Contracts
Cingular and T-Mobile plans let the subscriber roam the world with the same phone for a fee. National plans give the facility of roaming within the nation, from state to state without any extra charges. Some carriers also include Canada in their coverage areas besides the local area. Regional plans are valid only for tri-state areas and they give more talk time and save money. How to Simplify Billing for Your Household Family plans allow splitting minutes between two or more lines thereby becoming a popular plan in households, where cell phones are replacing landlines.
Cell Phone Trials And Discounts
Carriers generally give a trial period before enforcing the contract term. Almost all carriers give at least 14 days whereas Cingular gives 30 days of trial period. A 1-year cell phone contract has a shorter commitment period, which may prove to be beneficial if the phone needs repairs, or is lost. In addition, since the period is short, one may avail of new discounts that come up with their new contract. After the term of 1-year ends, the phone can be kept without any contract and no penalty is charged for not renewing. However, in a 1-year contract, the activation fee and/or the phone may not be cheap. Certain discounts and promotional offers cannot be availed of as in a 2-year period.
Watch For Activation Fees In Cell Phone Contracts
In a 2-year cell phone contract, the activation fee and/or the phone may not be expensive. Huge discounts on the phone may be availed. Special promotions may be availed. However, the phone is kept for a longer duration and hence, more money may be spent on repairing, insuring, or replacing. The opportunity to buy a new phone reduces, and thus may not be eligible to switch carriers. It is always advisable to read the fine print on the contract form. Expensive phones may also opt for phone replacement insurance plans; however, due to the costs of such plans, few subscribe to these plans.
Pre Paid Gets Rid Of Cell Phone Contracts
Pre-Paid or No Contract phones are not available with all cell phone companies. They are attractive as they require no commitment, you can get them even if you have bad credit, and there is no penalty whatsoever for switching companies or stopping the use of your cell phone. However, call charges may be more expensive, and no promotional discounts etc., may be availed of.
Penalties Included In Cell Phone Contracts
After the trial period of 14 or 30 days is over, when the phone is bought, the penalty for breaking the contract can range from $150 to $600, depending on where the phone was bought. Before the contract finishes, if a new phone is to be bought, then some companies give a customer loyalty discount, which in effect extends the contract. This may prove to be expensive when compared to buying a new phone with a good discount. Cell phones generally last for 19 months and phone batteries for a year.

Autopage cellular South Africa is the largest independent service provider in the country, offering you the right cell phones, right packages, right advice as well as getting it right for you.