Prepaid vs. Postpaid Cell Phone Plans

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In the past few years, there have been a slew of new wireless phone providers offering a range of benefits including no-contract and no fixed-term packages. The larger number of carriers allow you to choose from competitive pricing, convenience, and the flexibility that comes from open-term contracts. But given a choice between prepaid and postpaid, what should be your choice? Read ahead to find out.

Positives of Prepaid Plans

Getting a prepaid connection has many positives so you can match the option that best fits your needs.

  • Prepaid plans are ideal for people on a fixed budget because they come with a clear-cut payment schedule. Each time you make a call or use data for say, downloading a bunch of videos or a movie, you’ll receive a message informing you of the remaining balance in your account. This feature ensures that you won’t receive a large surprising bill at the end of the month.
  • If you have financial constraints, you’re free to add balances as you see fit and when it is convenient to you.
  • Users who already own unlocked handsets can opt for the prepaid plan from any of the new service providers and continue to use their gadgets. The point behind taking a long-term contract is to offset some of the costs of getting a new phone. That’s a cost you can avoid.
  • If you’re constantly moving to keep up with personal or work commitments, choosing a prepaid connection allows you to cancel the plan at any time and get another plan at your new location.
  • If you’ve just moved into the country with no credit scores, go for the prepaid plan that does not involve credit checks.


Positives of Postpaid Plans

More subscribers are opting for the prepaid packages thanks to the availability of a range of convenient and economical plans that carriers provide. Even so, the market for postpaid plans continues to capture a significant amount of users. Here’s why:

  • If you’re looking for a new phone that has the latest of technology like say, the Apple iPhone, it could set you back by around $1,000 including taxes assuming you’re opting for the highest model. A lower model, like the iPhone 4S 64GB could cost you around $850 without taxes out of a contract. But should you opt for a contract with a carrier that also offers you a phone, you could end up paying $369 with additional taxes per month over a 3-year term. Eventually, you’d save around $500 on the phone. This factor is true for Blackberry and Android smartphones as well. Some plans may also offer a phone for free.
  • Close to 50% of users are likely to opt for new phones. Given that a contract can help them cut back on the costs, it seems like a great idea.
  • If you’re a frequent traveler to the U.S. or offshore destinations, you’ll want to opt for the postpaid contract that can assure that you get efficient cell phone coverage at any location. However, you might want to take a close look at the roaming charges and scout around for the carrier that offers you the most economical prices.
  • The major carrier companies in Canada offer you a range of promotions and features on postpaid connections that are not available on their prepaid plans, like shared data plans and no limit on calls among family members.


Prepaid or Contract Cell Phone Plan? The Better Choice

Given the number of family members in your household using cell phones, you can make a choice from prepaid, postpaid, and pay-as-you-go plans. If you, your spouse and child all have separate phones, choose a plan that saves on the costs of the phone bills and the handsets your family members might prefer.

  • Prepaid plans allow you to pay for the usage in advance, and you’ll have an open contract without the need for commitment.
  • Postpaid plans are the typical end-of-the-month payment plans.
  • Pay-as-you-go plans allow you to purchase a specific number of minutes that are deducted each time you make a call.

Understanding Pay-As-You-Go Plans

Pay-as-you-go plans are ideal for people who like to have a phone for emergency use only. Here are some other features you might want to know about.

  • The company allots you a specific number of minutes on your plan so you can only pay for the service when you’re actually using the phone.
  • Some carriers offer you no limit on the access for the day. For instance, Rogers offers you a plan for $30 that includes unlimited text, image, and video messaging, 250 MB of data, and 50 minutes of calling time to any local location.
  • Take a close look at the expiration dates of the plans. Low-cost plans may remain valid for only 30 days and you’ll lose the unused talk time while high-cost plans may give you validity of up to 12 months.
  • Pay-as-you-go plans are typically more expensive than the postpaid plans or prepaid plans. So, if you are a frequent user, you might want to get one of the cheaper plans.


Understanding Prepaid plans

You could be looking for a cell phone plan that does not require a contract or a package that is not likely to surprise you with large bills at the end of the month. Accordingly, you could choose from the Telus, Rogers, Koodo, Virgin Mobile, Petro Canada, and other carriers. You can compare the rates and plans on OfferHub. Each company may also offer you plans of different denominations and features so you can choose the one that best meets your requirements.

Understanding Family plans

If getting the latest smartphone is an important consideration for you, look for postpaid family plans that can cut back on the cost of the handset. Here are some other important features.

  • If you’re buying a plan for a child, look for a carrier that also offers you parental controls, a feature that is typically available in only postpaid plans. Alternatively, you can download the parental control apps that are available for Android phones.
  • You can also make use of other facilities such as tracking location and driving controls for parents of older kids and teenagers.
  • Get facilities like specific time windows of the day restrictions, talk time and texting limits, and content filtering for data usage for younger kids.


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