Editor’s Note: Neil Aitken is telco commentator, Prepaid advocate, and a guest contributor to Red Wire. This blog is his own opinion and is not sponsored.
Prepaid plans have been a feature of our lives for what feels like forever. The image that pops into my head, when I think of them, is a picture I’m sure we’ve all seen: I imagine a supermarket, with a very busy mum buying a recharge for a couple of her children. Prepaid plans can be strongly associated with youth (and therefore, immaturity). They are, to some degree, looked down upon, by a large part of the population.
However, Prepaid plans should, in my opinion, be top of your consideration list! The truth about Prepaid is that most people have misconceptions about the service, misconceptions that were formed many years ago that have since remained unexamined.
The reality is that appropriately managed (using the My Vodafone self-service app, which I’ll explain below) Prepaid plans will suit a great many people better than any other plan type. Here are the most common myths about prepaid plans.
8 key myths about prepaid plans
- I don’t want to lose my phone number by moving over to a prepaid service: The simple fact is that, in many cases, you can keep your existing phone number if you move to a prepaid service. Whether you’re coming from another phone company or moving from a Vodafone postpaid plan to a Prepaid alternative, there is no need to change your digits. The process to bring your number with you rarely takes longer than a few hours. Usually, it’s much faster than that.
- I’ll have to use a cheap prepaid phone: Whether you have a Prepaid or a Postpaid SIM, you can insert it in the phone you have now. In fact, holding on to phones when people come out of contracts is one of the biggest trends in telco right now. Adding a prepaid plan is a great way to eek out a few more months usage of your favourite smartphone when the contract comes to an end. (And that helps to keep costs down, too.)
- Prepaid will work out more expensive for me: Prepaid plans tend to offer the best value at lower spend levels – think somewhere in the region of $30 a month. The rates you’ll get on a Prepaid plan are often exactly the same as rates on other plan types. Extra data, for example, is $10 per GB whether you’re on a prepaid or a postpaid plan with Vodafone. (Other ‘Data Packs’, with different data rates, are also available.) Additionally, with Vodafone’s ‘MyMix’ prepaid plans you can configure your plan to include the things you need (like more data, if that’s what you need) and leave out the things you don’t (like international calls) if you don’t need them.
- I need the best network coverage possible: The network coverage you’ll get with prepaid is exactly the same as the coverage you’d get if you were paying $100 a month for a postpaid plan with a top of the range phone. You will get the same data speeds with your Prepaid service and exactly the same 3G and 4G footprint. It’s the same quality of coverage you’d get if you were paying $100 a month for a Postpaid plan with a top-of-the-range phone.
- It’ll run out when I need it most: Arguably the biggest way that Prepaid plans wave changed in the last 10 years is the convenience of managing them. Smartphone apps like MyVodafone make checking in on your usage, entitlements, and remaining balances as easy as checking your bank balance. Not only can you recharge your Prepaid service in seconds online, from the couch, you can establish helpful facilities online, including auto-recharge, which will actually do the work for you.
- Recharging is a hassle: In the past, clunky SMS recharge facilities and calls might have been necessary to recharge your phone. Now, you can use the self-service app to recharge your service easily mid-way through a month or when you want to renew.
- They won’t have a plan which gives me what I need: This is the biggest myth of them all! Prepaid isn’t a single plan type, it’s a range. There are Prepaid plans which will last 90 days on a single recharge and some which will last you a week if that’s all you need at the time. In my opinion, you are far more likely to find a Prepaid plan that fits you perfectly than if you buy any other plan type!
Summing it up
Prepaid plans have a number of benefits over the alternatives.
- They’re predictable: you know exactly what you will be spending each month; you have to consciously decide to spend more.
- They are flexible: you can move up or down spends each month if you’d like to, without penalty.
- They’re convenient: the self-service apps make managing them simple.
- Finally, Prepaid plans let you keep the phone you love and use exactly the same network as people on two-year contracts.
The reality is, that when you get beyond the myths, Prepaid plans are the perfect plan for a huge number of people. It’s just a shame that some of the misconceptions about how they work have hung around for so long.
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