Thursday, 13 December 2012

Coming to the End of My Mobile Phone Contract

This is currently how I have to recharge my mobile phone...
Turns out my "trusty" Samsung Galaxy S1, is probably more "rusty" than trusty. For a while now, it's had it's problems, and then 2 weeks ago I dropped it in the bath...

It's those damn breast pockets. Ideal placement for your mobile until you bend over like I did getting my son out of the bath. Doh!

I fished it out quickly, took the battery out and left it near a radiator to dry out overnight. Thing is, it wasn't very well before I did this, so I've been oggling new phones and trying not to fall for any hype over any NBT (Next Big Thing).

So what am I doing about it?

Well, without going into too much detail, it's still just about useable for now, but it's definitely on the way out. If you're wondering, I don't want to claim on my house insurance for something so trivial. The main problem though,  is the end of my contract is 4 months away. There are also some very tasty phones about at the moment, so I need to fight off the temptation for now unless there's a decent deal/compromise to be done.

Now, if you've read my earlier post about mobile deals, you'll know I'm on 300 minutes, 1000 texts, and unlimited data for just £18/mth. If I wanted to get out of this contract, it would cost me less than £80, but then looking round, not many people are offering a similar minutes/texts/data deal at the moment. Is it because it's less than 2 weeks to Christmas? I don't know, so I've decided to use a combination of money saving tactics.

Firstly, I read this post - Save Thousands of Dollars with this One little Rule which sounds like a brilliant idea. If I can struggle on for 30 days without too much hassle, then common sense says I can do it for a further 90 when my contract is up. At the same time, I have decided to take a few screenshots of the current deals available for the phones I want, and will go back and see if, or how much, they have changed next month (I'll let you know the results).

I have a feeling some of the deals will change dramatically because of the time of year - things are generally cheaper after the Christmas marketing onslaught when people feel an obligation to buy stuff because presents are going to be exchanged.
Take the Galaxy Note for instance. The series two that's just come out is £550 SIM free*, but the previous model, the series one, is still £500 SIM free. Why would you buy the Note 1 at that price? Seems to me they're trying to flog them for as much as they can before Christmas perhaps??
On top of this, it's also the nature of the market with mobile electronics devices. Hardware is generally made quite cheaply overseas and then flogged at a mark up of 100% or more. Did you know that the components used to make an iPhone 5 cost around $200? Of course there's marketing budgets, design, delivery etc. as well to take into account, but I'm pretty sure the additional $450 in the retail price covers that quite comfortably thank you very much.
So making mobile phones seems to be quite a profitable business, and in order to make as much profit as possible from that business, it makes sense to sell more phones. And how do you do that? By bringing something better out every couple of years.
Oh but wait! The competition have started bringing a new product out every year now, stealing your sales!! And they sneakily wait until your latest product launch to see what you've done and then usurp it with a better specced model a couple of months later!!! And so it goes on. Samsung are starting to suffer from this. They released their Galaxy S3 model in June 2012, and I'm told by a techie guy in the know, that Samsung may be bringing out the replacement S4 as early as March 2013 now, to counter their rivals releases. Come March, the today's kings of the tree might be on really good deals, after all, who wants last year's phone?
But should I necessarily "buy" or upgrade to a new phone though?
My brother has the Galaxy S2, the phone that originally replaced my model, and it seems to still serve him well enough. It's much faster than mine, does email, browsing, facebook and all the other things you'd expect easily enough and it also has the latest version of the operating system - the same as the latest phones... Plus you can get your hands on one for as little as £150. Talking of which, at cash converters, you can pick up used versions of the current S3 for £300, a saving of £200 over a new one.
Or perhaps I should choose a less popular phone?
Nokia have brought several models out lately, which initially had the usual £500 SIM free price tag attached, but within a few short months, they're down to £300 SIM free, probably because they just aren't selling as well as their rivals.
Are they poorer phones? Maybe so, but I'm willing to bet, you can still browse, email, facebook etc. so is a "better" phone's £200 price premium worth it for the slightly better software etc.? In real terms almost definitely not.
It's fascinating how the market fluctuates, so I've been keeping tabs on various deals and phones. It seems to me there's probably an ideal time to get the best deal on a phone and naturally I'm interested in finding out when that might be. I'll keep you posted!
* I've quoted SIM free prices, because most of the time, (but not always!), it's the cheapest way of buying a new phone. Those contracts that provide you with a free handset, usually work out more overall than the cost of a SIM free phone + comparable separate/existing contract.


  1. Interesting conundrum you have there! Here in the U.S. we can opt for a new 2-year contract and that will give us a great bargain on the phones (so you don't have to pay retail).

    I just bought an iPhone 5 (with a 2-year contract) for $200 and my wife got the Galaxy S3 for $50!

  2. Oh we get them at much reduced initial cost as well, but the contract I'm on is such a good one, especially at the price - If I want the same contract and to pay little or nothing for the handset, unfortunately I'd be looking at doubling my monthly bill at least :(
    BTW, thanks for stopping by, appreciated

  3. Interesting, here in Canada you're allowed to renew your contract within 6months of it ending and still get the promo prices. Usually if you sign a 3yr contract you pay 0$ or close to it...I've heard that if you're looking for a 'best' time to buy a phone it's in December and June given that cell phones are a hot ticket for both Christmas and graduation gifts-the market gets competitive. Good luck!

  4. So it's actually a better time to buy a phone before Christmas then? Oh well, puts me out that, although the models I'm looking at will naturally get cheaper as time goes on.
    Incidentally, I haven't seen any contracts longer than 2 years over here yet, and with the popularity and pace of smartphone development I don't think we will, unless they offer a similar early get out option.

  5. Matt, I just upgraded my phone to the Galaxy s3 mini, 14.50 per month 300mins 500 texts and 750mb internet + free phone. Unfortunately I'm locked in for two years, which kinda sucks but otherwise it seems ok.

    I noted on my blog that taking the time to have a chat with your customer services can really help. Also shop around!


    1. I admit I haven't talked to my provided yet, I've been using comparison sites to look at different deals, and they're often much cheaper than dealing with providers direct. I've whittled it down now, so will give them a call and see if they want to keep me.


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