A lot of contract phone users get all sniffy about PAYG. There’s a certain reputation of it being something for kids or for people who don’t have jobs and anyone sending out the SMS "can you call me back, I’ve run out of credit?" has never done it any favours.
But life on top up doesn’t have to be that way. Pay monthly contracts are the merry-go-round and, while it’s easier to notice the PAYG roller-coaster’s lows, it’s well worth noticing the highs of the system as well, because it might just be something that you should be using - at least for a small part of your mobile habits. Here are 10 reasons why you might want to try PAYG.
You don’t talk much
If, unlike Bob Hoskins, you don’t feel it’s so good to witter away on the blower, then PAYG might be a good thing for you. All the networks offer oodles of free texts and data as PAYG bonuses for very little, but it’s really the minutes that are at a premium. For example, for £5 3 offers 3000 texts and 500MB and that’s just one of all sorts of things you can get without having to sign your life away for 18 months at a time. Likewise, if you’re already on the bottom pay monthly package and you’re still not using your minutes, then it might well be time to make the switch.
You only talk at the weekend
Either you work nights and you never end up communicating with anyone from Monday to Friday or you just like to focus really hard during the week but, either way, if you only need to natter at the weekend, then PAYG still might be a more worthwhile step than a contract, which you’re not using 5/7ths of the time. Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone all offer special deals for calls on Saturdays and Sundays that start anywhere from £2.50 per week.
All your friends and family are on the same network
Pay monthly users pretty much take it for granted these days that all minutes they get in their allowances are any time, any network minutes, but that’s not the way it works on PAYG. As we’ve said before, those things are the expensive part of the topping up lifestyle. However, it also means that things like same-network-only minutes still exist on PAYG and they’re almost as easy and cheap to come by as SMS. 3’s £5 Add-on deal for 3000 texts and 500MB of data also comes with 300 same network minutes which might well be enough if everyone you need to speak to is on 3 as well. Another option is Vodafone’s Vodafone Family deal whereby you buddy up in a group of four - family or otherwise - one of you pays £5 and then the rest get a month of free calls within the group.
You call abroad a lot
Whether it’s friends and family back home or a loved one who’s moved away, PAYG tends to cater very well for free international minutes. In other words, you can call all land lines and mobile phones in another country from the UK at hugely reduced rates or with batches of bonus minutes. That’s generally not something on offer unless you pay extra with a contract phone but Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone all have PAYG tariffs that include free international talk time.
You’re abroad yourself
Everyone could benefit from going PAYG when on holiday. It’s one thing to have to call back home, but the minute you need to get hold of someone who’s on holiday with you, things can start getting really expensive. Instead, pick up a few foreign SIMs for the few of you out there, top up a tiny amount each and you’ll find it lasts you your entire week out in Marbella. If you happen to be somewhere like the Philippines you’ll never be able to get through it at all.
You live in the sticks
As much as the mobile networks are getting coverage more and more sussed, there are still plenty of rural areas of the UK with little to zero reception. If you’re all too used to seeing no bars of signal on your mobile screen, then you’d probably better switch to PAYG if you haven’t already. With no reception in your local area, you’re not going to be making many calls and there’s no point in paying each month for a service you’re just not going to get.
The success of Orange’s weekly 2 for 1 cinema deal has been phenomenal but, just because you happen to be on contract with one of the other UK networks, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a piece of the cheap deal movie pie. Pick yourself up an Orange SIM, put on a minimal top up once and then you can use the thing to text for the deal each time you need your tickets. At 35p, that’ll last you a few Wednesdays.
Buying a gift
There’s no point in buying someone a contract phone to put under the tree. Not only are you going to have to take out the agreement in your own name, but you’ve got no idea what kind of package they’re going to want. The next option is to buy a SIM free phone, but unlocked handsets are more expensive. So, perhaps, once again, it’s time to think PAYG which will offer you some kind of introductory deal as well as subsidised, cheaper mobile phones to choose from. Should your giftee wish to get their phone unlocked afterwards, well, that’s entirely up to them.
Can’t get a contract
Of course, one major reason to go PAYG is because the mobile companies simply won’t offer you a contract. That might be because you have a bad credit history, because you’re new to the country or because you’re not old enough to take one out. Either way, PAYG is always there and it’s not such a bad place to be.
Either your work pays for your mobile or, for whatever reason, you use a handset that doesn’t include turn by turn navigation software. Rather than shell out on an expensive dedicated PND, you can pick up almost any mobile phone and use one of the better nav apps - CoPilot, Ovi Maps etc. It’s not going to work out well if you use it all the time because you’ll need to top up a little for the data use. However, if it’s just for unusual or long journeys, it might be just the ticket.
So, have we changed your mind or are there any other reasons you can think of why PAYG is where you should be at? Let us know in the comments.
Vodafone has introduced Vodafone Freebees on Pay as you go - where customers get great value pay as you go price plans with free texts and web access, or international calls when they top up. Go to www.vodafone.co.uk/freebees for more information