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  • Writer's pictureAkash Devasar & Co.

Incoming Call: Rip-off Network

What would we do without our phones? Back in the day our phones were used for 3 things only, calls, texts and playing Snake of course. Fast forward only just 10 years and we use our phones as a camera, music player, calculator, notepad, bank, web browser, compass, map, ruler, GPS tracker, medium for news, stalking friends (I don’t do that, you do that 🤨) and many more reasons. Now more than ever, our phones play a very important role in our lives. 

With that, everybody has a phone bill. It’s one of those essential bills that every adult has after insurance. Sometimes a phone bill is your very first bill (I know it was mine) in life that you maintain. And just like these things that have been part of your life for what seems like forever, we don’t think much about their costs and just pay it. What if I told you you’re paying too much, likely wasting hundred if not thousands?

About 2 years ago my girlfriend (now wife) travelled to visit me where I live and was staying for about 3 weeks. She decided then that she would get a local SIM card so that she was contactable and paid local data charges for when she needed to use data outside of my apartment. She bought a simple $2 SIM card and charged it with about $10. Fast-forward 2 years on and she’s still on a prepaid plan even though she lives here now. “What? Why not a post-paid plan”?

A year ago we were in the midst of planning our wedding and I was looking at avenues of tightening my belt. So I listed down my expenses and my wife (fiancé then) almost fell off her chair when she saw that I was paying $115 a month for my phone bill. “Please tell me you can fly a spaceship with that”. I told her that I was contracted for 24 months when I got the iPhone X on this amazing 100GB plan. I thought I was getting a great deal but it actually wasn’t. Immediately she asked me to look at what cancelling the contract would cost (I had about 5 months to go). It was about $300 to cancel so I told her I’ll switch to a cheaper plan after these 5 months. She did the math and realised paying the $300 was a better move.

I am currently on a $150, 18 month, prepaid plan with 120GB of data for that whole time. $150 plus the $300 is lower than the amount I would have paid for 5 months at $115. Had I continued on that plan, I would’ve paid $1,940 over a period of 18 months whereas now I’ve only paid $450, and $300 was an exit fee. Moral of this part of the story, don’t be afraid of paying for exit fees, they might actually work out better. My wife is and has been on prepaid plans and she’s even signed-up during some promotional period where she’s paid $80 for 12 months with bonus data. With the ability to port your number from one service provider to another, there’s no reason to be loyal to your disgustingly expensive telco. I’ve looked around at various prepaid plans and I can safely say that for majority of us, a $30 plan should be all you need really. Don’t fall for big telco’s “widest network” nonsense. Most of the time these prepaid plans ride off those networks anyway. And if you’re getting a post-paid for the “perks”, make sure you calculate those “perks” and end up on top. More often than not you won’t even use those perks. 

I saved almost $1500 in 18 months. How’s that for a good signal to switch?

Author: Akash Devasar & Co. | We speak numbers |

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