How to Find the Best Prepaid or Postpaid Plan for Your Smartphone
Published: February 7, 2018 | Updated: June 8, 2020 | Posted by: Ryan Kraft | Lifestyle
A smartphone has come to be a part of our lives. They offer us the possibility to stay connected to each other via text, call and most importantly through the internet. Looking through and comparing all the different prepaid and postpaid plans the different telco providers like Globe, Smart and Sun have to offer can be confusing. This three-step guide will help you stay on track so you can find the best smartphone plan for your needs and at the right price.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Understand What You Need
You might think that the first choice would be whether to pick a prepaid or postpaid plan. But choosing between those two options is not where you should start your search. If you pick one or the other first, you will limit your options. Instead you must first understand what you need and what your plan should give you. This is the most important but also a very tricky step. Once you crack this code it will be easy for you to focus on selecting the best phone plan in the Philippines that is best for you.
Your smartphone needs can be broken into two segments: texts & calls and mobile data.
Texts and Calls
Most postpaid plans offer unlimited texts (all net) and unlimited calls (mostly to your provider). Similar offers can be found included in prepaid promos. So, this is something you should not think about too much as it most likely will meet your needs. However, if you are a vibrant caller, you should know the providers of the people you speak to. This will help you pick a plan that meets these needs. Look for a plan with unlimited calls if you call others more than 5 times per week for more than 10 minutes.
If you have been in the smartphone game for some time, you might know how much mobile data you need. For a smartphone novice, however, this can be difficult to predict. But don’t worry this step will help you figure that out.
There are two basic components to your mobile data consumption, which are equally important:
The total time and your activities when you are online using mobile data.
Ask yourself: How much time are you outside of a WiFi network? The time you are online is every hour which you are not in a WiFi network. Even when you are not actively using your smartphone many applications still use mobile data to send and receive information. Snapchat, for example, may pre-load stories even though you are not using the app. These background transfers will not make up the majority of your data usage but you should be conscious of them.
How much you need then comes down to what you do online. It is important to understand that different activities require different amounts of data. Watching a 5-minute video on Youtube can use up to 62 MB, the same amount of mobile data you might use, scrolling through your Facebook timeline for 30 minutes.
Here is an example of what 1 GB of mobile data gets you in different apps:
So, how much mobile data do you need?
As a rule of thumb: Text heavy activities (emails, WhatsApp/Vibr, websites) require little data, photo and video heavy activities (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) require lots of mobile data.
If you are already using a smartphone and are eyeing to make change of plans in the near future, you should use your past usage as an estimate. Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy series offer an overview of the amount of mobile data that your different apps have been using. Alternatively, apps like My Data Manager (iTunes App Store, Google Play Store) can help you track your usage.
If you do not have any information on your mobile data habits or are unsure, you can calculate your likely monthly usage with an online data calculator. Smart offers such a calculator on its website. If you rather have a neutral perspective, you can find alternatives.
Here are some tips on what to keep in mind when you try to make an estimate:
- Only focus on the times you are not in a WiFi network.
- Focus on your high usage activities like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify. These will make up the majority of your data usage.
- For all your other activities you can use 400 MB/month as a baseline assumption, though chances are that you will need less.
You can use the following table as a reference to estimate your monthly mobile data usage:
Step 2: Setting Your Priorities
Now that you know what you want to get out of your plan on a monthly basis, you need to determine your personal preferences. Both prepaid and postpaid plans offer different advantages and disadvantages on how you handle them. Further, they both host different dangers that may affect your monthly spending.
The Pros and Cons
With these (dis)advantages in mind, it is all about picking your poison. Use these three questions to help you decide what to go with:
- Do I want things to be as simple as possible?
- Do I have to keep a very tight budget?
- How well can I keep track of my consumption and spending?
Especially the last question can be tricky. While postpaid plans do have the possibility of overspending, the providers have reacted to customer’s fears and equip their plans with overspending limitations, like Smart’s ABS (Anti-Bill Shocker) or Globe’s Spending Limit. These give you a spending cap so that if you end up losing track of your usage.
Furthermore, while prepaid promos may seem like great offers, they are often limited to single uses (only data/ only texts and calls.) However, if you need all three of them, you may end up with a higher price than for a postpaid plan. For example:
The prepaid offer does give you more for its higher price, but you can always get more if you pay more. That is not what you want. You are looking for the best value offer that suits your needs the best and at the best price. That is why Step 1, is so important – if you know what you want and need, you do not have to worry about what you are missing out on. Don’t need texts? Then don’t worry about not having any! Don’t watch YouTube or iflix? Then you don’t need that as an extra!
Step 3: Picking Your Plan
Once you know what you should get out of your plan (Step 1) and how you feel you can take control of your habits and payments the best (Step 2) it comes down to picking a plan.
If you have decided on a prepaid plan you can decide between Globe, Smart, Sun, TNT (owned by Smart) and TM (owned by Globe). Each of the providers offers a wide range of different promos which are quite similar. Deciding between these providers may simply come down to your personal preference and which provider most of your family, friends, and colleagues are with. That way you can make sure that you can take advantage of cheaper call and text offers to the same provider.
If you have decided that a postpaid plan is the way for you to go, the search for the best deal for you will be a bit more comprehensive. However, after following Steps 1 and 2 it should be easy!
The main competitors for postpaid plans are Globe, Smart, and Sun. Here is an overview of the main information you need to know and our take on which needs the plans fit the best:
Most plans have a lock-in time of 6 months if you only purchase a SIM card. If you wish to add a new smartphone to your plan you will have to pay an initial cash-out and the lock-in time will be extended to 24 months and in some cases 30 months.
- Globe plans offer the greatest amount of extras – great if you are a vivid YouTube/Netflix consumer
- Smart plans offer the largest amount of general usable data and all net texting, calling – great if you want to stay flexible with what you do online and who you call/text
- Sun offers a variety of affordable plans with a strong focus on texting and calls – great if you text/call a lot and your contacts use Sun
At MoneyMax.ph we do our best to help you find the offer that fits you the most and at the best price. Following the 3 steps, we propose will ensure that you can focus on what you need. That way you can focus on the best price and you do not get drawn into paying more for things you do not need or want.