How To Choose the Right Mobile Network Provider

It is fun choosing a new handset because you get to research different features and check out the latest models online. Unfortunately, figuring out which network provider is the right one for you is not half as interesting, and if you have to speak to numerous different sales people, it can be positively tedious. So if you are thinking of switching to a different provider, here are a few tips to help make life a bit easier.

Network Coverage

Network providers have all kinds of special offers available at any given time, but it doesn’t matter how amazing an offer is if you can’t get a signal at home or at work. Network coverage tends to be very good in cities and built up areas, but as soon as you venture out into rural areas, you may struggle to send and receive text messages or make calls. Data quality will also be affected, although this is less of a problem if you have access to a good Wi-Fi network. So before you do anything, check what the signal is like in key areas for each of the main network providers. Don’t rely on coverage charts on the network providers’ websites because these are likely to be erring on the side of fiction. Instead talk to friends to see what their network signals are like.

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3G or 4G

One of the main reasons why people invest in a smartphone is that they want internet access on the go. Free Wi-Fi networks are becoming increasingly common, but if you are the type of person who needs to download email while you are out and about, or you can’t bear to be without Facebook for five minutes, a 3G or 4G connection is vital. 4G is the newer network and is much faster, but it is less prevalent in rural areas. 3G is more widespread, but again, it can be patchy in some rural areas. 4G is only really worth the extra money if you want to stream content, for example videos and on-demand TV; for everyone else, 3G should be just fine. However, if you do want 4G, check which network provider offers 4G in your area and what it costs for the privilege.

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Mobile Phone Usage

What do you use your phone for? How you use your mobile phone will have a bearing on which network provider you choose. As we have already mentioned, data coverage is important if you spend a lot of time online, but if you only want a mobile phone for occasional use, it won’t matter as much.

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A Choice of Handsets

If you have your heart set on a particular handset, check out which network providers have it in stock. It should be easy to find the latest mobile handset from Apple, Samsung or similar, but if you are desperate to have a particular model that has only just come out – and is very popular – you definitely need to find out whether it’s in stock before you order. Different network providers also have different deals for different handsets; so again, check what’s on offer before you buy. Some networks have exclusive rights on particular handsets in the early weeks of a new release, so the best deals don’t last for long.

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Different Mobile Phone Contracts

Mobile phone contracts typically last between 18 and 24 months. Contract terms vary between the different network providers and it is a good idea to read the small print before you sign up for a contract mobile. Alternatively, a PAYG or SIM only contract deal might be better if you already have a handset you are happy with.

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The Right Price Plan

Look at your previous usage and think about what you need a mobile phone for. Most networks providers offer unlimited text messages these days, so that won’t be an issue. Data and call allowances vary a lot however. Do you spend a lot of time online? If so you will need a decent amount of data to ensure you don’t pay over the odds. Make sure you sign up for a contract with enough free minutes, as exceeding the call allowance can also be expensive.

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Bad Credit Options

Anyone with bad credit will need to find a network provider that offers SIM only deals. This type of mobile contract is perfect for people with poor credit histories. And if you are able to make the repayments successfully over a few months, the network provider might switch you on to a normal contract, which comes with a handset included.

With so many price tariffs and deals to choose from, it isn’t easy finding the right one. Price comparison websites can make it easier, but do make sure you read the small print and are clear about what you are signing up for before you make a final decision.

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