Mobile phones hit the market in South Africa in the mid-90’s and completely changed how we communicate. Recently with the introduction of smartphones, the way we communicate is evolving again. It used to be that people would say: gimme a call. Nowadays you are more likely to hear “text me” or “send me a WhatsApp”.

What this means is that we are using more data and possibly less airtime. The change from calling, to texting may have been fairly subtle and consequently, you’ve never actually considered whether your cell phone contract is actually accommodating the shift.

Alternatively, it could just be that over time your needs have changed. Either way, it’s worth doing some homework on which is cheaper, a contract or pre-paid.

Comparing Contract to Pre-paid

Calculating your call time on Contract
Contact your Service Provider, or look at your monthly invoices, and determine what you spent on call time for at least a three-month period. Do this by adding up the minutes and also adding up your monthly fee times by three. This will give you the total you spent on your calls

Calculating call time on Pre-paid
Now, find the rate per minute for call time on the Pre-paid package you are interested in. Take that amount and multiply it by the minutes you used (above) to determine what you would’ve paid for the same amount of talk-time over three months. You might be shocked.

What about Data?
You can do a similar exercise to determine what you are paying for your data on your contract compared to what you’d pay on pre-paid. The main difference between a data bundle that you have loaded on your contract compared to pre-paid is that when the data runs out you are charged excessive out of bundle rates for any additional data used. By comparison, if you have exactly the same data bundle on your pre-paid package, and it runs out, you just don’t have any more data until you top it up.

When looking at package options for your mobile calls and data there is more to consider than just what you’re paying. You also need to think about how it will affect dependents’ contracts that are linked to yours, whether your environment allows you to quickly and easily top up should you decide to migrate from a contract to a pre-paid package and finally, whether you have a handset that is in good enough condition to last you for a while or else if you have the cash to buy a new one out of pocket.

A hugely competitive market and many options between highly sophisticated and personalised packages mean that there is no reason to pay anything more for mobile communications than what you ought to.

So take a break, do the math and see how you can Decellerate.