Look for Unlimited Plans
If there’s one way to get good mileage for your dollar, it’s by signing up to a provider with an unlimited data plan. Unlimited plans are great for those who make extensive use of data services. Those thinking about signing up for such plans should be aware that extensive rarely, in practice, means unlimited. More commonly these “unlimited” plans are limited by a fair use clause in the fine print which sets a limit to what’s considered reasonable use. While it’s worth checking this, it’s nevertheless a good idea to look for providers with unlimited plans if you’re a heavy data user.
Things that can up your data usage:
- Streaming a lot of podcasts
- Watching a lot of multimedia content from your smartphone
Scrutinize Data Limits
If the telecom provider you’re thinking about joining doesn’t have an unlimited deal, you can sign up for one of their capped data plans. Here’s what you need to look out for:
- What’s the monthly data limit in gigabytes?
- How much do add-on fees cost if you exceed this limit?
- Can you pay for more data over this limit without your connection being artificially slowed down (throttled)?
In order to save money and keep your planned subscription within budget:
- Know how much data you use each month on average (approximately)
- Find a plan that will accommodate that usage — and one with add-on fees that you can afford
While it’s true that most telecoms have fixed pricing for their main consumer offerings, this doesn’t necessarily mean that negotiating is always a waste of time. Sometimes those selling cell phone plans have authorization to be a little flexible in terms of what they throw into contracts. For instance they may be able to include:
- Extra minutes for free
- A better handset for the same price
- A bundle that includes several contracts
How can you negotiate? If you’re thinking about renewing your contract but are getting cold feet because of the expense, be up front about that issue. Many telecom companies have customer service functions dedicated to retaining customers.
If you’re truly unhappy with the level of service that you’re receiving from your telecom provider, then threatening to leave could also be a tactic that might work in your favor. While we don’t advocate making empty threats, if you truly feel that strongly, doing so may expedite the retention process and induce the provider to offer you incentives to stay.
Ask Your Provider To Price Match
Another negotiating strategy that should be in your playbook — or at least something you’re willing to try — is asking your telecom provider to match the quote that you’ve received from one of their competitors.
Again this isn’t something you should try frivolously. But if you’ve truly received a better quote from a competitor and are thinking about leaving, then asking your telcom if they’re willing to price match or at least make you a competing offer could be a great way to save money.
Know What Others Are Charging
Want to get even better at the price matching game? Don’t just wait to receive an advertising brochure from a competitor. Proactively research the market to see what other providers are charging for comparable packages. It’s worth doing this at least once a year. That way you will be in a stronger position to negotiate discounts for yourself.
How can you find out what other providers are charging for comparable packages?
- Research their websites
- Check out consumer comparison websites and find out what other providers are out there
Make sure that you’re comparing apples with apples (ie looking for similar plans).If you see a provider offering a significantly better deal for comparable services, consider approaching your company and asking if they could do better.
Avoid Add-on Charges
It’s worth spending a few minutes scrutinizing the fees page of a telecoms provider you’re thinking about signing up with in order to see what extra charges you might incur if you’re not careful.
These may include things like:
- Overage charges if you exceed data caps
- Roaming charges for using the handset while abroad
- Charges for porting in the phone number of requiring help with other administrative actions from customer support
Do They Offer Family Deals?
If you have a lot of family members that all need to sign up for cell phone plans, did you know that you could get more value for your money by “joining forces” (so to speak). Many providers offer family packages in which there are discounts for signing up for a number of lines instead of just one. Check if your family applies. Who needs a phone plan? Who might want to switch? Once you’ve taken a head count you can approach a provider to see whether they offer an applicable bulk discount.
You can check with the provider you’re thinking of joining to see if they have such an incentive program. It can be better — and also possibly cheaper — to stick together!
Don’t Wait To Save Money
There are lots of great ways you can cut down on your monthly cellphone expenditure. Make sure to always keep an eye on the market and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. This way you can make sure that you always get the best deal.