What do I get in a tariff?
Mobile phone tariffs will vary according to which network operator you’re with, but as a general rule, they’ll include an element of inclusive minutes, texts and data access. Whether you’re on a PAYG, SIM only or monthly contract, you’ll be paying towards the cost of these services – how much you get will depend on how much you pay.
• Inclusive minutes – If you’re a business user and you’ve got colleagues on the same network, you can usually negotiate with your provider to give you free calls between you all. Regular folk using their phones for personal use will get to choose from a set number of inclusive minutes. This is where finding the right deal is really important – if you exceed your ‘free’ minutes then you might get a nasty surprise when your bill comes. Also note that not all calls will be inclusive.
• Inclusive texts – most packages will also come with a certain amount of inclusive texts so you can type away to your heart’s content, but again, like with the free minutes if you go overboard you could be charged more for the privilege.
• Data – this is the tricky one, most deals will come with a data allowance but knowing how much data access you’ll need can be confusing. Data allowances (or access to the internet) is measured in ‘MB’ (megabytes) and ‘GB’ (gigabytes) a GB is bigger than a MB.
To put it into context, 1 GB is about a million emails (without attachments) or around 2,000 emails with attachments. You could download around 200 songs or watch two hours’ worth of standard definition video. If you had 500 MB of data, then you’re looking at around half of those values.
If you’re unsure how much data you need, you can request your average monthly usage from your current provider as a benchmark.
• International calls – not necessarily all tariffs will offer this but if you like to do your own international roaming see if you can get a deal that gives you a decent call rate when you’re abroad. It’s also worth keeping an eye on changes to caps around the charges as some companies are free roaming.