The Mobile Phone Contract Checklist

Nobody likes poring over boring terms and conditions when they’re applying for a mobile phone contract. Sadly, most people simply skip the mumbo jumbo and sign on the dotted line, excited to have their most awaited handset. While terms and conditions may be boring, they’re extremely important. Unfortunately, most people only find out the importance of their contract terms when they unknowingly break them and get penalized.

If you really don’t want to spend an hour understanding the terms and conditions of your contract, we’ve gathered a simple checklist of things you need to look out for. Understandably, some providers make term agreements boring and complicated so people won’t take the time to read them, but as long as you know where you stand with the items listed below, you’re golden.

Network Coverage

One of the biggest problems people get with mobile phone service operators is network coverage. Once under contract, you can’t really get out of it, even if network coverage is pretty poor. It’s a bad place to be – you can’t cancel, and you can’t even enjoy your monthly allowance of calls and text because of bad service. The only way to ensure you don’t fall into this trap is to scrutinize the reputation of your provider. You don’t have to look far – just go to their social media sites and look for comments. People will always be vocal about bad service.

Contract Length

If you can, look for a mobile phone contract with a short duration. Once you’re free from a service provider, you can do whatever you wish with your phone and not have to worry about termination fines. The only problem with a short contract length is that the monthly payments are higher. Remember that the total cost of the handset you’re getting is divided by your contract length. However, if you can handle the extra cost, a short contract length is always a good thing.

Monthly Allowances

This part is purely subjective. Every person has different preferences and your monthly plan should complement your lifestyle. Think about your usage patterns – do you tend to text more, or do you prefer to call people? Do you use mobile Internet a lot? Be picky with monthly plans. It’s okay to negotiate and try to get the plan that you know you’ll use to the fullest.

Fines and Penalties

After knowing your monthly limits, the next step is to find out what happens when you go past your limits. Not everyone can stay on top of their mobile phone bills. Not everyone can meticulously budget their calls and texts for the month. There will be times when you go past your limit or forget to pay your bills on time. You need to find out what the consequences are in case of late payments, excess usage, as well as early cancellation.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Phone Contracts

There are several mobile phone network providers in the UK, and each one has a plethora of deals and offers for consumers of all demographics. However, most mobile phone services can be cut down into two major types: prepaid or contract. While prepaid or pay-as-you-go services are popular with the younger crowd, the allure of mobile phone contracts hasn’t wavered.

Mobile phone contracts are definitely controversial, with both devout advocates and naysayers. If you are currently using a pay-as-you-go plan or are planning to buy a phone for the first time, you might wonder whether mobile phone contracts are right for you. To help you with this decision, we’ve compiled a short list of pros and cons for both sides of the argument.


A set bill per month. This is great for people who want to budget their mobile phone spending.
Great for emergencies. If you run out of prepaid credits in PAYG plans, you won’t be able to use your mobile phone until you top-up more credits. With mobile phone contracts, even if you reach your monthly limit, you can make emergency calls and text for a price.
Cheaper purchase price of any handset you wish. Since mobile phone contracts will divide the total cost of the handset into your monthly payments, you can gradually pay off the handset instead of buying it outright. This is a good option if you don’t have enough money to buy the phone you want.
Additional benefits. There are certain benefits that only contract clients enjoy. Mobile providers often give discounts and freebies for third-party partner establishments like fast food, clothes, accessories and others.
Easy upgrade options. Once you are in a contract with a certain mobile phone provider, there will be opportunities for trade-ins or upgrades. You can increase the limit of your monthly calls and texts, or even trade-in your old handset for a new one.


Higher total purchase price. Although you can get that handset you’ve always wanted without buying it outright, the total cost that you would have to pay for the handset while under contract will always be higher than if you bought the handset outright.
Lock-in periods. You cannot cancel your plan while under contract. If you choose to do so, you’ll have to pay penalties and fees. Even if you find yourself disappointed with your plan, there’s no way to get out of it completely. While you may negotiate terms with your provider, an outright cancellation without any consequences is impossible.
Penalties and Fines. Yes, you’ll never run out of call minutes and texts even if you’ve already exhausted your limit. However, most providers don’t automatically shut off your usage capacity even after reaching the monthly limit. Any excess calls, texts and data minutes will be charged accordingly. Late payments will incur a penalty as well.


To be honest, there’s no perfect option as both PAYG and mobile phone contracts have both good and bad sides. However, if you would like to control your spending and can’t afford to buy a phone outright, mobile phone contracts are your best bet.