Phone Upgrade Time (Not)

Well, it’s almost that time of the odd-numbered year when a sequence of events occurs:

  1. Apple announce shiny new iPhone models
  2. Les gets a new phone the day they’re released

Well, half of that is happening. Apple will indeed be announcing new iPhones next Tuesday (details the subject of the usual rumours, speculation and silliness), but I won’t be buying one.

It’s not that I’ve gone off the idea of having new toys so much as looking at ways of saving some money. The way mobile phones are generally sold in the UK is on a two year contract. You pay a small part of the hardware cost up front (ranging from nothing at all to £100 or more), then pay a monthly fee which covers the tariff you’ve chosen and another part of the cost of the phone. Now this is quite convenient, as you avoid paying loads of money in one go, but over the term of the contract, it can end up being very expensive indeed.

A couple of years ago, I got my latest upgrade from Three – iPhone 6S on an “all you can eat” data, minutes and texts plan, which included a 12GB tethering allowance. This had changed a few times since my previous contract, where there had been no limit on tethering, then went to a deal-breaking 2GB limit, being increased a few times to something more useful. All very nice, but the monthly cost was a little over £62, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but less so now.

So when I got the notification that I was due for an upgrade, and at the end of the minimum term of the contract, I had a bit of a think. And decided to switch to a SIM-only contract. Looking at the current deals, I found that Three had a 30GB package which allows the whole amount to be used as a hotspot should I be so inclined (I’ve never used that much in a month, so the “all you can eat”, or even the 100GB level seemed quite unnecessary). And all of this for £18 a month on a one-year contract – you can also get it on a monthly contract, but that costs more.

I decided to pop into the Three shop in Eldon Square rather than calling customer services, which turned out to be a good plan. I had to wait a few minutes for someone to be available, but then it was all no trouble at all. There was absolutely no attempt to sell me anything I didn’t want, whether a handset or a bigger package, and it was all sorted out quickly and easily.

So, the £44 I’m no longer spending would come to £1,056 over the two years I’d normally expect to keep a phone, which is quite a lot, really.

My cunning plan is to buy a suitable handset when I’ve done some financial rearrangements. No rush, though – I’m still happy with the 6S….

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