Does the 12 month contract exist?
With nearly all phone contracts lasting 24 months, it means that whatever smartphone you pick now will be an antique by the time your contract is up. With a new smartphone coming out on an almost weekly basis, it can be frustrating knowing that you will have to wait two years before you can get a new gadget to play with. We investigate whether it really is possible to still get a 12 month mobile phone contract and what you can expect to pay for the privilege.
Does the 12 month contract exist?
To our relief, the 12 month contract does exist, but you will be hard pushed to find it with most of the major network providers. If you are looking to stay on O2, Orange, 3 or Virgin you can forget about a 12 month contract. The shortest they provide is an 18 month contract and if you are looking for the newest smartphone, you will have to commit to a 24 month contract.
Out of the more well known providers Vodaphone and T-mobile are the only two that will offer you a 12 month contract. There are also many smaller providers that are offering a yearly contract including Tesco and Talk Mobile.
Can I get the latest phone?
The answer is yes, however you may have to pay an amount upfront to get the latest phone with some tariffs. This is because with a 12 month contract the phone companies have realised that they are not going to be able to exploit your monthly overspends and they have to recoup that money from somewhere. The most expensive phone by miles is the iPhone, with most companies charging in the region of £300 up front for a 12 month contract.
Are the tariffs more expensive?
The big providers do seem to load their 12 month tariffs and you can expect to pay more per month for the same amount of minutes as someone on a longer contract. If you are prepared to go with one of the smaller mobile providers, you can pick up some really good deals. Talk Mobile offer some really cheap deals and seem to specialise in the 12 month mobile market.
What if I talk a lot?
Unfortunately I have found that if you need a lot of minutes each month, you will be hard pushed to find a 12 month contract that gives you the allowance you need. This means you could end up spending a fortune going over your allowance each month. The most minutes I could find on a 12 month contract was 500 and it was very pricey as I had to pay a huge amount for the phone up front. So unfortunately if you are a big talker or you use your phone for business this probably means you will have to opt for a longer contract.
If you already have a contract with a provider who doesn't currently offer 12 month contracts, don't despair when your contract comes up for renewal. We managed to get two companies that do not offer new customers 12 month contracts to give us a renewal contract on a 12 month only basis. Most companies will be willing to offer you a shorter term if it means you will stay with them, especially in the current economic climate. So don't be afraid to ask, after all if you don't ask, you don't get!
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