How to Choose Between a Postpaid and Prepaid Mobile Plan

A prepaid mobile plan is already flexible and can even save you tons of money. But why do some people still choose to sign a contract for a postpaid plan? To find out, take a look at the pros and cons of the two before choosing which mobile plan best suits you.

Prepaid Phone Plan

When you get a prepaid no-contract mobile phone, you’ll pay the provider a specific amount of money outright. It will then become a mobile credit that you can use on either texts, calls or mobile data.

This type of mobile plan works best for people who want to enjoy the following:

  • Pay service upfront while avoiding extra charges
  • Ultimate flexibility
  • No lengthy lock-in contracts
  • Pay only for what you use

What’s the downside?

The challenge with a prepaid plan is that there’s a limit to your amount of credit. So if you run out of mobile credit, you will have to recharge again, which may become quite costly on your part. Chances are, you may be inconvenienced for a while because you won’t be able to send messages, make calls or even go online.

This is not a good deal for mobile users or young children who need to call their parents frequently. It’s not a good idea to take the risk of the possibility of having an expired credit when you’re about to make an emergency call as well.

Another drawback is that you may miss out on bonus features given by providers since they often reserve their best deals for postpaid customers.

Postpaid Phone Plan

Getting a postpaid mobile plan means you agree to pay a fixed amount every month in exchange for a set of tests, calls and data. The purpose of this type of plan is that it allows subscribers to exceed their plan limitations whenever they need to then pay it later. Postpaid plans are usually available on a month-to-month basis, a year, and even more than two years.

The best thing about a postpaid plan is that you have a safety net to text, call or go online whenever you want. You won’t have to worry about getting on the road just because you have no prepaid credit to make a call.

Most postpaid plans offer the following benefits to their subscribers:

  • The convenience of auto-renewing (no need for manual reloading of credits)
  • Better value and deals as a reward for being a loyal subscriber
  • Bundle a new mobile phone into the deal

What’s the downside?

The major risk of having a postpaid plan is that you may incur extra charges every time you go over your plan’s limitations. Depending on who your provider is, excess charges can amount to $10 for every GB. A postpaid plan also requires more effort to terminate as you need to do it through your provider, or else, they’ll keep billing you.

Furthermore, having a postpaid plan of over one to two years also means that you lose your flexibility. You won’t be able to switch your provider at a moment’s notice to get a better deal somewhere.

Choose the Best

Now that you know the difference between a postpaid and prepaid plan, select one that suits your requirements. Don’t easily fall for great deals and sparkly new phones. It is best to focus on the plan’s value that has everything you need.

Do you want to pay for your plan upfront and suffer the risk of having no credit during emergencies? Or would you rather have an unlimited supply of messages, calls and data and face the possibility of incurring extra charges?

Before you make a costly decision, consider these things first.

  • Examine your mobile habits

How many calls do you make in a month? How much data do you need? Take a look at your previous statements to identify if you really need to spend much.

  • Determine your budget

Can you afford to pay for any excess charges every month? If you’re on a strict budget, you may be better off with a prepaid plan to save yourself from costs.

Whichever plan you choose, choose the best one that matches your habits and the money you have in your pockets.


Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.

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