After more than 10 years of being a die-hard prepaid advocate, I finally switched from prepaid to postpaid.
Here’s why (Hint: cheaper for me; proof provided)
They always say: pick a mobile plan that works for you. But they never really explain how to find out which plan actually work for you, no?
This is how I find out which plan works for me. This is factoring (1) how much data/calls/text I use per month and (2) cost per month.
Tracking mobile usage
According to my phone, I use between 10GB to 13GB per month. Calls and text usage are almost negligible.
To check your data usage, go to your phone setting and find out.
Tracking cost per month
If you’re a regular here at RoR, you know I like to track my spending. I use an expense-tracking app called Money Lover (my review) and track multiple categories, including mobile.
For the purpose of this article, let me show you how much I paid for mobile services, for the past one-year period (23 October 2015- 23 October 2016).
RM1039.60 divided by 12 months is roughly RM87 per month. Expensive!
I usually get cashback via Shopback and my credit card (Related: my cheaper prepaid hack post). So let’s say RM80 per month, in total.
I use my mobile data and tethering for almost 100% of my work. It’s not by choice – I wanted Unifi in Ipoh, but they don’t offer coverage in my area.
Back when I was in KL, I had Unifi. My prepaid cost then was waaaay cheaper. This was how much I paid for prepaid between 23 October 2014 – 23 October 2015)
RM306.70 divided by 12 months was just RM25.56 per month.
At this time I used mainly credit card cashback, so roughly my mobile cost was RM24 per month, but not including Unifi cost (RM150 per month).
Why switch from prepaid to postpaid?
(1) Prepaid plans are now crap – deactivates monthly
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise this, but prepaid plans nowadays are charged monthly. If you don’t re-subscribe to the monthly plan, you can’t use data/make calls/send text anymore, despite having positive balance in your prepaid account.
So previously, if I wanted to save money on prepaid, I can simply reduce my mobile usage and make my balance stretch longer. I can have just RM10 balance left but still have 6 months-1 year ‘active’ account where I can still use mobile services, albeit sparingly.
Now, you can’t do this anymore. If I have RM10 balance but did not renew for the monthly prepaid plan, I can’t use it for anything, not even calls. The account deactivates by itself!
(Please let me know if your prepaid plan is different)
(Did you also notice this, or is it just me who’s slow?)
(2) Many postpaid plans now are non-contract
I like the flexibility of non-contract. I believe that you should continually check new mobile plans that come out, because telco wars will (almost always) end up with better value-for-money plans for customers.
Case in point – I was surprised that my parents – who seldom check for new mobile plans – were paying RM100+ for minimal data. They were on really old plans, and I guess telcos don’t reach out to people like them and suggest better rates, do they? And my parents are the type to sign up and forget about it – I understand this, life is busy and full of responsibilities and everything. So do me a favour and check your parents’ mobile plans now for them, ok? They might be overpaying – if they are, help them switch to cheaper plan.
So now that non-contract postpaid plans are available and I’m not locked in, I’m free to switch providers if I want to, in the future. I can also downgrade/upgrade to other plans from the same provider without much hassle.
(3) I use a high amount of data
If I use a small amount of data, like 1-2GB a month or so, I can justify prepaid still. There are plenty of providers that provide 1 or more free GB a month.
But I use a lot of data, and it’s emotionally painful to always buy extra data (my provider sells 1GB for RM10, valid for 3 days). I top up data like 5 or more times a month. Plus I’m always so kedekut and save data to the point of avoiding certain websites. I don’t want to not be able to access websites I enjoy 🙁
I don’t like admitting it, but postpaid plans tend to offer the most value for money for higher bundles of data.
How do you keep your mobile spending low?
My way is (1) Find out how much data I need then (2) find plans that offer that data plan for cheapest price. Plus cashback whenever possible.
According to my calculations, after switching from prepaid to postpaid, I should enjoy about RM10 savings per month, or RM120 a year. If I take Unifi in the future, I’ll need less data so I’ll probably downgrade this back to under-RM30 plans.
I’m also toying with the idea of sharing a plan with someone, so we both get to enjoy lots of data for cheaper price. This one plan I’m eyeing allows you to share 30GB between 2 people for ~RM120, so about RM60 each. 15GB each for RM60 a month is not bad wei.
How much do you pay for your mobile plans, and are they worth it? Comment below and let me know 🙂