With the contract tariff, one major disadvantage is being stuck with one phone for 24 months. The good news is that you can get an early upgrade before this period ends or if you are dissatisfied with the service being offered by your current carrier.
Now this does not come without a cost. If you are switching from one carrier to another, you will have to pay off your current phone's price first. That will be in the form of a monthly fee that is based on the current cost of your handset. If you want to stick to your current carrier, you should be able to exchange the handset every six months. That said, you will have to pay a premium in any case to get an early upgrade.
An early upgrade could work to your advantage if you are someone who is sure to stick to a single carrier for at least two years. Of course, most major carriers will offer a mid-term renewal, binding their customers for a longer period of time. In addition to that, if you are not really interested in selling your old phone, this is a good deal for you.
Here are some early upgrades offered by the major carriers:
- EE (Orange and T-Mobile)-You can avail a new plan 45 days before your current contract comes to an end.
- O2- With O2 refresh, the cost of the handset and the allowance is split on a monthly basis. Then, you can pay off the handset cost whenever you are looking for an upgrade. The allowance part will continue as normal with the new device.
- Vodafone- You can upgrade about 30 days before your current contract comes to an end.
- Three- Same as Vodafone
- Tesco Mobile- Same as O2 Refresh
- Virgin Mobile- There are no early upgrades officially. However, you can pay off the cost of your handset and get yourself a new one while you continue to use the current airtime.
When you are planning to opt for an upgrade, make sure you check for the monthly costs that you will incur when the cost is split across months. Some carriers also charge you extra for the upgrade services. For instance, T-mobile will charge you $8 per month in the form of insurance. In addition to that, you have to pay off your phone's full cost too.
Unless you are going to remain loyal to one carrier for a long time or you really must have the latest smartphones, it is wiser to finish your contract and then go for an upgrade. In fact, selling your old phone and then buying one upfront is the best option available to you. It is cheaper and has no hidden costs involved. In fact, if you look at the bigger picture, you will be paying the same for a 24 month contract and an annual upgrade. If you are looking at a biannual upgrade, you will end up paying almost double the cost of the 24 month contract.
Just be wary of the monthly expenses when you decide to upgrade your phone. If you think that it is worth the new handset, go for it.