How do I choose the best mobile plans and packages?

There are so many options to choose from when buying a mobile phone. From the latest technologies in smart phones to the best mobile data and social media packages and plans, how do you choose the right combination? Some of the things you need to think about are what you use your phone for, how much you plan to spend and which data plans and packages work best for you.

I don’t have a phone. Which one should I buy?

To narrow your mobile phone options, you have to first decide what features are most important to you. For users who require immediate access to their emails, internet browsing and article reading, some of the features that you should probably consider are screen size, keypad user-friendliness and ease of navigation. According to Business Insider magazine, the top rated devices for business users globally include the Blackberry Q10, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the HTC One M8. All of these devices offer large screens which make them particularly useful for taking notes and writing emails. If you are more interested in social media and gaming-friendly devices, consider the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G3 and the Sony Xperia Z3. These devices offer large screens, sharp display and good quality cameras. Additionally, with the iPhone for example, you can download from a vast selection of gaming, social media and multimedia applications.

[Compare smart phones in Saudi Arabia]

What if I already have a phone?

Even if you already have a phone but are looking to optimise your data service, there are several packages that you can choose from. Just bear in mind that if you purchased your current phone with a data plan, you may be locked-in by your data service provider until your plan expires. You may end up paying an early cancellation fee depending on your data plan contract.

What data plans and packages can I choose from?

After you’ve determined what you need the most out of your mobile phone and narrowed it down to a handful of devices, you will need to pick a mobile data service to go with your phone.

Pre-paid versus post-paid

When picking the right plan, decide what your budget is and whether or not you would like a post-paid or pre-paid plan. A pre-paid plan will help you control your bills since you choose how much money to put on your plan and how often, whether through scratch cards or online. Post-paid plans, on the other hand, will mean that you will have to pay a monthly fee based on your plan or usage but can work out better value for calls and data, particularly with free minutes or data thrown in.

[Compare mobile phone plans in Saudi Arabia]

Plans by data size

Another important factor to consider is the amount of data you would need. If you use your phone primarily for social media applications including facebook, twitter, Instagram and what’s app, you will probably not require a significant amount of data because these applications do not typically consume a great deal of it. You may want to consider a package as low as 100MB monthly at a subscription rate starting from 49 riyals a month. If your main requirement for a smart phone is for email, internet browsing and basic business solutions, you should probably target a mid-range data package between 1 GB and 5 GB depending on your data usage. These cost between 69 riyals and 200 riyals per month.  For users who watch and share a lot of videos, listen to music including online radio channels and live streaming, you will probably need to choose the higher data package allowance since your activity on your smart phone is data intensive. You can choose from packages of 200 riyals to 500 riyals per month for between 5 GB and unlimited data allowances monthly.

[Compare mobile data plans in Saudi Arabia]

Editor’s tip:

Remember that when you sign up for a mobile data package plan, your data allowance per month will usually be limited as per your plan and you may end up being charged for usage outside of your allowance. A good way to reduce unnecessary data consumption is to disable automatic application updates on your smart phone for example. Some data providers also allow you to automatically disable further data consumption once you have reached your limit for the month. So make sure that you know all this information when signing up for the plan. Additionally, remember that the cost of using data while roaming can really add up! So ask your service provider about costs as well as the availability of roaming data packages.