I make no secret about the fact that I love technology. As well as being an adrenaline junkie, I am a self-confessed geek! I work with Technology & have had a strong interest from a very young age. At about 8 years old I used all my persuasion skills to convince my Dad that we needed a home computer. Nights of nagging and pestering him, insisting that we would be left behind if we didn’t buy a PC like all my friends had. Finally I was victorious! A 256MB Carerra PC with Windows 95…. £2500 bought the absolute latest – cutting edge – top of the range machine.
The feeling was tremendous; I still remember coming home from school and taking turns with my sister to play solitaire! Needless to say, my negotiation skills were probably founded on persuading my Dad to upgrade computer after computer over the years, ensuring that we were given the best possible chance in life (oh how dramatic I made it sound) and that we were never left out.
Telling the Story of Life Without Computers
When I think back at these days, I can’t help but smile. We grew up in an era where computing was born and the way in which the world works changed forever. I look forward to the day I get to explain to my kids that I didn’t always have a computer and a mobile phone.. I largely grew up and learned without wikipedia and google and I know how to use the contents and index page of a real book!
By the time I have this conversation with my kids, no doubt computing will have evolved dramatically again… IBM recently predicted that in 5 years computers will see, hear, taste, smell and touch! We are going to experience even crazier times ahead
Power in Your Pocket
As computing advances, the gap between mobile phones / tablets / laptops / PCs closes further; the choice of which platform to choose depends more on what size of screen you want, rather than the processing power or memory requirements. My iPhone 5 has a camera capable of taking better pictures than most digital cameras could a few years ago and a better graphics chip than some recent dedicated handheld games consoles. I can access my emails, video chat via skype and connect to all my social networks in an instant. The paradigm shift is happening!
The point I guess that I am trying to make, is that mobile phones are increasingly becoming an essential companion in our everyday lives. Airlines are issuing tickets through mobile apps, energy companies allow you to take meter readings, road tolls can be paid using NFC technology… the list goes on.
Choosing a Sensible Contract
As mobile phones become more featured-packed, the cost of what’s inside continues to increase. An Apple iPhone will cost you upwards of £500 in the UK to buy outright and mobile phone companies need to recuperate these costs throughout the duration of a contract. As the price of the handset increases, the length of the contract follows suit. Up until recently in the UK, 12 month contracts were the norm; whereas now you will be lucky to find any 12 month deal that includes a phone. 24 and more recently 36 month arrangements are becoming the standard.
I write this post as I am about to come to the end of my 18 month contract. On January 28th, I am no liberated from my contract and am free to change tariff / upgrade my phone. I am currently subscribed to a 18 month tariff which includes 600 minutes, 1750Mb of data and unlimited text messages. I didn’t pay any additional costs for the handset (iPhone 4S) and have a monthly charge of around £50. I am lucky that one of my best friends works for the network and I benefit from family and friends discount – 30% off my total bill. In effect, I have paid £35 a month for 18 months for this phone. This works out at a total cost of £630 over the duration of the contract and when you subtract the £500-odd value of the phone, it is clear that I have a very good deal.
I am now faced with a dilemma –
- Do I upgrade to the iPhone 5 or do I transfer to a sim-only tariff with no fixed contract?
- Will the iPhone 5S / iPhone 6 be worth waiting for?
- Should I look at other handsets other than iPhones? There are plenty of Samsung phone deals about..
- Do I sell my iPhone now or wait?… Will the value drop dramatically when the next iPhone is released?
- If I wait, what happens if my friend changes job and is not there to reapply the discount on my new tariff?
- If I upgrade now will a new iteration get released next month?
Clearly lots of questions to be answered….
A Deal is Only a Deal if You Want the Thing in the First Place!
Perhaps the answer is that I don’t actually need a new phone after all? My current iPhone does everything that I want it to and I am not restricted from any future software upgrades for now. Sure, I could be saving a bigger chunk of money against a new contract… but do I really need a new phone right now? Maybe I am just looking for a deal for the sake of a deal…..
What would you Do? How much do you pay? Is the latest handset important to you?