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It is almost impossible to find a Dutchman without a smartphone. But what’s cheaper if you don’t call or surf the web as much with your phone: prepaid calling credit or a mobile subscription? We list the pros and cons of both options. And we give you tips to save on your call costs. Because, have you ever thought about taking out a smaller mobile subscription? The downscaling is worth it!
In the early days of the mobile phone, prepaid was the norm. Before she could call and text, she first had to buy a prepaid card with credit. Now, many years later, most people with a smartphone opt for a SIM-only subscription or another mobile subscription. Is that really the right choice in every situation? We put the question to Els Werkman, a telecommunications expert at comparison site Bellen.com.
The differences: call credit or a contract
With prepaid calls, you buy a calling credit that is finite. You have to recharge when the credit runs out. “You can buy calling credit at the store register, but you can often order it online as well,” explains Werkman. “People who prefer to remain anonymous and who do not want or cannot sign a contract, more often opt for a prepaid card to continue using a mobile phone.”
For a subscription, you conclude a contract with a term of, for example, one or two years, after which you pay monthly. You choose a package for the number of minutes of calls and the number of MB to use the Internet.
Prepaid for those who rarely use the phone
According to telecommunications expert Werkman, prepaid is especially interesting for people who don’t make many phone calls and use the Internet with their smartphone. There are people who only have, as she calls it, “for emergencies and deaths” a phone call. For example in the caravan or in the glove compartment of the car, in case there is something. For such use, a prepaid card is a good option, a subscription is not necessary.
Many users opt for prepaid to better control their expenses, Werkman concludes. A prepaid card represents a maximum amount: it is gone. “You know what you spend. You do not incur costs out of the package.” She sees that families with one or more teenage children find prepayment interesting. “Kids can top up with their own pocket money. That prevents monthly costs from skyrocketing.”
According to Werkman, many people find it worthwhile to subscribe. “In the past, it was true that a subscription was much more expensive than a prepaid one, but that is no longer the case. There are sim-only plans that are close to prepaid in terms of price. In addition, a subscription offers the advantage that you do not have to take prepayment conditions into account.”
Conditions for prepaid calling credit
Because, as Werkman warns, providers impose strict conditions on the lifetime of prepaid calling credit. Aren’t you attached to that? Then you will lose your phone number and calling credit. “A provider requires that you make at least one phone call or send a text message within a certain period (for example, six months). So your credit remains intact,” explains the telecommunications expert.
“Other providers require you to top up every time, even if you still have enough prepaid credit.” The top-up amount differs depending on the provider. It is possible from 5 euros, but most call companies charge 10 euros.
Subscription or prepaid? make the comparison
Do you want to know exactly if prepaid or a mobile subscription like sim only is cheaper? “So it’s important to know what your intended use is,” says Werkman. “In other words: how many minutes do you call per month? And how many MB of internet do you use during that period?
You can then enter the number of minutes and the number of MB on the comparison sites. Then a list is displayed with the results of the costs by provider.
An example: Do you barely call (a maximum of 10 minutes in a month) and do not use the internet on your phone? So prepaid is the cheapest. For less than 1 euro per month you can use a prepaid card. The cheapest SIM-only subscription, with 10 minutes of calls and 0 MB of Internet, costs around 5 euros per month.
Callers with a ‘too big’ subscription can save
According to Werkman, there are quite a few callers who have a ‘too big’ subscription, with too many calling minutes and MB per month. “The Dutch are champions of overinsurance and that also applies to mobile underwriting. So there is room to save by switching from a large subscription with lots of calling minutes to a smaller subscription, which lowers your monthly amount.”
Werkman’s advice is to take a good look at what you’ve worn each year. Do not hesitate to change, he says: “There are always interesting offers. Take the offer that appeals to you. You can do this by keeping your phone number, it just moves with you if you indicate you want to use it.”
Supplier loyalty is not rewarded
Werkman also sees that people stay loyal to the same vendor for years, whereas another vendor would be much cheaper. You don’t even have to choose the prepaid option, but you can still save costs with a cheaper subscription. “This ‘downscaling’ can sometimes also be done with your own provider, if you’re connected to it. So look around when your contract is about to expire.”
Various websites to compare
As a caller, do you want to know if there are cheaper options that suit your mobile browsing and calling behavior? Get a cheaper subscription or switch to prepaid?
Advice! Check your provider’s app or your monthly statement, because it shows how many MB of internet you have used per month and how many minutes you have called. With that information in hand, you can make a good comparison. We have listed a number of comparison sites for you:
Do you have any questions about mobile calls? So set this here at Checkout Questions and Answers† Do you have your own knowledge of a particular topic? Help other consumers find their way and answer questions in our forum!