When looking for a mobile phone plan, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices that are available these days. The plethora of options can be confusing, but ultimately all you need to do to choose the perfect mobile plan is to consider your personal usage needs.

Talk Time

If you plan to use your mobile phone primarily for talking, choose a plan with the most voice minutes. Plans offer different numbers of “anytime” minutes, which count for calls made during certain hours on weekdays, typically after 7 AM but before 7 PM. Other plans, with “off-peak” minutes, are designed for people who make most of their calls after 7 PM or anytime on Saturday or Sunday.

TXT Messages

Many mobile plans in NZ also come with a limited number of text messages per month. Those that include texting typically start at 300 texts. In New Zealand it is only the outgoing messages that count, so if you text a mate and he texts you back, that’s just one text gone from your allowance. If you plan to text a lot, choose a plan with a lot of included messages or purchase additional texts in a plan “boost” or add-on.

Mobile Data Usage

Mobile data usage is another factor to consider when shopping for mobile phones. If you want to browse the Internet or make updates to Twitter or Facebook from your mobile, you need a plan with a high data allowance. Sending one email without pictures or attachments, for example, uses 20 KB of data. Add-on packages with extra data usage are available if your plan does not include enough.

Always choose a plan with a little more voice minutes, text messages or data allowance than you expect to need. Once you go over your allotment, you are charged per voice minute, text or KB of broadband data, and overage charges can be quite steep.

Carry Over Minutes

On the other hand, unused allotments do not carry over with some carriers. This means that they disappear at the end of the month, without any price adjustment to you to reflect this loss. If you plan to use your mobile very rarely or think it is likely you won’t use all your minutes every month then you ought to choose a carry-over plan. Not all providers offer this service, indeed in New Zealand 2Degrees is the only company which presently offers this. With their carryover minutes any unused minutes will ‘carry over’ to the next month without additional payment from you, and they will last up to a year. A pretty handy feature if you don’t expect to use all your minutes in one month but want to keep the value you paid for!

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