How to Choose the Best Mobile Internet – Postpaid or Prepaid?

How to Choose the Best Internet PlanSo you need mobile internet.

With all our telecom companies in the process of removing their “unlimited” internet offers, we are now faced with the task of choosing which mobile internet solution is best for us.

This is the first part in our “How To Choose The Best Mobile Internet Plan For You” series.

Postpaid or Prepaid?

One of the questions you need to answer is if you should go Postpaid or Prepaid. There are advantages for both – sometimes, sometimes, you get better service by being a postpaid subscriber. You (people claim) have priority when it comes to calls, texts and internet. Don’t you notice that some telecoms companies provide different APNs for postpaid and prepaid subscribers? Aside from telecoms companies allegedly tweaking their settings to prioritize postpaid subscribers, there are also fewer postpaid subscribers – this means that there is less congestion if they are indeed being routed to a different APN than prepaid subscribers.

There is also the problem of the lock-in period. Do you really want to tie yourself to paying X amount of money per month for 12, 24 or 30 months to companies that have poor track records when it comes to fulfilling their promises (ahem, super slow mobile internet speed, ahem)? Once you’re locked in, you can’t escape! Not without paying an exorbitant “termination fee”. You’re basically held hostage by your telecom company and forced to pay their monthly fees even when you’re unsatisfied with their service. Worse, there’s always that possibility for you to get bill shock.

If you ever consider going postpaid, you must be really, really sure about what you are getting yourself into.

There are only a few good reasons for going postpaid:

  • convenience – you are someone important and you don’t have time to fiddle around registering and keeping track of prepaid promos; money is no object; and you can’t be bothered to buy prepaid load every once in a while
  • the telecom companies came out with a really, really good deal where you’d be an idiot not to take advantage of the offer <— THIS IS VERY, VERY RARE!
  • they have a postpaid plan that has no lock-in period

If you are only interested in going postpaid to get your hands on that new-fangled phone, please reconsider. Multiply your monthly telecom bill by how many months you are locked in and figure out how much you will actually be paying for your new phone. If you were to buy your new phone “outside” like, say, Greenhills, how much would it cost? How much is your regular telecom usage cost? Multiply that by your lock-in period and compare if you are saving money or spending more.

Keep in mind that phones depreciate. Once you are locked in for 30 months, you’ll still be paying for the high initial price of the phone even after 2 years when the phone’s street price has gone down to 50% of what it was. So lugi! You will be better off waiting for 6 months for the phone’s street price to drop, and if you don’t have the ready cash, spend that 6 months saving up. It’s often better to buy the phone you want yourself. This way, it’s unlocked (commands a better price when it’s time to resell), and you’re not roped into a one-sided contract.

My point is – if you are on a regular postpaid plan and the telecom company does not live up to their promises, you’re basically screwed – you can’t cancel without paying a termination fee, and even while you’re complaining, you can’t stop paying the monthly fee, either – so do yourself a favor and avoid this fate. Saving a few hundred pesos on the free pocket wifi is not worth this trouble. What is the track record of telecom companies keeping up their end of the bargain, especially when it comes to mobile internet? Haha. Exactly. The daily Facebook complaints on these companies’ FB pages should be a warning to you.

Postpaid plans that have no required monthly spend and no lock-in periods are the best, and right now, the only one that I know of is Smart’s Freedom Plan.

To recap:

  • POSTPAID – Good only if there’s no lock-in period
  • PREPAID – has a few disadvantages but preferable to a bad postpaid plan where you’re screwed

What I Do:

I don’t use my smartphone to do a lot of mobile internet. Why? Because mobile internet sucks battery life like it’s on crack. I have mobile internet on my smartphone, but I usually just use the Smart Free Internet (30MB per day), or the 100MB that comes with my plan, and only for Waze and the occasional surfing and social media & communications apps.

I also want to be able to call & text people – this is more important to me than mobile internet, and I usually have the mobile data on my phone turned off and just turn it on when I need it. I also connect to wifi when at home.

The bulk of my mobile internet usage is done on a 7-inch Asus dual-sim ME175CG tablet which I love. If you can spare the money, I really recommend getting a separate gadget for mobile internet. If your tablet battery dies, it’s not a big deal. If your phone dies and you have an emergency, you’re screwed. If you’ve read my previous mobile internet reviews, you’d know that I use prepaid SIMs on it – 1 Globe SIM and 1 Smart SIM.

I also do not put in any extra load. If I were registering to an Always ON 299 promo, I would only put in P300.00, register to the P299.00 promo, and have exactly P1.00 credit left.

This way, I avoid any “accidental” loss of prepaid credits. No “accidental” or “intentional” kinain ang load problems. I don’t call or text on my tablet, anyway, and no one knows my prepaid SIM numbers, so I can change my SIMs any time I want.

If you are worried that your Viber, WeChat or other chat app won’t work using a different SIM, don’t be. The chat apps don’t care. When you log in to your chat app, just put in your original Viber or WeChat number (your real phone number). The chat app verification code will go to your real phone number, and you just need to type it into your chat app. You might have to do a bit of syncing to keep your contacts updated. I prefer to just save all my contacts to my Google account so they are automatically synced to my mobile internet device by just logging in. You never have to use your mobile internet SIM number for anything except to reload.

Please check out Part 2: How to Choose the Best Mobile Internet – Smart, Sun or Globe?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

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