Whether you’re trying to save money while bootstrapping your startup, ramping up communications efforts between staff members and job candidates, or just need a mobile service to reach out to clients, a prepaid mobile phone plan could be a smarter, more flexible and inexpensive choice. But, before you decide which type of mobile phone plan is right for your business, here are five things you should consider before signing up or switching to a no-contract option.
1.) You Have to Pay Full Price for Smartphones
It’s true, and more expensive right out of the gate. That shiny new iPhone can come with a hefty price tag when you go the no-contract mobile service route. While your business may be able to purchase smartphones at a fraction of the price when you lock yourself into a two-year contract, paying full-price for smartphones on a prepaid phone plan can offer your company more flexibility and typically help you save a whole lot of cash in the long run.
2.) Prepaid Phone Plans Are Affordable ... For the Most Part
When it comes to some no-contract mobile plans, setting aside just $50 each month per business phone will give you and your staff unlimited minutes, text messages and a few hundred megabytes of data service. Of course, it's definitely on the cheap side, but not all prepaid phone plans are created equal when it comes to functionality – and affordability.
A few mobile phone carriers will tout that they can give you unlimited data for an inexpensive, fixed price, but be careful because sometimes that data isn’t actually unlimited. For instance, if you go over a certain amount of gigabytes of data per month, your connection speed will come to a crawl before month’s end. This means streaming media won’t work as well, your browser page loads will slow down significantly and file downloads could take eons to complete.
So, if your company is super high tech and needs to go for true unlimited data on a prepaid service, keep in mind that you’ll pay a bit extra for it. But, hey – at least you won’t have to pay data overage charges like you would with most two-year contracted plans.
3.) GSM and CDMA are Not Created Equal
Some wireless service providers do not support unlocked devices, and this could propose a problem for your business. CDMA networks simply don’t jive with unlocked phones, which can be a bummer when your company wants to bounce to another prepaid service plan – or even start a new two-year contract.
An unlocked phone used on a GSM network can cost more at the start, but overall, the money your company can save will pay off. Plus, when you go with a GSM carrier, you can use unlocked phones on a variety of service plans as opposed to just a few – so you can feel free to be choosy when it comes to your wireless service carrier. For the best, most flexible no-contract mobile plan experience, avoid mobile phone providers that operate on CDMA networks if you can help it.
4.) Customer Service Can Suck
When it comes to prepaid mobile service, you really do get what you pay – and don’t pay – for. The biggest reason why no-contract mobile plans are cheap is that the providers don’t have a whole lot of overhead when it comes to running retail stores. If your company prides itself on great customer service, you might get more than a little annoyed when it comes to the hit or miss customer support options in the prepaid mobile world.
Most no-contract providers offer the ability to talk to customer service representatives over the phone and the web, but it can sometimes take hours and even days to resolve whatever your phone issue is. For one, your prepaid account may get shut off unexpectedly for a weird, unknown reason – and what if you need your business phone right now but can’t get an answer to your problem for a few days? If your staff relies heavily on using mobile phones for business purposes, always have backup phones ready to go in case of prepaid phone emergencies.
5.) Google Voice is a Prepaid Phone’s Best Friend
If you decide that a prepaid mobile service is right for your business, there’s a great chance that you’ll want to try different carriers and plans since you won’t have a contract to adhere to. It’s a good idea to try out a handful of options in order to find the best carrier for your company.
And to help you do that, you’ll want to take full control over your staff members’ mobile numbers. A simple way to do this is to port each of these mobile numbers to Google Voice. This will take a small one-time fee for each phone, but it’s better and easier than having to port every phone number from carrier to carrier as you’re surfing the no-contract mobile phone waters.
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