What to Ask

Let us start with some basic questions.

Type

When purchasing a new mobile phone the first question you’d ask yourself is Smart or Feature?

Do you want/need to have a string of Internet Applications(apps) at your finger tips as provided by a Smart Phone, or will plain old voice and text Feature phone do you just fine and be cheaper.

Where to buy?

You  will either buy the selected phone and service from the actual Mobile operator(e.g. 3 or Vodafone)  or from companies that sell various service from various operators like Carphone Warehouse. This could be at a store or over the Internet.

What do you know already?

  • If you are pay-as-you-go – then roughly how much a month do you spend?
  • If you have a monthly contract – then review your last few bills to understand voice, text and Internet browsing usage.
  • How/where you typically us it?
  • What technology do I use/need on the phone:
    • Camera
    • Good keyboard for texting
    • Video Recording
    • Gaming

Armed with this information, here are some questions to ask when buying the phone.

Question to ask when buying the phone.

  • Explain to me the operator’s(e.g. Vodafone) mobile coverage in the area where I live/work.
  • Is 3G(high speed data) coverage available?
    • If yes then at what speed
    • If no, then would a voice/text only Feature phone do?
    • See the Sections on 3G Explained and  Coverage for more information.
  • Explain to me the costs (tariff plan) for voice/text minutes/messages.
    • What are the charges if I exceed these?
    • Do you offer special International calling rates(say for holiday or business travel abroad)
    • See the Section Mobile Costs for more information
  • For Smart phones explain data(Internet Browsing) usage.
    • How much Internet traffic(MB) does the plan give me per month?
    • What happens if I exceed that limit.
      • Do you cut me off from the Internet for the remainder of the month
      • Do you charge me more – if so how much?
    • Does the plan offer access to any Wifi minutes?
    • Do you offer special rates for Internet access when travelling abroad?
    • See Sections on Bandwidth Usage and Using your mobile abroad.
  • How much memory does the Smart phone have?  This could limit the applications(apps) you can run. Check out how much memory your existing apps use up.
  • What is the battery life
    • On standby
    • For voice calls
    • For Internet Applications
  • If the phone is for a child, ask what Parental Controls are available.
    • All operators have packages that are linked to the SIM card in your new phone.
    • Some phones can be configured to limit access
    • See section on Parental Control
  • What security software is offered with the Smart phone
    • Just like a PC or laptop, is there a free trial offering on the mobile?
    • If not what do they recommend?
    • Do they have special deals?
    • Does the software cover Parental Controls?
    • Does the Smart phone have a ‘Remote Wipe Feature’ to remotely delete all personal information if the phone is lost/stolen?
    • See Sections on Cyber Crime and Protection.

Summary

 The primary idea of this whole web sites was to answer many of the questions detailed above, so people understood the benefits and dangers before buying a new phone.

As with everything this will evolve as the devices and services change.

 

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