Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prepaid Vs Postpaid - The Real Cost


At some time or the other, all of us have faced this dilemma - to opt for a prepaid mobile connection or for a postpaid one. Given a choice, most mobile operators would want you to choose a postpaid plan simply because their Average Revenue per User (ARPU) is higher on those plans. If your phone bills have been bothering you lately, it’s time to have a long hard look at your mobile phone bill and see where you can cut costs.

Understand your Usage Type

It is important that you understand your usage type. Are you the kind who makes calls for a few seconds and hangs up or the kind who talk for long hours on the phone? If you are the former, there are several plans available in the market offered by almost all the operators which bill you by the seconds. This way, if you make calls for a few seconds, you will not be charged for the entire minute. If you tend to talk for longer durations, it is advisable to go for a plan which bills you by the minute. While these options are available in both prepaid and postpaid avatars, usually prepaid plans come with better deals once in a while (which are announced via SMS), say for example billing at half a paisa per second for local calls, and sometimes even for STD calls.

Pay Per Secons

Understand Your Usage Needs

It is essential that you understand how you use your mobile phone. A mobile phone now is more than a communication device. It is a lifestyle device which lets you share photos, videos, email and a host of other things. Once you know the kind of usage that you put your phone to, it is easier to understand which plan suites you well. If you are someone who uses a lot of data – like GPRS (now 3G), Multi Media Services (MMS), and make a lot of STD calls, it is advisable to opt for a postpaid plan since it would be silly to keep recharging your phone constantly. On the other hand, if you are a person who uses more of SMSs (both local and National), makes less calls and not much use for data services, a prepaid plan makes better sense. Postpaid plans are better suited for the older generation while prepaid plans are more suitable for the youth.

Understand Your Requirements

The final part in this section is to know if you can afford a postpaid plan. While prepaid offers full talk time, displays the cost of each call and allow you to change plans as and when they are launched, postpaid saves you from constantly recharging your balance, it is also useful while in roaming when your mobile plan will not leave you high and dry without any currency to make important calls.

Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both these offerings.

Pros and Cons of Prepaid


  • Provides you tighter control on the cost.
  • It is more economical.
  • Provides flexibility in terms of changing plans.
  • Call rates relatively the same (or cheaper)


  • Have to recharge constantly
  • Can leave you without connectivity in an emergency

Pros and Cons of Postpaid


  • Provides details of each call at the end of the month(Itemized billing)
  • Can be used to claim Mobile phone bills (at offices which reimburse the same)


  • Has hidden charges like service taxes etc.
  • Not as transparent as prepaid

While postpaid plans have their advantages, it is clear that prepaid is the way to go if you are looking at cutting down costs.

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