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It’s an exciting experience to take out a new cellphone contract or when it's time for your next upgrade. You get to choose from the latest and shiniest new smartphones on the market and can finally say goodbye to your old clunky device.

But there a few things you should keep in mind before signing a 24-month contract.

1.  Know what you’re buying 

Does your contract include the price of the device or do you need to buy your device upfront? Can you upgrade during your contract? Do you know when you can do this, and what the cost will be? Make sure you ask all these important questions before signing.

Vodacom has a range of different contracts. On the majority of Vodacom contracts, the cost of a new smartphone is generally included in the plan. On the Smart, Red and uChoose Smart plans you’ll get a set amount of minutes, data and SMSes each month. If you opt for a Vodacom uChoose Flexi contract, you’ll get a set amount of airtime each month that you can divvy up to suit your needs by buying data and SMS bundles.

If you go for a purely prepaid SIM, you will need to buy your smartphone separately and top up with airtime as and when you need it.

Be sure to read through the terms and conditions of your contract carefully.

2.  Know the costs 

Make sure you understand exactly how much you will be billed every month. If you use up all your data allocation on your Smart S plan for example, you will end up paying out-of-bundle rates for the additional data you use. That said, you can purchase additional data bundles on all Vodacom contracts at any time and avoid paying out of bundle rates. If you are regularly running out of data and airtime on the contract you have, it may be time to consider migrating to a plan that gives you more.

3.  Can you change your plan?

Yes you can. If you need to change your plan, there are three migrating options:

Upward migration – If you realise that your current contract doesn’t have enough airtime, talktime or data and you’re running out every month, you may need to migrate to a plan that offers more data, minutes and SMSes. There is no once-off migration fee charged when migrating upwards, but you will pay a higher subscription every month.

Downward migration ­ – If you need to move from a plan with a higher cost to one with a lower subscription, for whatever reason, there may be a migration fee. This is simply because at the time when you received the handset on a Red Advantage contract for example, that same handset was not available free on the Smart S price plan but a pay-in cost was applied.

Parallel Migrations – This is where a migration is done from per minute billing to per second billing. For example, going from an EveryDay Off Peak 120 (per min billing) to an EveryDay Off Peak 120s (per second billing). The new price plan will only be effective as from the 1st of the new month.

4. What happens if your phone is damaged, lost or stolen? 

This is an important question. If you accidentally drop your phone off a five-storey balcony as you take it out the box, what happens? Will you still have to pay for your phone for the next 24 months? The short answer is: yes.

It’s up to you to make sure that you’re prepared for any eventuality. Take out insurance to make sure that you’re covered.  Vodacom offers monthly Cellphone Cover from R35 per month.

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