Do You Change Phones The Moment That Your Contract Expires?

Do You Change Phones The Moment That Your Contract Expires?

A recent survey suggests that 60 per cent of Australians hope to keep using their phone even when their 24-month contract is up. Where do you stand on the issue?

Picture by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The survey of 1257 Australians was commissioned by mobile provider Live Connected (an option several Lifehacker readers recommended the last time we looked at BYO mobile plans). The topic is very much in the air at the moment, with the imminent release of the iPhone 5, plenty of attractive Android options already available and the looming promise of Windows Phone 8 devices. So we’re wondering:

[polldaddy poll=6542046]

Feel free to expand on your reasoning in the comments.


  • Buy outright and then tend to be on a month to month plan so I can change as needed. I’ve never had a phone contract longer than 30 days as the landscape changes so fast and I refuse to be in a position that stops me shifting provider.

  • I tend to do a kind of mix ‘n’ match. A few years ago I had to buy a new phone outright to replace a lost one and since then I’ve tended to alternate a new one on a contract with an outright purchase every 18 months or so, so I stay on a contract for around 3 years. That landed me with a Lumia800 late last year and even though my contract is up this month, there really isn’t anything out there, or on the horizon, that seems likely to tempt me into a new phone for the foreseeable future. If anything, I’d be tempted to downgrade to something smaller, as the Lumia800 is already way over-powered for my needs and I’d prefer something a lot smaller, if only someone made something like that which wasn’t also cheap and nasty. I really do miss the good ol’ days when a phone company’s flagship handset was their smallest and lightest model.

  • Why wait till the contract is up? Phones tend to fail well before the end of a 2 year contract and telcos are usually happy to upgrade you early; after all, they’re locking you in to another contract.

  • I wanted to leave Vodafone on my old contract, yet my handset was so bad I asked to be upgraded early and kept with them. Now I have brand new phone and couldn’t be happier, the speeds and such are fine. As my plan is new (another 20~ installments to go) and so is my phone I can’t look at upgrading yet. Likely, 4G will be standard when my contract ends so it will probably be in my interest to upgrade.

    Upgrading, worth it.

  • I got an iPhone 4 when they first came out 2 years ago. It still works perfectly well. I’ll upgrade to iOS6 shortly which will give it some more functionality. With cheap prepaid plans available I can’t see a reason to upgrade at the moment.

  • I bought an HTC Desire Z when they came out a few years back, been on BYO plans since, no intention to get rid of it any time soon, but whenever I do I’ll likely need to buy another phone outright as finding good keyboarded android phones can be hard.

  • Where’s the “No, because I’m waiting for to be released?

    My iPhone 4 contract expired a couple of months ago, but there were no phones out that really caught my attention at the time. So now, I’m just waiting for the Lumia 920.

  • I used to feel the need to buy new hardware to keep up to date, but since getting a GS2 a couple years back I don’t have the urge any more. I get the new phone feeling from flashing a new custom rom or theme to the phone, and the hardware is spot on for power and size/weight for me.

    4G would be nice, but its not a deal breaker at present. Would likely get a HTC One XL if I was to switch, but honestly quite happy at present. Miui is my current daily driver, which whilst is all candy compared to the last year living on CM, I am liking the change as well as the skinning options available.

    • Ditto, except for GS1.
      I’ve also previously busted phones around the 18 month mark to the point of unusability or high level of annoyance.
      4G is probably also my next reason to upgrade, unless NFC takes off (seems unlikely now that iPhone 5 doesn’t have it)

  • Where’s the option: “I usually upgrade 3 months early because I can get a free upgrade and am happy with my provider”

    Can’t really see myself upgrading from my SGS3. Maybe get a Galaxy Note 3 in 20 months time, but I’m not sure what else I want from my phone.

  • I always get a new phone as my contract expires, there is no value in keeping your phone on the current plan and I think that the BYO plans don’t offer the same value for money.

    I think my contract will coincide with the Lumia 920 quite nicely.

  • I tend to upgrade as soon as the phone I’m after is released, got the iPhone 3G on launch, upgraded to iPhone 4 at launch 2 years later, now 2 years later I’m out of contract, but waiting for the Lumia 920 to come out, so normally yes, this time no!

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you stay on the same contract plan after the contract expires, are you not continuing to pay for the handset that theoretically, you have paid out? Surely it makes more sense to get a new handset on a new contract.

    • I don’t think so?

      Let’s pretend I have a Galaxy S2. It costs me $500 and I pay $50 a month in handset repayments and $10 in phone calls. After 10 months I have paid $500 in handset repayments, so my next bill will be $10 (instead of $60).

      Unless there’s something I’m not getting here, once you pay for something you don’t pay handset fees any more?

      • I’m on an Optus plan with fixed mothly repayments. The call costs and handset payments are not separated, AFAIK. So my plan was to jump ship just before contract expires, but still not sure what to yet.

        • Grayda Telstra gives you a “bonus” which counts toward your MRO (monthly repayment option) when getting a new plan / handset. If you BYO you get the “bonus” as a discount off your bill (but only for the duration of the contract). During your contract if the bonus doesn’t cover all of your MRO you pay the difference as an extra monthly payment on your bill. Once your contract expires though the phone is yours and you stop paying the MRO extra if you ever did. Or you stop getting the discount and start paying full price for your plan if you BYO’d.

          • Actually, if you go on a BYO advertised as say, $50 you continue to pay $50 even after the contract expiry. BYO plans don’t come with an MRO bonus because they’re BYO plans. The credit you’re talking about in regards to a BYO only apply to Telstra member plans which come with a $5 MRO to pay off a handset or credit the bill if it’s a BYO.

      • Yes, that is why I am looking for a new plan. I got an SGS2 from my little brother and put it on my existing BYO plan, thus giving me a $15/month discount (compared if I’d bundled a phone with the plan). Now I’m out of contract I’m paying full price for the plan, the only way to get the discount back is to sign up for another 24month BYO plan or get a new handset (ie SGS3) and stay on my current plan re-contracted for 24months.

  • after signing a contract with vodafone in August 2010 for an iphone 4, and managing to bail on that by January 2011 , I’ve not signed another contract and will purchase outright and pre-paid/month to month plans for the foreseeable future.

  • I don’t immediately jump post contract but start looking and considering then. Out of contract on my iPhone4 for 2 months now and still weighing up whether to go iPhone 5 or S3.

    Regarding going onto a new contract: I’ll definitely go on contract if I decide on iPhone 5 and probably if I go with S3.

  • I don’t always change phones when my contract expires,
    But when I do..

    ..wait, I always do. Never mind.

    When I got my first post-paid phone (iPhone 3G) I upgraded at the end because I was sick of iTunes and the Apple BS, so I upgraded to a Galaxy S 1. By the end of that, the phone was running alright (CM 9!) but I wanted to try out NFC, plus the screen had lines all over it (from a dip in a puddle from a leaky kettle) so now I’m on the Galaxy Nexus, bought outright. So I’ll have this phone for a long time to come, as it’ll get Android updates quicker and have enough tech in it to satisfy the hacker in me.

  • Yep, just punted my trusty Trophy for an S3. Bye bye Windows Phone, I may return, but after a few days of Droidy goodness it’s probably not overly likely…

  • I would without batting an eyelid if Telstra wasn’t more expensive now that when I started my plan. I can stay on what I’m on – $49/mo, $400 Calls, 1GB Data (+ $9 Handset repayments, which stop at 24 mo) or change to the new plan with about the same stuff for $60 + $11 Repayments.

  • The quality of battery replacements is a diminishing return. Two (or less) years after a model release the battery manufacturers have stopped making that battery. Whateveris available has already been sitting on a shelf for a while and isn’t as potent as an original battery. Try getting a GOOD battery in 2 years for your smartphone that will last for 2,3, or even 4 days! Yep, I unfortunately buy one good(?) replacement battery, get frustrated with it’s lack of longetivity and shortly thereafter buy a new phone. I was happy with my Jasjam until replacement batteries were uselessly inadequate, and now it is getting close to purchasing a battery replacement for the GS2. The batteries out there look crappy …. I would otherwise hold on to my GS2 longer.

  • I was an avid contract guy for years but never liked being tied down, only did it for the phone. On contract I’ve also bought phones outright to upgrade (I get bored quickly), selling the one i got with the contract to offset the cost.

    Once my Vodafone contract expired last month, I switched to Live Connected. If you look at a comparison with a 24 month $49 cap, on their $11.99/month plan, that leaves you with $888 to spend on a handset of your choice ($49-$12×24).

    I was looking at getting either a Galaxy Nexus, One X or SIII but the reality is my iPhone 4 still does everything I need it to do. That extra money can go elsewhere for now.

  • If I could get anything like the deal I got when I switched to Telstra when the iPhone4 first came out, I’d jump straight onto a new contract to get the iPhone5.
    But it looks like I was lucky enough to get in during that brief window about 2 years ago when Telstra were aggressively buying back customers with contracts cheaper than the others.

  • Since the iPhone 5 isnt worth the upgrade, ill likely just jailbreak my now out of contract iPhone4 and stick with that on a prepaid plan, save up the extra cash and get a 5S next year (but that probably wont be worth the upgrade either) or SGS4 (as long as it doesnt get any wider, the SGS3 is wide enough, although who knows at the rate Samsung are going there might be a SGS6 this time next year) or see how the windows phone 8 goes with app availability.

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