Australians Have Worked Out Contract Phones Are Bad Value

Here at Lifehacker, we’ve long advocated the view that buying a phone on a contract is a bad idea — an outright buy and a prepaid or month-to-month contract is better value and gives you more flexibility. That approach is becoming more common: new statistics from Telsyste suggest that less than half the phones sold in Australia in 2013 were purchased as part of a long-term contract.

Phone picture from Shutterstock

Telsyte’s Australian Smartphone Market Study found that in 2013 that only 43 per cent of Australians over 16 had acquired their phone via a contract. In 2012, that figure was 57 per cent.

That doesn’t mean everyone is paying for a brand-new device. According to the study, 30 per cent of buyers acquired new devices, while the other 27 per cent either got a hand-me-down, a gift or a company phone. (BYOD isn’t yet universal, it seems).

Have your own smartphone but aren’t sure which prepaid plan to choose? Check out our guide to the single best-value prepaid plan on each network.

People who are acquiring on contract are also being more frugal. Telsyte’s research found that 56 per cent of people who were on a contract weren’t paying any additional fees for their handset.

Telsyte’s market share figures also place Android in first place, with a little over 50 per cent. Apple’s iOS was second with 42 per cent, leaving Microsoft, BlackBerry, Symbian and everyone else fighting for the crumbs.

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