Box - HTC Desire
Image by avlxyz via Flickr

Last week I was looking to get hold of one of the new HTC Windows Phone 7 devices, and found myself looking at both outright purchases and deals on contract phones. On this particular occasion, I really couldn’t choose between a contract phone and a pay as you go purchase. Shopping from a site like Expansys.com was out of the question as they simply didn’t have any stock – remarkable as it might seem – so my only options were narrowed down to a couple of models each available as either contract or outright handset purchases.

This got me thinking about which is best – signing up to a contract or purchasing a mobile handset outright? Over the years I’ve tried both ways, but as time has gone on and I’ve had more and more different mobile phone models, I’ve come to decide that while I like the independence of purchasing a handset without a contract, getting tied in isn’t all that bad.

For instance, when you’re browsing through sites like Phones4u.co.uk, and stumble across a handset like the HTC Desire Black with its Android operating system and 1GHz processor, for just £27.50 a month, you realise that contract phones can be really good.

There are benefits in signing up to mobile contracts that outweigh those of owning the handset outright. For instance you can maintain a regular relationship with your network provider and take advantage of the special offers they have on. Orange, Vodafone and o2 each regularly publicise offers for their users, offers that as a pay as you go customer you may not get access to.

Without online mobile stores that allow you to compare different mobile phone contracts for single models, purchasing a new mobile would be a pretty tiring job.

A good example of a single phone available across different networks is the Samsung Monte – this phone pretends to be a standard phone as opposed to a “smartphone” and comes at a range of monthly tariffs from £10 a month to £35, depending upon which network you choose. It also comes with a range of apps, from Facebook to a BBC iPlayer.

So – don’t just ignore the mobile contract in favour of complete ownership of your mobile. Instead, look for the best offer, and most importantly, shop around!

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