It used to be the case that mobile phone contracts lasted 12 months but these days most providers are keen to get you signed up for 18 or 24 months. This makes choosing the right handset and network very important as it can be a big commitment. When selecting a mobile phone we are aware that it's style or function may start to become outdated towards the end of our contract. The benefits of longer contracts for the provider are straightforward: they get more money from you and can rely on your custom for longer. There are also benefits for the consumer which are clear if you compare your first mobile phone to your current model.
The technology available now means that our phone can be used to take (surprisingly high quality) photographs, browse the internet and watch television online. We also have inbuilt GPS and video calling functionality. The handsets we use are worth a lot more than they used to be yet most contracts don't require a fee upfront for the phone. Despite all the increases in handset quality most of us still get a free handset as long as we sign a contract of 12 months or longer. It is also worth pointing out that the amount of minutes and text messages we are allocated tends to increase each year whilst the cost of calls tends to fall. My current contract allows to unlimited text messages and calls to those on the same network.
There are of course cheaper options for those who are unwilling to pay a monthly fee. Pay as you go phones are still popular particularly with those wanting to spend less per month. Pay as you go users are not obliged to sign up for a particular length of time so they can jump ship whenever they want. Pay monthly SIM only deals are also available for those who also have a handset they are willing to stick with but who want a better price for calls.
What ever contract you choose you cannot argue that there isn't enough choice. Now, more than ever before we are able to decide what we want and how much we are willing to pay for it.