The utility of mobile phones, better as smartphones, cannot be underrated because of the extensive use of the various services that they now provide in almost all aspects; may it be business, health, banking, ticket booking, education, consultancy or others. Living without a mobile phone these days can be a challenge. Accordingly the kind of billing arrangement you choose must suit your everyday needs while being pocket friendly.
So here is a detailed analysis of the two types of subscriptions and their head to head comparison, so you can choose the better one for yourself.
What is a Prepaid Subscription?
A prepaid subscription, more commonly called a prepaid connection, is the one in which the user purchases credit prior to availing the services of the network provider. This credit can be of any limit among those specified by the network provider, and are used to pay for the mobile phone services used by the user, which can be calling, texting, browsing, etc. It is more of a pay-as-you-talk kind of service. But yes, outgoing will fail when the user reaches the maximum limit.
A number of combo offers, involving internet pack, minutes, SMS, calls and validity have been made available by the network operators to attract users into opting for these. The top up plans providing users with A2A minutes, SMS pack, internet packs with 30 days validity begin at Rs. 396.
Several day packs, night packs and week packs are also presented by network providers. For example, for a particular day pack; the rental amount is Rs. 20 till midnight, allowing a browsing limit upto 25 MB and 10p/10kb applicable post usage.
What is a Postpaid Connection?
An alternative to the prepaid subscription is the postpaid subscription. It’s the connection in which the user is billed according to the mobile services he has availed in the fixed duration as specified by the mobile network provider, which can be long term, 1-3 years or short term, i.e. for 30 days. The contract accepted by the customer specifies a limit to the usage of minutes and text messages. Additional charges apply after the limit is exceeded.
Apart from this, there are off-net and on-net types of calls. Off-net calls refer to the calls made to a network different from yours, while on-net calls are the calls on the same network. Off-net calls cost a little more than on-net calls.
There are various schemes, offering varying tariffs, and users can opt for the best one. This is more of an unrestricted credit for the users who have access to all services, before they actually purchase them.
Since there has been a manifold increase in the number of internet users, most of the network providers have initiated internet packs.
# Advantages of the Prepaid Connection
1. Prepaid connection allows you to monitor your mobile phone usage. For people with a low usage of mobiles services may it be calls or message, the prepaid plan is the best option.
For instance, if you make 2-3 outgoing calls a day, lasting around 2 minutes each, the maximum recharge you need can be Rs. 200 at the usual credit of 1p/second.
2. Recharge can be done instantly by means of top-up recharge shops, net banking and online portals, when you exceed your monthly calls. But this can be a very cumbersome procedure in a postpaid system wherein there are various terms and conditions in a single plan. Subsequently, the necessity for instant recharge calls for a prepaid network.
3. The freedom to recharge when and how much you can afford is also explains the choice of prepaid plan. For example, college students, who have money constraints, usually take up prepaid connections to limit their phone usage, by setting a limit for their balance. Also, people with low or insecure incomes prefer prepaid connections to reduce unnecessary expenses.
4. Prepaid sim cards are easily accessible and do not require complicated procedures involving submitting your documents, billing statement and ID proof.
5. Next, you don’t have to be bothered about bills, and can always check your remaining balance by dialing the customer care.
6. There are no superfluous deposits required for availing STD, ISD or roaming charges. Your balance must be greater than a certain value to use these services.
7. You don’t have to pay for the additional Caller ID value, as it is incorporated in the cost of the card. There are no concealed charges applied in this case.
# Advantages of the Postpaid Subscription:
1. For people having a secured income and relatively high phone usage, with less concern about the considerable bill it generates, the postpaid connection is the preferred one. You don’t have to get worried about the remaining balance, as in the case of prepaid connection, because postpaid offers unlimited credit.
2. The user has a multiple range of schemes to choose from, depending upon his/her requirement.
3. You can recover all your call logs by requesting for the Call Detail Records (CDRs), which include all the data regarding the calling number, dialed number, the date and time of the call, its duration and call type (MOC, i.e. Mobile Originated Call or MTC, i.e. Mobile Terminated Call). The format of this record can give you the information of all the costs included in the final bill.
4. This also facilitates the user to keep his phone secure. One can easily track the number to which the call was made if one thinks that the phone has been misused.
5. Bill generation helps you know the money you’ve spent on messages and calls.
Which one is better?
Both the prepaid and postpaid have their own advantages and limitations.
While the prepaid subscription allows the user to keep a check on the phone expenses, the postpaid gives the privilege of unlimited credit. The process of obtaining a prepaid sim is way simple than the postpaid sim which requires a lot of documentation and verification.
The postpaid sim provides the user with security as one can retrieve the call detail records.
In a country like India, where most people belong to the mediocre section of the society, with students using the mobile phones for every utility it provides, they try to cut down the expenses by opting for prepaid connections. This controls their mobile phone usage and they have the charge of refilling of their accounts.
For the affluent section of the society, postpaid connections are popular to some extent. There is easy connectivity because the user doesn’t have to get anxious about the account balance each time he/she talks. For the entrepreneurs, companies, and people who work while travelling, a postpaid connection is a necessity.
Which one is popular?
Based on a number of surveys conducted on people of all backgrounds, here is a comparison showing the proportion of prepaid and postpaid among the youngsters and the working class. Current market trends clearly describe the popularity of the prepaid connection owing to the multiple benefits it imparts to the user. We cannot neglect the benefits of the postpaid connection, nor can we ignore the segment of the society which is availing them.
Looking from the global perspective, we find that, in most countries, the prepaid connection is by far the preferred connection, except in the United States, where the Postpaid makes its mark way ahead of prepaid.
Such a disparity in the popularity of prepaid and postpaid networks is interesting. It is based on the different plans presented by the network providers. In US, the prepaid connection has its own terms, for example, the incoming is not free unless specified, which is a huge drawback. The postpaid plan, on the contrary, provides a standard number of day time minutes to the user. The day time is considered to be from 6 am to 9 pm. Mostly, it provides free mobile to mobile calling on the same network. Such advantages of the postpaid over the prepaid connection make it popular.
Here’s how we conclude it!
In conclusion, we hope the above analysis of the two subscriptions gives you an idea of the merits and demerits of one over the other. Depending on your usage and priorities, you will be able to figure which of the two suits you better. Although market research shows that prepaid has been the choice of larger section of people, but opinions may differ with respect to the need and usage of the consumers.
About the Author:
The author is a student of UIET, PU. Is a great foodie and loves exploring the charms of nature. Indulges in sharing life experiences and hearing out others’. Fiercely independent, she believes in standing up for what is right and desires honesty from companions. Unconventional and proud of it!