No one product or service is right for everyone, and prepaid broadband services are a good example of this. To determine if prepaid broadband is right for you, you might want to answer a handful of basic questions. Here are some great questions to ask yourself before opting for a prepaid broadband:
Do You Plan on Moving?
If you are moving frequently for any reason then you want to carefully consider any purchase. Many carriers will offer contract users a free pass on their early termination fee if they move out of market, but may require a plan purchase in a new area if they serve that area regardless of pricing or your financial situation. Prepaid broadband on the other hand means that you can get up and move without losing anything but the time remaining on your plan, and that is the worst case scenario with one exception: your hardware investment.
Since most prepaid broadband deals require you to purchase your hardware at full price or with minimal subsidization in the case of carrier-locked hardware, you may have an issue using it in a new city. If you choose a carrier that has several major markets and you are confident that your hardware will be of use when you move, then the risk is significantly mitigated. Alternatively, you can always to try to sell your modem or other hardware on sites like craigslist or ebay when you relocate.
Do You Know You Needs Well?
If you are relatively new to broadband and are not sure how much you will use the service, then a prepaid broadband solution may be right up your alley. Sure you might be looking at the purchase of a modem or other piece of hardware as a lot of money compared to the “free” hardware offered by a contract-based plan, but that item is not so free. In fact, if you decide to downgrade or quit, that hardware can become stunningly expensive in a very short period of time!
Do Your Needs Change Frequently?
Even if you know your needs you may want to ask if they change frequently. For example, do you go to school and therefore need less broadband performance for certain times than others? If so, the flexibility offered by prepaid broadband plans is unmatched.
Do You Take Breaks, Travel, or Vacation Often?
Are you the kind of person that might spend a lot of time at home for a few weeks then suddenly change what you are doing? Perhaps you start going out, or travel to another city or country…regardless, you will want to consider prepaid broadband in this case. The bottom line is that the ability to stop and start again will likely be a great way to get the most value for your Internet dollar.
Do You Want to Own Your Own Modem?
Owning your own modem is a little bit like owning your own car or home. Sure you can’t drive it or live in it, but not having to make monthly payments on something you own versus rent or lease is a great way to save money in the long run.
Are You Going to Share Your Prepaid Broadband?
Sharing is a great way to save a lot of money, but not every arrangement works out the way that we think it will. If you want to sign up for a contract with a roommate or neighbor that will log in via WiFi, you want to be sure that life will not throw either of you a curve ball. If either of you has a major life changing event such as marriage, divorce, a loss of a job, a job that requires you to move, etc…both of you could suffer. Prepaid broadband almost universally comes with no early termination fees to worry about, and so the worst case scenario you will encounter is likely to be a change of plans for the following month so long as everyone is paid up and hardware ownership is not split. In short, contracts are honestly not the way to go if you are sharing Internet access with anyone. The more people that share, higher probability that something will go upside-down at a bad moment.