Pay-as-you-go smartphone plans haven't changed much in the last few years. Calls, texts and megabytes are priced individually, putting the emphasis on you to manage your monthly spend. Some networks, such as O2, offer discounted "bundles," but otherwise it's the same old system. Soon, Vodafone will be trying a new concept called "PAYG1." Every text, minute or 5MB of data will cost 20 pence, but if you reach a pound Vodafone will automatically cap your bill for the day. That means any further minutes and texts (and data, up to 500MB) is free until midnight.
Each additional 500MB will cost £1. Managing your data spend is, therefore, a little complicated, but the rest should be straightforward. In short, you'll never spend more than £30 per month, provided you don't go silly streaming music or downloading apps on the move. Thirty pounds, of course, is enough to get you a decent contract, but the thinking here is that you'll regularly fall under that amount. There might be days when you don't use your phone at all (if you have one just for emergencies, for instance), or limit your usage to just a text or two in the afternoon.
It's about peace of mind. If there's a day when you have no choice but to stay on the phone for an hour, it doesn't matter — you won't be charged more than a pound at the end of the day. But is PAYG1 good value? On Three, for instance, you can send a text for 2 pence, or make a call for three pence per minute. EE's £10 "Data Pack" comes with 2GB of data, 100 minutes and unlimited texts for the month. It all depends, unsurprisingly, on your usage and the budget you want to stick to. If you're interested, we've been told Vodafone will be launching PAYG1 in early November.
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.