Pay As You Go Mobile

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The Builder | 17:12 Tue 04th Jan 2022 | Technology
17 Answers
I've just been sorting out a PAYG simple (non-Smart) mobile for a friend. He just wants it for emergencies. Quite common I think.
I've set up an EE account for him.
£5 package, and I've put in his card details.
Apparently, it's for 30 days. What I want to know is... next month, if he hasn't used all the fiver's worth, is that lost, and they then take another fiver?

I can see why they want card details, but it's not clear how it all works.


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Yes, he needs to give notice to cancel the rolling contract, usually a month
I've got an EE PAYG and all I do is check my balance once or twice a year and top-up with a fiver or two if necessary I don't use it much; and it's not a smart phone).
Question Author
Barry, thank you. I thought you would know.
So, if usage is low or nil, then the fiver would be rather like a standing charge.
Question Author
So, Atheist.... the fiver isn't "lost" then? (If he doesn't use it)
If it really is payg he'll only use what he uses when he uses it. If it's more like a rolling contract payg he'll pay a fiver each 30 days
Question Author
Thanks Beds,

I wish I'd never started this now ;o)
So there are two types of PAYG?
Fair enough. I think I'll leave it on the rolling contract.
At least he won't have to worry about running out of credit.
And I can always change it later.
Thanks all ;o))))

It's as clear as mud. I've had a look on the EE website and can't see a £5 package so I don't know if it's a £5 a month rolling contract or a true, old style PAYG where the £5 lasts until it runs out (or x amount of months) and is topped up when needed.

Didn't you get any sort of paperwork with the SIM?
There are plenty of options for contracts which, effectively, cost nothing. I'm with Tesco, put £10 on when I got the phone years ago, use literally coppers a year; all I have to do is ensure the phone is used, so I get messages to it when I buy things using "Click and Collect". They text me, which costs me nothing but keeps the SIM alive. I think ASDA have a similar system that Buenchico recommends.
>>> if he hasn't used all the fiver's worth, is that lost, and they then take another fiver?

"Yes" . . . and possibly/probably "yes".

You seem to have set up the wrong type of PAYG account. There are two sorts, which I'll try to explain below:

1. When PAYG phones first came onto the market, people paid to buy (fairly expensive) credit whenever they felt that they needed it. (i.e. there were no monthly arrangements). Such credit lasted indefinitely, except that it was necessary to make at least one chargeable call in a set period (which was often 180 days) in order to keep the account active. (If no such call was made, the number would be disconnected and all remaining credit lost). I'll refer to this as 'raw' credit below, for simplicity.

2. At a later stage though, phone service providers introduced the concept of 'bundles'. (Some companies have their own names for 'bundles'. GiffGaff, for example, calls them 'goodybags', while EE simply calls them 'packs'). When a user buys a bundle, they get a certain number of minutes and/or a certain number of texts and/or a certain amount of data for a fixed price which can work out much, much cheaper than using 'raw' credit for anyone who uses their phone regularly. The downside though is that, while 'raw' credit lasts indefinitely, 'bundle' credit only last for thirty days, with any credit unused at the end of that period then being lost.

People using bundles aren't obliged to automatically buy another one at the end of 30 days but most people choose to set up an arrangement whereby payment for a new bundle is automatically taken when the preceding one expires. If you've set up such an arrangement, then your friend will get a message in thirty days time, telling him that EE are about to take a payment from his bank account and then, a day later, another message telling him that they have. If you've not set up such an arrangement, he'll simply get a message advising him that he needs to buy another bundle (or, as EE calls it, 'pack') in order to keep his phone service active. [Hence the 'possibly/probably' bit at the top of my post. It's not entirely clear to me what you've actually done].

If your friend definitely only wants his phone for emergency use, it would be better to switch to an arrangement that uses what I've called 'raw' credit. He'll then get charged a staggering 35p per minute for his calls but (as long as he makes at least one call every 180 days), his credit will never expire.

Even when using 'bundles' (= 'packs'), it's always wise to have some 'raw' credit on a phone anyway, as 'bundles' don't include things like calls to premium rate numbers. So there's no reason why your friend can't add some 'raw' credit onto his phone right now, to run alongside the 'bundle' you've created. He can create and top-up 'raw' credit using any of the methods shown here:
(If you've set up a recurring bundle arrangement, he can cancel it by calling 150 or simply by texting 'STOP REC' to 150).
The problem is the operators hate PAYG so they'll do their best to make it obscure inconsistent etc and hope you go for a contract.
Question Author
The "paperwork" is also as clear as mud, Barry.
It's definitely a £5 rolling contract Barry.

bhg's point is helpful. At least, this way, there shouldn't be any problems with the "use it or lose it" problem.
Question Author
Thanks TTT.

Thanks to Chris too. Yep, I've set up a "pack".
Ok. No matter. As I said above, I can always change it for him.
He seems quite happy to go with the fiver a month for the sake of peace of mind. It's not a great deal of money for emergencies, and the small amount of use he'll give it.

I'm clear now. Thanks again to all.
I don't think "raw" PAYG is offered by any provider any more. But if you want incoming calls only, just buy a SIM card but don't register it with the provider. I did this for over a year before succumbing buying a "package", but I never use up my monthly quota so it is money down the drain.
Builder, I only know what I've got. I hardly use my phone (and I get a nag from EE once a year or so, threatening to terminate me if I don't send a text or something ASAP.) The phone cost me a tenner and I pay nothing other than what I add via top-ups from my local convenience store.
I was told by Vodafone, when I accused them of stealing my credit, that the "usage" condition is a government ruling; unused SIMs can have their number re-allocated otherwise there is a danger of running out of numbers.
//I don't think "raw" PAYG is offered by any provider any more,//

I'm with Giff gaff and you can buy 'raw data '

That should be 'raw credit '

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