Buying A Cell Phone With Or Without A Contract: Advantages And Disadvantages In Comparison

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Buying A Cell Phone With Or Without A Contract: Advantages And Disadvantages In Comparison
Buying A Cell Phone With Or Without A Contract: Advantages And Disadvantages In Comparison

Video: Buying A Cell Phone With Or Without A Contract: Advantages And Disadvantages In Comparison

Video: Buying A Cell Phone With Or Without A Contract: Advantages And Disadvantages In Comparison


  • Mobile phone with contract: Allnet Flat
  • Mobile phone with contract: package contracts
  • Mobile phone without a contract: prepaid tariff
  • Mobile phone contract: the most important purchase criteria

    • Is there a number portability?
    • How much data volume does the contract contain?
    • When and how can the mobile phone contract be canceled?
  • Stiftung Warentest: Comparison of mobile phone tariffs
  • Case study: The iPhone 11 Pro with and without a contract

Comparison of mobile phone contracts: There are these types

We differentiate between three different types of mobile phone contracts, as we currently find them at most providers. These include:

  • Allnet flat
  • Package contract
  • Prepaid tariff

GIGA may receive a commission from the dealer for links in our comparison calculator.

Mobile phone with contract: Allnet Flat

The term Allnet-Flat is made up of the words Allnet and Flatrate. In this case, Allnet means that the contract can be used to call and text in all networks. The term flat rate stands for unlimited usability. The Allnet-Flat is therefore a cell phone contract with which you can communicate in all fixed and mobile networks without limits and without fees. A monthly fixed amount is paid for this.

The Allnet Flat also offers a high data volume, usually up to 20 gigabytes. For a month this is more than enough data volume to surf the Internet extensively or to stream films, series and games. The negative aspects of this type of contract include the long contractual relationships (usually 24 months) and the high monthly costs as soon as the contract is concluded in combination with a smartphone.


  • Unlimited calls and writing to all networks
  • High data volume


  • Long contract terms
  • High monthly costs for contracts with smartphones

For whom it is suitable:

  • If you use your smartphone very intensively
  • If you watch a lot of good quality videos on the go
  • If you don't want any restrictions

Mobile phone with contract: package contract


In contrast to the Allnet Flat, this type of contract puts together a more or less individual package in which the amount of free minutes, the number of SMS messages and the data volume are defined. Usually there are various packages for casual to frequent users to choose from. As soon as the specified number of free minutes and free SMS has been exceeded, additional costs per minute / per SMS are due. Depending on the contract, it can be very expensive here - if you're not careful, you'll end up with a horrendous bill.

If the monthly data volume is used up, it is throttled. That means that you can still surf. However, the download speed is so poor when throttled that most online services no longer work reliably. To top up the data volume, you have to pay beyond the contractual fee. However, the monthly fees for a package contract are also lower than for an Allnet flat.


  • Relatively cheap monthly fees
  • Flexible packages possible


  • If the specified conditions (minutes / SMS) are exceeded, it can be very expensive
  • Throttled data volume is so bad that the Internet is practically unusable

For whom it is suitable:

  • If you are not an intensive user
  • If you know exactly what you consume in a month and almost never exceed it
  • If you want to save money

Mobile phone without a contract: prepaid tariff

Prepaid tariffs with Aldi Talk

The prepaid tariff is not a cell phone contract in the strict sense, as there are no regular costs. Instead, credit can be loaded onto the prepaid card, which is then used to pay the costs for telephony and SMS. You are not bound by a contract, a termination is not necessary.

As long as there is credit on the cell phone, you can use it until it is used up - even if it takes months or even years. Similar to the package contract, additional options or even flat rates can be booked, which in turn are paid with the credit. As a rule, the credit can not be overdrawn. If it is used up, however, no calls can be made, SMS can be sent and the Internet can be used. This can be extremely annoying, especially with important phone calls.


  • No contract
  • No coating possible, no bad surprises on the invoice
  • Can be used flexibly thanks to various bookable packages and flat rates


  • If the credit has been used up, it must be topped up manually
  • As a rule, smartphones have to be purchased separately

For whom it is suitable:

  • If you want to stay flexible and don't want to be bound by a contract
  • If you want to keep track of your expenses and cannot afford horrendous overdue bills
  • If you use your cell phone more or less depending on the month

If it is a brand new flagship from Apple, Samsung or Huawei, such a smartphone can cost around 1,000 euros. If you buy it with a contract, you don't have to pay the sum all at once, but you are bound for at least two years and have to pay a high basic fee. So both have advantages and disadvantages, or how do you see that? Do you prefer to buy your cell phone with or without a contract?

Mobile phone contract: the most important purchase criteria

In addition to the different types of contracts, there are other things you should consider before signing a new mobile phone contract. How hard each item weighs when making a purchase decision is up to you - of course, taking your own needs into account. The following questions should be asked before signing a contract:

Is there a number portability?

Those who have just remembered their miserably long mobile number will be reluctant to get used to it again. It is also very time-consuming to communicate the new number to all of your contacts. If you only have a mobile number and not a landline connection, you must also update it with authorities and doctors.

This can be avoided by taking the number with you. This is offered by most contract partners, but it is often not included in the price. A number transfer can cost up to 25 euros. Therefore, every time you sign a contract, you should check and compare whether it is possible to take your old mobile number with you and how much it costs.

How can I take my number with me?

Does the contract have a telephone flat rate in all networks and abroad?

What is common with the Allnet Flat requires a bit more research work with a package contract and prepaid tariff. Cheap offers allow calls to the same network (e.g. from AldiTalk to AldiTalk), but exclude other networks, calls to the German landline network or abroad. If your family and friends are all on the same network and you should rarely or never make calls to landlines / abroad, such packages can save a lot of money.

Does the contract have an SMS flat rate?

Communication via SMS has dropped significantly thanks to Messenger. If you continue to write lively messages via the "Short Message Service", you should pay attention to an SMS flat in your contract.

How much data volume does the contract contain?

Nowadays, almost nothing works on the smartphone without the Internet. Accordingly, the focus is mainly on the data volume contained in the mobile phone contracts. If you regularly need the Internet, you will not be satisfied with a contract without a lot of data. Flat rates tend to be preferred, which do not limit the data volume - currently, however, such tariffs are still quite expensive. How much data volume is actually required depends on individual use. For a better feeling and understanding, here are some application examples:

With 200 MB, around 20,000 WhatsApp messages and 4,000 emails can be received and viewed without attachments. Messenger messages and mails are not as expensive as streaming videos or entire films. Watching YouTube videos consumes around 250 MB per hour. A complete film eats up to 700 MB of the data volume. In HD quality, it's a whopping 4 GB.

If the smartphone is mainly used in the WLAN at home or at work, a data volume of 500 MB to a maximum of 1 GB is sufficient. For those who travel the social media particularly often, a data volume of at least 3 GB is suitable. If you use your smartphone as a multi-purpose weapon, you should never use less than 5 GB. All-day streamers require at least 25 GB of data.

How much data is added each month?

How much data volume does your tariff provide and how much of it do you really use in the end?

What is the speed of the internet?

The internet speed available is at least as important. There are also significant differences here. If you need fast internet on the go, you should not ignore this aspect. Tariffs with a maximum speed of 21.6 Mbit / s have so far been completely sufficient to surf quickly - in the future, however, the speed required should increase further.

The download speed increases depending on the label as follows:

designation connection symbol Maximum download speed
2G GPRS G 54 kbit / s
2G EDGE E 220 kbit / s
3G UMTS 3G 384 kbps
3G HSPA H / 3.5G / 3G 21.6 Mbit / s
3G HSPA + H + / 3G 42.2 Mbit / s
4G LTE LTE / 4G 300 Mbit / s
4G LTE + LTE-A / LTE + / 4G + about 4 Gbps
5G - 5G about 10 Gbps

How good is the provider's network coverage?

A contract that includes an LTE connection is of course not worthwhile if network coverage does not allow it. In order to find out about the network coverage, it is worthwhile to examine the network coverage map on the website of the provider. Click here for the cards from Telekom, Vodafone and O2. You can filter specifically for 3G, 4G and 5G, some providers even show how good the phone connection is likely to be.

When and how can the mobile phone contract be canceled?

Contract terms are an equally important aspect. Contracts with longer minimum contract terms generally impress with lower prices. But not everyone likes to be bound to a contract that cannot be terminated monthly and has a term of at least 24 months. After such a long time, many forget to submit their notice in time, so the contract is automatically renewed. After the renewal, most contracts are no longer profitable. It is therefore advisable to terminate the contract early and switch to a cheaper tariff.

Canceling a mobile phone contract: You have to pay attention to this

What happens if the smartphone is damaged?

When purchasing a smartphone without a contract, there is a 12- to 24-month warranty claim, depending on the manufacturer. If self-inflicted damage or damage occurs after the warranty period has expired, you have to bear the costs yourself - or buy a new device.


With contract devices, a defective device does not necessarily have to be sent to the manufacturer for repair. The respective contract provider also offers repair services (see Vodafone). Here, the repair is also free of charge if the defect falls under the statutory warranty. In the case of self-inflicted defects, a repair fee must be paid. If you decide that a repair would not be worthwhile because the device is too old = or the repair is too expensive, you can also use the contract SIM with another smartphone.

More articles on the subject:

  • Testing smartphones: The winners of Stiftung Warentest
  • Sign a cell phone contract without regrets: we explain what you have to pay attention to

Stiftung Warentest: Comparison of mobile phone tariffs

In March 2020, the Stiftung Warentest again examined mobile phone contracts. 46 tariffs were tested, which cost a maximum of 13 euros and also offer a telephone flat rate. Of the 46 tariffs, 22 are prepaid tariffs without a contract and the 24 others are tariffs with a minimum term of 24 months. Your research comes to the conclusion that there are already good LTE contracts at a monthly price of 7 euros. While you usually benefit from a higher download speed with contract tariffs, you are not contractually bound to prepaid tariffs. Everyone has to decide for themselves what fits better, in this case the Stiftung Warentest does not make a clear recommendation.

Stiftung Warentest: Is a smartphone cheaper without a contract?

In another article, Stiftung Warentest investigated the question of what is cheaper: cell phones with a contract or the conclusion of a contract tariff without a smartphone. 400 mobile phone tariffs were evaluated and the tariff for six smartphones was calculated. The result clears up old thinking patterns. The belief that self-purchased phones are cheaper with a separate contract has been refuted.

The smartphones analyzed by Stiftung Warentest have proven to be cheaper with tariffs. The installment purchase from the tariff provider pays off as long as one thing is always taken into account: The timely exit from the contract as soon as the minimum contract term has expired and thus also the payment by installments for the smartphone comes to an end. This also applies to contracts that were concluded independently of the purchase of a smartphone - after 24 months at the latest, it is worth looking for a new contract.


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Case study: The iPhone 11 Pro with and without a contract

If an iPhone was always too expensive to buy directly, you can fulfill your smartphone dream with the help of a contract. The iPhone 11 Pro is already falling in price and can be purchased for just under 1,000 euros, but for many it is still far too expensive. If you still want to enjoy, there are attractive contract offers: For 49 euros including Allnet Flat with 20 GB LTE.

The price of the tariff is made up as follows:

  • Network: Telefónica
  • Contract period: 24 months
  • Monthly price: 54.99 euros
  • Connection price: 39.99 euros
  • One-time additional payment: 49.00 euros

The contract is worth 1,408.75 euros over two years.

The purchase of the smartphone with monthly prepaid costs in the comparable network with 20 GB LTE from Mobilcom Debitel would cost the following with the same contract term:

Apple iPhone 11 Pro 64 GB silver

Now from € 944.67 at Mediamarkt Price comparison price can be higher now. Price from 26.07.2020 11:20 p.m.

  • iPhone 11 Pro: 1,099.00 euros
  • Contract period: 24 months
  • Connection price: 39.99 euros
  • Prepaid costs: 16.99 euros

The purchase of the iPhone 11 with external prepaid costs costs 1,546.75 euros. Accordingly, the iPhone 11 Pro would definitely be worth buying with a contract - you would save 138 euros.