Friday, June 2, 2023

Prepaid vs Postpaid: 5 Reasons why Prepaid Plans are Better than Postpaid

Tying to decide between a Postpaid and Prepaid plan?


The concept of a prepaid plan is simple, basically its a pay-per-use service where you need to pay for the mobile service before you can use it. On the other hand, using a Postpaid plan means you are committed to a mobile service plan and billed for your usage every month.

Most Malaysians choose a prepaid plan. As of September 2020, these are the breakdown of prepaid users from 3 major Telecom operators in Malaysia:

  • Digi: 7.66 million million prepaid users out of 10.68 million subscriptions
  • Maxis: 7.15 million prepaid users out of 11.12 million subscriptions
  • Celcom: 5.44 million prepaid users out of 8.03 million subscriptions

There are many pro and cons of choosing a Postpaid or a Prepaid plan – it all depends on personal preference including budget and needs. Here’s 5 reasons why Prepaid plans are better than Postpaid.

1. Prepaid is cheaper than Postpaid

It is generally known that prepaid is cheaper than postpaid.

Statistically in Malaysia, an average consumer spends around RM30-RM40 a month on a prepaid plan versus RM65-RM90 a month for a postpaid plan.

You can get an unlimited prepaid Internet plan from as low as RM30 a month or RM35/month if you want unlimited calls as well. In comparison, it would cost RM50 and above for the same unlimited offerings on a postpaid plan.

Postpaid plans are also available from as low as RM8 and RM19 a month, but it comes with limited Internet/voice quota in comparison with prepaid for the same price. You can spend RM5 every 50 days and still keep your prepaid number, but you can’t do that on postpaid.

2. More Control on your Calls, SMS and Internet

Depending on your usage requirements – You can easily switch between a new plan every day, week and month on a prepaid plan.

Pick a plan that auto renews every month or pick a daily plan, the choice is up to the users. You can even add on more Internet, calls and SMS, as when you need it.

The mobile operators are also constantly offering new deals on a daily basis which means you have more options to choose from compared to postpaid plans.

In comparison to a postpaid plan, there is a minimum monthly fee commitment and topping up more data/calls/SMS can be costly. If you don’t use up your quota for Internet, voice and SMS every month – you are being very kind and charitable to your mobile operator – by paying for something that you don’t use. You can always downgrade but the process may not be convenient (depending on Telcos & contract) and there may not be much option to choose from.

There’s also no bill shock with prepaid although you should continuously monitor your credit/usage for unauthorized charges.

3. No commitment and no contract – Stop using your Prepaid mobile number anytime

A prepaid plan give you the flexibility to stop using the number if you choose to do so. You don’t need to visit a service centre to terminate your prepaid number as it will automatically terminate between 50-90 days once its no longer active (suspended) – just don’t top-up or reload.

In comparison, you cannot easily terminate a postpaid plan over the phone or email. You have to personally visit a service centre (including finding a parking, pay for car park/public transport, waiting in queue) to terminate a postpaid line and if you don’t, the mobile operator will continue to bill you for the service (even if you stopped using the postpaid number). This will eventually lead to legal notice from the mobile operator and you will be blacklisted in Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) and CTOS.

Postpaid service also comes with contract plans where consumers will have to pay a high price and commit 24 months for a plan that becomes outdated quickly (new postpaid plans are being launched every year and cheaper). Meanwhile, you can switch/upgrade to a new prepaid plan easily.

4. Easily switch to a different mobile operator

With Mobile Number Portability (MNP) available in Malaysia for a while now, prepaid and postpaid users can switch between mobile operators and keep their existing mobile number in the process.

With a prepaid number, its super easy to port out since there’s no major reason for your home operator to reject your port out request – prepaid plans don’t have contract. In comparison, it can be difficult to port out a postpaid number due to billing issues (unpaid bills), unfinished contract commitment and if you have supplementary lines – port out request will be rejected.

5. Cheapest way to maintain a Mobile Number

If you just want to keep and maintain a mobile number for a long period of time but don’t plan to actively use it, a prepaid plan is the best choice – this also applies to people who are overseas for a long period of time such as students or for work.

Depending on the prepaid plan and mobile operator, you could buy a long term validity from 1 year up to 28 months (2 year and 4 months for RM30).

In comparison, for postpaid plan, there is no such thing as long term validity and you must pay the minimum monthly fee every month, regardless of usage.

For all the unlimited prepaid Internet plans in Malaysia, visit this page.

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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