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Smartphone: Bundle deals are convenient but expensive

Photo: Rolf Poss / IMAGO

A two-year mobile phone contract including a new smartphone seems like a tempting offer to many mobile phone customers. According to a Verivox analysis, however, an average of 22 percent of the costs associated with such combined offers can be saved if the desired mobile phone is purchased separately instead. Those who use a discount tariff in the same network, where the mobile phone is not subsidized, can sometimes even save more than 50 percent, the consumer portal explained on Monday.

Verivox calculated the costs for infrequent, average, frequent and intensive users. As a result, the highest percentage savings are achieved over a two-year term for tariffs with a data budget of five to twelve gigabytes (GB) per month.

Costs usually continue to run

If you still opt for a so-called bundle of smartphone and tariff, you should keep a close eye on the costs after 24 months, advises Verivox. In three out of four cases, bundled devices would still incur costs after this period. If a contract with a smartphone continues unchanged after two years, the monthly basic fee for Telekom, Vodafone and 1&1 will not be reduced, even though the device has already been paid off. O2 is the only one of the four network operators to automatically deduct the smartphone share from the monthly costs after 24 months.

Customers should therefore cancel combined contracts before the end of the minimum term, otherwise they will pay a lot of money without receiving anything in return, writes Verivox. At the end of the contract period, it is possible to terminate the contract on a monthly basis.

Providers score points in the high-end segment

If you decide against a discount tariff, for example because you want a higher data transfer rate or a larger selection of options, you will find the best choice among the major network operators, according to the consumer portal. In this case, a bundle contract could actually be the cheaper choice. Such offers are most interesting for frequent users who are looking for smartphones in the high-end range and demand large amounts of data. Above 20 gigabytes per month, comparable, high-performance tariffs are few and far between at discounters, according to Verivox.

Verivox calculated all device and tariff costs as well as discounts and one-off fees for the analysis. Time-limited actions were not taken into account. The model cases were based on four exemplary selected end devices, from a Xiaomi for 299.90 euros to a Samsung Galaxy Fold for 1899 euros.