Should I rent or buy a phone?
If you are like most people, your current US phone will not work in overseas, including the UK. Therefore, if you want cellular service, you have the option of renting or buying a phone. Frequent travelers often prefer purchasing a cell phone. In fact, by the time you rent a phone two times, you could have purchased a basic, no nonsense phone/UK SIM package. All our phones are unlocked and either triband or quadband which allows you to use them in other countries as well simply by swapping out the UK SIM for another country’s SIM. If you are not sure what you want to do, Cellular Abroad recommends renting the phone and don’t return it. You will forfeit your deposit but ultimately, this “rent to own” option will only cost you about $20 more than if you had purchased from the get go.
Over half of our customers, particularly the frequent overseas travelers, prefer purchasing a phone for a variety of reasons. Besides the fact that ultimately, they will save money, it prevents them from having to go through the process of renting the phone and sending it back to us each time they go abroad.
Some customers are concerned that the technology will quickly change and that if they purchase a new phone, it will soon become a throw away. The GSM technology, however, will not go away any time soon. Currently, there are over 2.5 billion, yes billion, GSM users in the world and to get rid of that technology soon…well, let’s just say that someone would probably have something to say about it. In sum, it is safe to say that any GSM phone purchased today and taken care of would be usable for at the very least, the next several years if not longer. In fact, we still have plenty of customers who purchased a popular phone model that we haven’t sold for 4 years (the Ericsson R520) that still have their phones.
Our standard recommendation is that if you travel more than once a year overseas, it makes sense to purchase a phone. If you travel less than once a year, it makes sense to rent a cell phone and if you travel about once a year, it is a toss up.