The question of whether or not to equip pupils with mobile phones for school has been hotly debated for many years by teachers, psychologists and parents themselves. There is no right answer in this case, and the acquisition of a mobile buddy depends purely on parental discretion. What should we look for when choosing the best mobile operator offer?
If you decide to buy a phone for your child, your first considerations will most likely be directed towards the parameters of the mobile device. S test results from dTest can help you choose one. But it doesn’t stop there. You also need to choose an operator and one of its offered tariffs. “If you want to assess the available offers conscientiously, take enough time to do so – there are several dozen operators on the telecommunications market and each of them has several different products in its portfolio,” says Eduarda Hekšová, director of the consumer organisation dTest.
The parameters for choosing a phone carrier for a child are not much different from the “adult version”. You need to think about how strong a bond you want to form with your operator – both in terms of anonymity (if you choose a prepaid card) and in terms of time commitment, where you decide between a fixed-term and indefinite contract. Together with these factors, the so-called tariffication can contribute to the decision on choosing a suitable provider. This is the way the operator charges for the call after the first minute dialed – whether by seconds (60+1), half minutes (60+30) or minutes (60+60).With respect to the choice of tariff or its additional services, the form of products already varies depending on the age of the user. In addition to the criteria you need to evaluate when selecting a tariff for yourself, i.e. the type of service you use most often, free calls to your own network, and the amount of mobile data, look at the range of features that allow you to set up and control the plan from your side.
What all can be customised? First of all, blocking calls to expensive (audio-text) numbers, to foreign numbers (international calls) or blocking multimedia messages (MMS) and expensive, so-called premium SMS. For child tariffs, it should be possible to set a limit on calls and limit (or completely switch off) mobile data. “To keep track of the services used by the child, we recommend setting up a self-service system that displays not only the current spending but also the access password to change any settings. This should remain logically forbidden to the child user,” explains Eduarda Hekšová.
Once you’ve figured out what’s important when choosing an operator and a particular plan, it’s a good time to add the appropriate type of service to your favored parameters. Leaving aside the various corporate or other narrowly profiled tariffs, there are three basic options:
- Pre-paid card – is a popular option, especially with younger children who are just learning how to use a phone. It has its disadvantages in the form of topping up the credit and inability to make calls when the credit is exhausted, on the other hand, it avoids high phone bills and complicated blocking of the number with the operator in case of loss or theft of the mobile phone.
- Contractual tariff with flat rate – it is applied to older children with greater need for calls and written communication. However, we recommend paying attention to setting a monthly limit for calls and data usage.
- Family tariff – probably the most comfortable option, where you pay a flat amount and have several other numbers with different services. “Just beware that with some operators the data package is shared, i.e. common for the whole family,” concludes Eduarda Hekšová.