Guide To: Getting a new cellphone when you upgrade your MTN contract

Last modified date

MTN is always looking to keep you as their contract subscriber, and whether it is for your personal contract or business contract they may offer you as their subscriber an early upgrade of your contract so that you can get a new cellphone even with your current contract in place. You, as an MTN customer, may also have a need for a new cellphone before your 2 or 3-year contract has seen itself to its end.

A popular cellphone to upgrade to is the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G smartphone..
A popular cellphone to upgrade to is the new Samsung Galaxy A53 5G smartphone.

With the rate of change in cellular technology the features from a high-end smartphone are now in mid-range smartphones, and with an upgrade on your cellphone contract you can pretty much get the features that you want with a new cellphone while staying in a similar payment bracket.

How do MTN cellphone contracts work?

All new MTN SA cellphone contracts have an initial contract period of 24 or 36 months. And it is important to know that when you upgrade you are signing a new contract, meaning you are signing up for another 24 or 36-month period whilst at the tail end of your current period. Say you’re looking to get a new cellphone through an upgrade, and MTN says you qualify for an early upgrade because you are in month 21 of a 24-month contract. You are still liable to pay for those last three months. This is because your cellphone is actually paid off over those 24 months and you have not finished paying it off in month 21 of a 24-month contract.

The initial period is that period of time in your contract that is used to pay off your phone and the last day when you pay off your contract phone is your initial period. So the initial period of a 24-month contract is exactly 24 months. It’s the initial one because cellphone contracts are allowed to auto-renew month-to-month once this initial period is finished and you have not taken action to either renew the contract for another term or you haven’t canceled the contract before the end of the initial period.

Getting a new cellphone when you upgrade your MTN contract

Okay, so by now you’ve decided on a new, shiny Apple iPhone that you saw at the iStore the other day and you start searching on how you can get one. So how can you get one through an upgrade?

Check your upgrade eligibility

MTN says you may be due for an upgrade as early as month 21 if you’re on a 24-month cellphone contract, or month 32 if you’re on a 36-month contract.

To check your eligibility try one of 3 ways:

  • SMS the phrase “Upgrade” to 30630 from the MTN SIM card you wish to upgrade on
  • Use online tools like the MTN upgrade eligibility tool here, or use your MTN app instead. You will need to enter an OTP if you use the online tool, so make sure you have access to the SIM card in order to receive the OTP via SMS
  • Speak to MTN directly via their call center by dialing 135 on your MTN line

Find your upgrade due and contract expiry date

Your initial contract period expiry date and your upgrade due date are not the same thing, let alone the same dates. Find these two dates so that you are fully aware of exactly how long your contract will now run. Your initial period is the full contract period, 24 or 36 months, but your upgrade date comes 3 or 4 months earlier than that.

If you’re going to upgrade your cellphone contract a few months earlier than your current contract expiry date then MTN may offer to have you continue paying the same amount and just extend the number of months you’ll be paying, or pay off the amount due and then start a new contract.

Tick your financial boxes

As with all responsible creditors, MTN will first check that you are financially able to take out this new contract by credit vetting you with their credit systems. The National Credit Act also has a requirement that all credit providers do an affordability assessment before issuing credit to their debtors. A credit vetting process will be carried out as well even when it comes to “renewing” an existing contract.

Getting a new and shiny phone most certainly also means you will need insurance for your device as you may want to replace it should it be a total loss to you. Paying 10% for excess is better than paying off a phone you no longer have. As part of your financial consideration, take into account getting cellphone insurance.

Most contracts carry some sort of administration fee for handling the transaction, so have some cash available for upgrade fees, or any other fees that may apply, as determined by MTN.

Find upgrade specials and deals

Cellular companies regularly have deals and specials running in order to attract new clients and MTN is no exception. Look out for upgrade-only deals, online upgrade deals, and other specials that are tailored to existing MTN customers.

MTN publishes on its website a catalogue of new cellphones, price plans, upgrade promotions, and other specials. These catalogs are also available elsewhere on the internet, such as the website Guzzle.

Moemedi Segoje