Cell phones have become an indispensable part of our lives. The next generation won’t even remember what it was like before cell phones. More than simply making calls, cell phones have become multimedia devices of sorts. We can now text message, take pictures, play games, and surf the web on cell phones. But at the end of the day, one of the most important decisions to make is the type of service plan you’ll need. Since the passing of the Wireless Telephone Number Portability Act, keeping your cell number makes it even easier to switch providers.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you choose a cell phone plan and provider:
1. Is there a particular cell phone I absolutely must have?
Certain new phones are only available through exclusive deals with one provider. For example, the iPhone is only available through AT&T and Verizon. The Blackberry Storm at its launch is only available with Verizon. Older models tend to be available with any provider. Do your research to see if the apple of your eye is available with the service provider you’re thinking of signing with.
2. What are my particular calling needs?
Every provider has different plans. Some, such as T-Mobile, offer specials for your select group of favorites. Others such as AT&T have plans for those who go to Canada on a frequent basis. Pay-as-you-go plans are also great options for those with less than perfect credit or don’t want to commit to a long-term contract. If you’ve already been using a cell phone with a provider, look at your bill to figure out how many minutes you use on a monthly basis.
Generally speaking, going over your allotted minutes will be quite expensive. Picking the right plan to fit your calling needs becomes even more important.
3. Do I want to group cell phones under a family plan?
Family plans can be a great way to minimize your monthly costs. The important caveat to this is making sure no one in the family will vastly exceed the plan’s allotted minutes. Family plans are not suitable as the primary business line for high demand use.
4. Is the cell phone provider’s reception strong in my areas of frequent use?
Since different providers use different technologies and have different cell towers, not all areas will experience the same reception. Even twenty years after its introduction to the market, spotty cell phone reception is still the number one complaint. If you are using your cell at home or at the office regularly, check to make sure you’ll have adequate reception before signing on the dotted line. One way to do this is to simply ask a friend with the service provider in question to use their phone in your desired area. Another way is to check with the service provider directly. For example, T-Mobile has a coverage map.
Whatever your needs are, there is a plan out there for you. With careful research and a few questions, you can find the perfect cell phone plan.