Choosing a cell phone plan can be a daunting task. There are so many companies, so many phones, so many plans, and so many decisions to make, so that you don’t end up in a contract with a mortgage payment for your monthly bill. There are things to look for in a plan, like price, data, usage, individual plan, family plan, international needs, and phones. Then, there are all the different companies to compare. Every day it seems like a new company is emerging with a newer, better plan and it keeps the consumer constantly guessing on whether they made the right decision. Because some plans lock you into a contract, whereas other plans are on a monthly basis, and even others are prepaid. But, with good research, it is possible to find the best plan for what you need it to do.
Things to Look For in a Plan
There are many things to look for in a cell phone plan. These include:
- Price – This is probably the most important aspect because everyone wants to get the most for their money. Prices can range from $25 a month to hundreds of dollars a month. It can depend on how many people are going to be on the plan, how much data is going to be used, and what kind of phone you are going to use. Prices can be all over the place, so sometimes you have to base your decision on more than just price. If you have a specific need, you may need to pay a little more for it.
- International Use – If you are going to need international service, you need to make sure that your plan and your phone will work where you are going. Some companies offer international coverage, especially in Mexico.
- Unlimited – This feature allows the user to make as many calls and texts and use as much data as they want. However, many phones are using Wi-Fi in conjunctions with cellular data. So, it is important to figure out whether you need unlimited data based on where you will be using your phone. If you are usually at work or home, you can probably use Wi-Fi most of the time. However, if you are a heavy user of data during most of the day, you are probably going to want to go with the unlimited data.
- Data speed – Some networks offer faster service than others. A few providers have created different options to the speed of the network, offering them at different price points.
- Network reliability – The main cell phone companies probably offer the most reliability. This is because when you are using a secondary user, you are not getting the same level of service as the main cell phone company. However, this is something you need to decide the importance of. Do you really need to spend the extra money every month to have a slightly better service?
Most Popular Cell Phone Providers
There are many different companies and many different plans. Here are a few of the major cell phone companies and their advantages:
- Verizon is the leader in the cell phone industry. Not only are they the most reliable, but they offer optimal speed and reliability. They are, however, a bit more expensive than their competitors. But, sometimes you have to pay more if it is something they have that no one else does.
- T-Mobile is a heavy hitter in the cell phone industry. Their best feature is their unlimited plan. For a reasonable fee, the user can get unlimited data and 10GB of data to use as a mobile hotspot. They also offer a very reasonable family plan that can give everyone unlimited talk, text, and data.
- Sprint offers a competitive price for an unlimited individual plan. So, if you only have one user, the price is reasonably priced and comes with unlimited Hulu, HD streaming video, and can be used internationally.
- Metro PCS has a very competitive price, but they piggyback off T-Mobile. This means that the service may be second tier and is a prepaid carrier.
- Cricket Wireless is a no contract cell phone company. They offer some good plans, but they are a budget plan, so their coverage isn’t as good as Verizon and AT&T. The best aspect of this carrier is that there is no contract you are being tied to.
- Republic Wireless is a cell phone company that piggybacks off T-Mobile and Sprint. The company uses a combination of Wi-Fi use and cellular data use. This allows the user to minimize the need for cellular data and keep their bill very reasonable.
- AT&T is a leader in the cell phone industry. They boast a great coverage area, but they can be pricey. However, if reliability is a major issue for you, this may be the way to go.
It is hard to navigate the different cell phone companies and what they offer, for what price. But, if you have a good idea of your needs, you can choose the right plan for you.