cell phone plans, cellular service

How to choose a cell phone plan

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Thanks to competition in the wireless industry, cell phones (cellular phones) are more affordable than ever. To get the best deal, you must carefully select the best cell phone service provider, cellular phone plan and cell phone for your region and matches your lifestyle.

The choice of cell phone depends on your choice of carrier. Most carriers in the United States have their own mutually incompatible digital networks. In laymans terms....one service provider may not be compatible with other service provider.

There is no one single wireless carrier that is best for everybody

If you want to find out which cell phone service is available in your area right away, start by selecting your state

Having a cell phone is not only fun and useful but could be a lifesaver in an emergency.

When selecting your cell phone service plan, start by asking yourself "How and Where?" Specifically, consider the followings:

As the saying goes in real estate, what matters is 'location, location, location.'

Where you live ultimately determines your choice of calling service. Cellular phone service offerings vary a lot from region to region. Coverage is the most important, of course, because it would be a shame if you got a plan, then found out you'll have to pay roaming, or get no service where you need to use the phone.

Coverage is the geographical area within which a cell phone can be used to make and receive calls. Check that the celluar service provider that you are going to choose covers the areas that you frequently travel to.

Usage Area

Most carriers now segment their plans into local, regional and national calling areas.

Basically, the larger local coverage area you want, the higher rate you will pay per minute.

It is up to you to decide which coverage plan will save you the most money. If you get the local coverage plan and travel to another area of the state, expect to pay roaming and long distance fees every time you use your cell phone.

Service plans that are limited to your home usage area are the least expensive, as long as you stay in that area. Make a call from outside that area (assuming your provider has a usage agreement with the other service company) and you're charged expensive roaming fees. If you plan to make a lot of calls from outside your home usage area, select a regional or nationwide calling plan that enables you to make calls without incurring roaming or long distance charges.

Purpose of cell phone use

Is it for emergencies, general purpose, or business? The purpose of having the cellular phone should dictate which service plan you are going to choose.

Do you need a cell phone for personal or business use? A customer that needs a phone for business use usually needs a plan with a lot of minutes and flexibility and a person who plans to use for personal use needs something inexpensive.

Would you use your phone for just the strictest of emergencies or do you plan to use it all the time? Someone that needs a phone for emergencies, say 10 minutes or less a month is usually a good candidate for pre-paid wireless service like from TracFone . Why pay a flat rate every single month if the phone is going to sit in your glove box?

Do you travel a lot? If so....is it all over the state or all over the nation?

This helps determine if a local plan would make more sense for the customer or if a plan that had much broader roaming range would be better. The reason to ask this question is because if you do not plan to travel or if when you travel you will only use the phone for emergencies, you would be better off with a local plan.

Frequency of use

Most cell phone carriers offer packages that allow for different rates based on usage. If you plan to use the phone only occasionally, select economy plan. If you make frequent calls, it may be more economical to sign up for a plan that provides a certain amount of free minutes of usage. Heavy users should sign up for a service plan which provides a higher monthly fee, several free hours and the lowest rate of air time

Analog or Digital

In our cellular world, there are two primary technologies available to wireless users: analog and digital, and your preference for one or the other depends on where you'll want to do the majority of your calling.

Some providers offer both analog and digital service to provide a wider coverage area. You can use both if you buy a dual mode phone. These phones can switch from digital to analog on the fly if the digital signal is dropped. This means that you don't have to worry about losing important calls if you're traveling through an area with gaps in digital coverage, and you can still use the Web

Additional Guidelines

Be sure to read the fine print in any advertisements.

When choosing a service plan, you have to read the details carefully. Most companies offer very attractive rates on weekend minutes and some throw in night time as well. Make sure it's clear whether you have nights and weekends or just weekends. Also be very careful that you understand what they define as night hours. Just because it's dark outside doesn't mean that you're paying nighttime rates. For some service providers...night time starts at 8:01 PM for others, it's 9 PM

Explain the basics of the service plan to your kids so that they know when not to use the phone, except for urgent calls that can't wait or can't be made from a land line.

Another option is to get a phone with prepaid minutes (TracFone ). These plans put you on a phone budget. When they use up their minutes, they're done. The phone can still be used to call 911 in an emergency, but it can't be used to call or receive calls from home.

There are all sorts of phones on the market ranging from give away free phones to those that cost hundreds of dollars. You shouldn't spend a lot of money on the phone itself. They're all pretty much the same. The more expensive ones tend to be smaller, but that can be a disadvantage because they are easier to lose but is very handy to carry around.

Most phones support Web browsing and email and some now support instant messaging. Be sure you and your understand the charges associated with those services. Users who are used to free IM' sessions and Web browsing at home need to understand that there is almost always a cost associated with sending or receiving messages using a mobile phone.

Some mobile phone companies offer insurance against losing or damaging a phone. You might think phones are cheap, but they're not. Those free or nearly free deals are subsidized by the service provider and aren't available for replacement phones. Protection plans typically cost about $4 or $5 a month and there may be a co-payment for a replacement phone. But, if the phone is lost, you won't have to pay the full price for a replacement phone.

Whether you want to communicate more efficiently and affectively with you family and friends or the cellular phone is a valuable tool for your business, makes little difference to your choice of phones. Far too often, especially with the younger generation using cellular phones, the choice is make by the color or sound options. You should determine the purpose of owning a cellular and the location of this use first. This could be a factor since some cellular service is better than others in different locations.

Another aspect of cellular service is for security, protection or trouble situations. Since cellular phones will work in nearly any area you can be reached and notified of any immediate problem and you can also call for assistance if needed for any medical or mechanical problem. Although cellular phones are more of a novelty for the younger generation you should always be conscious of the value cellular service can be when needed.

Millions of people in around the world use cellular phones. They are one of the greatest gadgets ever built man, you can talk to anyone on the planet from just about anywhere!

September 19, 12:07 am

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Phone Savings Tips

If you are an infrequent user of cell phones select a low usage plan.

Only get the features you need with your wireless phone plan. Call your wireless provider to cancel extra features if you are not using them.

Select a wireless phone that comes with free accessories. Many cell phones offered come with free accessories such as a free in car charger or hands free earbud.

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Don't throw out your old cell phone. Recycle or donate used cellular equipment instead to help the environment and your favorite cause

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