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How to Find the Best Cell Phone Plan for You

Finding the perfect cell phone plan isn’t as easy as one might think. To find a plan that fits nicely with both your budget and personal preferences you’ll want to consider plans and pricing, coverage, devices and features and fees. By carefully exploring each of these factors you’ll be able to find a phone that will do what you want at a price that works well for your budget.

Plans and Pricing

Your first step in deciding on what plan you’d like will most likely be dictated by your budget. Providers will offer new phones at tempting prices but, of course, there’s a catch – the inexpensive price tag on the phone comes with the condition of a two year contract. The contract is a win for cell phone providers by securing the individual’s business for two years and inflicting high penalty fees for customers who decide to opt out of their contract. Prepaid plans, on the other hand, will allow you to pay on a monthly basis with no contract and no termination fees. You won’t be able to earn the dramatic savings you would have with a subsidized phone that comes with a contract (which can save you up to hundreds of dollars); but, by comparing the monthly prepaid fee with the monthly fee of a two year contract you may find that you’ll save money with a prepaid plan, in spite of paying full price for the phone, and you’ll also avoid the possibility of a termination fee on top of that. Once you find a phone that will work for your purposes and a provider with a coverage and service that is ideal for your location, compare the cost of both plans, factoring in the price of the subsidized and unsubsidized phone.

Coverage

When investigating different cell phone providers, check to see how well it covers the areas you frequent most. Many providers offer excellent coverage in and around major cities as well as along coast lines, but will be spotty or worse in rural areas. If you’re a homebody and don’t venture far from your local surroundings, this may not be a problem for you. However, if you travel often, go camping as frequently as possible, or live in a rural setting outside the city, you’ll want to make sure you find a plan that can support coverage in these less-populated locations.

4G LTE is the current king of mobile broadband. If you don’t have or intend on having a smartphone, this is something you don’t have to consider. But, if you’re a heavy smartphone user and want your multimedia streaming as fast as possible, make sure the carrier you’re considering has 4G LTE towers in your area.

To compare coverage of the top 4 phone carriers click here.

Devices and Printers

If you’re only looking for a basic phone that provides talk and text, you can find affordable options with most carriers. But, if you’re looking to purchase a smartphone, you’d be wise to explore and compare plans between providers and the devices they carry (i.e. Android or IOS).

Fees

Before you decide on a plan, know what to expect in terms of fees. Hidden fees are universally hated by all and it’s not uncommon for cell phone bills to reveal extras you didn’t know about or budget for. Roaming fees are practically nonexistent these days when traveling domestically, but they can rack up quickly when not carefully watched out for while traveling abroad. Also, activation and early termination expenses will increase the cost of starting a new plan or switching to a different provider. Additionally, if you have a data plan, it’s possible to exceed your allotted monthly data. If you consume large amounts of data, you may wish to be on the safe side and choose a plan that supports unlimited data usage.