Best Mobile Phone Plans

With so many carriers competing for your attention, choosing a cell phone company can be a bit confusing. In this article, we help you think about the tough questions you should consider in choosing a carrier.

Do you need a new phone, or do you have one already?

Of course the first thing anyone needs to be able to set up a phone plan is…well, a phone. If you don’t already have your own, then you’ll need to buy one. While most phone companies allow you to bring your own phone to their service, some do not. So this is perhaps the first question you should ask when choosing a carrier. Republic Wireless, for example, may force you to buy a phone from them even if you have one. So if you already have a phone you’ll be able to rule some carriers out right away.

Are you on contract lock down?

We’re all very familiar with the next question you should be asking yourself. Are you even free to switch plans right now if you wanted to. Perhaps free isn’t the word. Everyone of course is free to switch plans whenever they want. It’s a free country after all. But some companies will make you pay through the nose if you don’t switch the plans out of contract. So you’ll want to make sure you’re no longer in ‘contract lock down’ before switching plans in many cases. Call your current provider, if you have one, and ask them if your contract is up. If you are not in a contract, then you are free to do as you please without paying through the nose. And that can help anyone sleep better at night.

Do you own your phone outright?

In some cases nowadays, phones have become so expensive that carriers have been forced to allow customers to finance their phones and pay for them over the duration of a contract. In these cases, it is important to know whether or not you’ve paid for your phone in full before switching to a new carrier. Otherwise, you may get hit with a lofty bill. Ask your current carrier, if you have one, whether you still owe any money on your phone. If not, then you should be in the clear so at least with respect to this question.

Are you going it alone?

Nowadays, there are some great incentives provided by carriers to get families to sign up in bulk. This can be a win for you as a consumer. Do you have a family or multiple people (a girlfriend, spouse, or even brother) who you can share a family plan with? If so, you may want to consider getting on a family plan, which in some cases can help you really save a lot of money, get more minutes, and better data rates.

Are you on contract lock down?

We’re all very familiar with the next question you should be asking yourself. Are you even free to switch plans right now if you wanted to. Perhaps free isn’t the word. Everyone of course is free to switch plans whenever they want. It’s a free country after all. But some companies will make you pay through the nose if you don’t switch the plans out of contract. So you’ll want to make sure you’re no longer in ‘contract lock down’ before switching plans in many cases. Call your current provider, if you have one, and ask them if your contract is up. If you are not in a contract, then you are free to do as you please without paying through the nose. And that can help anyone sleep better at night.

National carriers such as Sprint, Verizon, and T-mobile often have great-shared plans. Prepaid carriers may also provide incentives, although sometimes the plans are more complex and difficult to understand. Speak with a customer services associate at the carriers you select about various options. They can often be your best friends. And if you’re on a budget, be sure to shop around for the best deal that suits your family’s needs.

What does your budget look like?

If price is important to you, make sure you shop around and are aware of the current deals and offers provided by various carriers. During one month Verizon may have the best deal; and a few months later T-mobile may have you on the hook. Save money by planning things out. Also, seasonal sales are not uncommon in the cell phone carrier market. National holidays, back to school deals, and other promotions may be great times for you to pinch pennies. If you’re really on a budget, consider waiting until these deal/savings times to switch plans.

How much data do you need?

Nowadays, with Netflix, and video streaming being quite common, this question is very important. If you like to watch movies on your phone or are just a constant Internet noodler, you’ll want to make sure you land a plan that won’t become your financial ruin. Make sure you speak with providers about the data plans they offer, and select a plan that matches your needs and criteria. For some people ‘rollover minutes’ can be a lifesaver. Be sure to ask if there are any penalties for switching plans mid-contract. If you need to downgrade, you want to be sure that you’re not going to be hit with a big slap in the wallet.

Can you hear me now?

That’s right, I’m referring to the now famous or infamous commercial where a guy walks around testing cell phone coverage. Although I am of course being a bit humorous, this is actually a very serious question. Make sure you know the coverage you will be getting. If you can’t make calls from your own home basement, then you may find yourself quite annoyed for many months wishing you had gone with that other provider. If you live in a major city, then chances are the major carriers will have you covered, but if you live in the Styx, then you need to be careful about which provider you select, so you don’t find yourself repeating ‘can you hear me now’ time and time again.