7 Things To Know About Cell Phone Plans

by Nancy

Before beginning your research into mobile phone plans, you should first list out exactly what you want in a plan. Think about how you use your phone and what features you will need. Think about how many talk minutes you need and how much data you use. Most network providers want their customers to sign a contract. Before committing to a provider, learn what to look for when selecting a plan. Consider 7 key factors listed below.

1. Costs

Read over all information carefully so that you know exactly what you will be paying. A plan may seem affordable at first, but turn out to be much more if there are hidden fees associated.

Most cell phone plans will be beginning at around $40 per month and will go up from there, based on the features you choose.

Choose how many minutes you want per month or if you need unlimited talk minutes. Once you have chosen your minutes plan, you will select how much mobile data you will need. You usually purchase mobile data in gigabytes per month. Prepare your budget to have some flexibility in cost as your needs may change over time, and prepare for hidden fees.

2. Coverage

If you want to always be connected, you will want to choose a provider that has great network coverage. Most providers have maps that show where their coverage reaches.

You will also want to look at which areas get 4G LTE coverage, as 4G LTE is the fastest speeds. Some areas may get coverage but at slower speeds. When building a plan, you will want to pick the network that can offer you coverage at the fastest speeds in the areas you will be using your cell phone the most often.

3. Family Plans

Many providers offer family plans which allow you to share your talk minutes and mobile data between family members. These plans are usually offered for up to four or five lines. If you need plans for several cell phones, family plans are often more affordable than purchasing individual plans. It is advised to research which providers offer the best plans for the number of cell phones you have. You will want to see how many minutes and how much data is offered for each plan. If you are considering a family plan with teenagers, you will want to make sure you have enough data, as kids tend to use a lot of data.

4. Contracts

Many cell service providers will require you to sign a contract for certain plans. This can often make your cell phone service more affordable as you typically pay on a monthly basis. Contracts usually last anywhere from one to two years. When signing a contract, are agreeing to stay with that company and on that plan for the length of the contract.

If you want to end your contract or change it, you will often have a penalty fee, which can be quite expensive. Some companies will make an exception to the penalty if you are upgrading to a more expensive contract.

5. Deals

Service providers are constantly offering a variety of deals for both new and current customers. You can get deals on a new phone, on a monthly plan or both. You may also be able to save money if you are buying more than one line. Providers will often offer considerable deals if you sign a two-year contract.

Some service providers will pay your early termination fee if you switch to their company from another company. Be careful with deals, there may be hidden fees or the prices will go up after an introductory period. Make sure to read all the fine print carefully before signing up.

6. Unlimited Data

Many providers offer unlimited data plans. This is a great option if you use a lot of data. This means if you spend a lot of time searching the internet, checking email, downloading apps, listening to streaming music, etc. Certain features like downloading apps and listening to streaming music use more data than other features, like checking your email.

There are online calculators that will let you input how much time you spend each month using data and will then tell you how many gigabytes of data you need per month.

7. Basic Plans

If you are looking for the most affordable option, you may want to consider a basic plan. Basic plans usually allow you to make phone calls and text, but not much else. If you have a smart phone, you will not be able to use many of its features with a basic plan. But, if you have a regular phone and you just need it to make calls and send texts, a basic plan can be a great way to save money.

Be sure to conduct extensive research before signing a contract or signing up for a plan. Consider all options that best suit your needs.