Educational Consumer Tips
Author: Better Business Bureau
If you are looking to sign-up for a wireless carrier or looking to switch over from your previous carrier, use the following tips as a guide when making your decision.
Tips for Choosing a Cell Phone Provider:
Understand the Variety of Providers. Before signing up with a provider, it is best to familiarize yourself with the various options. There are four large nationwide cell phone providers that are known to have the most coverage and offer a vast range of plans and phones (i.e. Verizon and AT&T). Under the four major providers there are three smaller carriers that are known to have lower rates, but don’t always carry the latest phones or cover the whole country (i.e. MetroPCS). Below these three carriers are smaller carriers that cover a few states or counties and are great for people who plan to use their cell phone mainly near their home. Once you decide where you will be using your phone, you’ll be able to narrow down your options.
Compare Plans. In order to pick the best plan for you and your family it’s best to first decide how many devices will be on the wireless plan. Nationwide carriers offer family or share everything plans, which allow customers to share voice, texting, and data. The nationwide carriers lock customers into a two-year contract that usually includes free calling to people on the same network and deals on the latest phones. Smaller providers offer a no-contract plan or allow you to pay by the minute if you seldom use your phone.
Track Your Data. Since some nationwide carriers are slowly phasing out unlimited data, it’s best to track your data usage so you can purchase just the right amount for the month. If you occasionally use data you can save money on your monthly bill by only purchasing 1GB of data. Larger amounts of data are generally needed for families sharing a plan or users who like to browse the Internet and play games often. Always be aware of how much a carrier will charge if you go over your monthly data limit.
Research Coverage Maps. Compare coverage maps between multiple carriers. See which carrier provides the most coverage for the area you live in and frequent most. Especially users with smart phones who constantly want to have access to high speed Internet from their phones, it’s important to look specifically at the carrier’s 4G LTE coverage map. It would be a waste to spend so much money on a contract and new device when you have a slow Internet connection speed.
Look for Reliable Customer Service. Regardless of how often you use your phone, find a carrier that provides great customer service. Check out the carrier’s FAQ page, phone support, and email support. There will be some point in your relationship with the carrier that you’ll want the help of customer service, be sure the carrier can provide helpful and reliable information.
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