Choosing the best cellphone plan for you can be quite a confusing task as there are so many providers out there and factors that need to be taken into account. The following guide is designed to aid your cellphone plan decisions by explaining the main factors that you should take into account.
How to Choose the Best Cellphone Plan
Plan style: In the US there are 3 main types of cellphone plan: contract, monthly non-contract and pre-paid. The big four (T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T) predominantly offer post-paid contracts where you are charged monthly for an allowance of minutes, text and data. These contracts tend to be at least 1 year in length.
You can also purchase non-contract monthly plans where you get a monthly allowance for a set price but are not locked into a contract. Over a year, these plans work out more expensive than contracts, but they give you the freedom to change providers with ease if you find a better deal elsewhere.
A prepaid plan allows you to pay for your wireless connection on a usage basis. This works out the most economical option for infrequent cellphone users and is also great for those with bad credit scores as most prepaid cellphone plans do not require a credit check.
Coverage: when picking a cellphone provider in the US, it is important that the wireless provider offers coverage in your area. Indeed, most providers do not cover every location in the US.
Contract length: how long would you like your contract to be? While 2-year contracts tend to have the lower monthly fees, tying yourself to a network for 2 years is a big commitment as a better deal may emerge elsewhere.
Top Cellphone Plan Providers in the US
AT&T is the largest supplier of wireless in the US and offers the most comprehensive selection of cellphones. In addition, AT&T’s expansive network covers around 99% of US residents and has the most reliable 4G network.
AT&T has an excellent range of contracts including a Mobile Share plan which gives customers a talk and text allowance for their cellphone and a data allowance that they can share with other devices such as an extra cellphone or a tablet PC.
T-Mobile has a comprehensive range of packages that are tailored to meet the budgets and usage of a variety of individuals. While T-Mobile has the smallest amount of coverage out of the Big Four cellphone carriers, it certainly has the lowest prices around.
Those with bad credit will be pleased to know that T-Mobile has an unlimited plan which can support up to 4 lines and does not require a credit check.
While Sprint does not quite boast the extensive coverage of its competitors, it has a number of truly unlimited data cellphone plans which make it stand out from the rest.
Sprint offers a unique ‘Framily’ plan that allows up to 10 friends and family members to take out a contract together for a special group discount. The Framily plan starts for as little as $25 per month per line and provides a generous 1GB of data as well as unlimited talk and text.
Verizon is a popular choice for many individuals looking to take out a cellphone plan as it has excellent coverage and the largest 4G network in America. In addition, Verizon boasts excellent customer service and offers an impressive range of smartphones.
If you are someone who likes to have the latest tech, the Verizon Edge plan may be the cellphone plan for you. This plan allows you to upgrade your cellphone once you have paid 60% of the device payments.
Some wireless network providers also offer special senior plans which provide seniors (usually, classed as 65+) with discounted plans and contracts. Verizon have a great selection of senior plans for both basic phones and smartphones. In addition, Verizon also offer two-line share plans for over 65s which allows two individuals to share minutes, texts and data for a discounted fee. AT&T offers a plan which provides over 65s with a monthly allowance of 200 minutes for just $29.99 per month.
Family Cellphone Plans
Family cellphone plans are a type of cellphone plan which allows you to share a pool of minutes, data and texts. Not only is this far more convenient than managing a number of individual accounts, but it is also considerably cheaper! Currently, the Big Four wireless providers (Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) all offer competitive family cellphone plans for up to ten people. Sprint’s Framily Plan is the least restrictive as it allows ten people who are not related to share a cellphone plan and charges them individually.
Business Cellphone Plans
Business cellphones are incremental in professions which require employees to travel around as they allow employees to be contactable when they are away from their desk. Business cellphone plans work in a similar way to regular cellphone plans, the only difference is that the business owner is able to manage tens or hundreds of cellphone plans. Most wireless providers organize their business cellphone plans according to the number of people in the business. Business cellphone plans range from simple talk and text plans through to larger plans which incorporate global calls and data.
International Cellphone Plans
If you want to keep in contact with your friends and family in Mexico, Canada or beyond, a global cellphone plan is a worthwhile investment. Either purchased a package add-on or a product in their own right, international cellphone plans give US customers a pool of minutes and texts which can be contact those in other countries. The big four: T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, and smaller wireless companies like Boost Mobile and Straight Talk have a range of international cellphone plans to choose from.