Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to choose your wireless plan

Wireless phones can provide freedom and convenience which is becoming increasingly critical. However, choosing your cell phone service plan is as complicated and many plans vary. Cellular phone plans vary by carrier, so it is important to know the plans from various carriers and to verify coverage.

When selecting your cell phone service plan, you need to consider the following:

Wireless Usage Profile
Technology Differences


Wireless coverage is the most important factor that determines your choice of calling service. Cellular phone service offerings vary from city to city. Coverage is the most important, of course, because you could incur roaming charges or get no service where you need to use the phone. Coverage is determined by the cellular sites and specific to many factors that may impact how your cell phone can be used to make and receive calls. Check that the celluar service provider that you are going to choose covers the areas that you frequently travel to. You can easily check the service provider's availability in your area on the internet. You can find which cell phone carriers provide service in your area by entering your zip code at these sites.

Wireless Usage profile

Is the cellular phone going to be used for emergencies, family plan, or a business?
The purpose of having the cellular phone should dictate which service plan you are going to choose.

Should you choose a plan with unlimited minutes?
If you are a heavy wireless user or need the phone for business you would nee a plan with a lot of minutes and flexibility. Many carriers offer unlimited minute plans. If you need a phone for personal use you many not require an unlimited plan and may be able to get a less expensive plan.

Would you use your phone for emergencies or do you plan to use it all the time?
Someone that needs a phone for emergencies, say 100 minutes or less a month is usually a good candidate for pre-paid wireless service. It may not be cost effective to pay a monthly rate if the phone is going to be unused.
Most carriers offer packages that allow for different rates based on usage. If you plan to use the phone only occasionally, select and economy plan. If you make frequent calls, it may be more economical to sign up for a plan that provides a certain amount of free minutes of usage. Heavy users should sign up for a service plan which provides a higher monthly fee, some plans are unlimited and offer the lowest rate of air time.

Minimal usage (For safety and emergency)
Minimal usage really means under 100 minutes or so a month. If you want to have a phone nearby in case of emergencies or want to give your child a phone in case they are late, then you fit into this category. Most companies offer plans such as "security plan" which normally keep your phone active without any included minutes. Per minute costs can be anywhere from 25 to 40 cents so you can see that these plans are intended for those who won't use the phone too often. These plans normally cost fewer than 20 dollars a month. Alternatively, you can seriously consider a prepaid plan.

Medium usage
Medium usage would constitute anywhere from 200 to 500 minutes a month. Although this seems a lot, you would be surprised how quickly minutes go by. Those people who start off with the security plan and start using an average of 50 or so minutes a day are much better off choosing a plan with at least 100 minutes as you can see the difference. 100 minute plans normally cost 20 to 30 dollars a month.
Most plans in the 100 to 500 minute range cost anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars, on average. They are intended for those people who want to use their phone at least a little bit per month but not extensively.

High usage
Normally, one can consider high usage to be over 2000 minutes. Most people requiring these types of minutes are either using them for business or really have to stay in touch with all of their family. Some people actually cancel home phone service and use their cell phones instead. This normally happens with the higher packages such as 2000 minutes or so. Prices for these plans can range from 90 to 100 dollars a month. 

Technology Difference

The wireless technologies used today are CDMA ( Sprint and Verizon) and GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile). These digital services allow for more callers to concurrently occupy space on each of a service provider's cell sites, making it the superior choice for highly populated or metropolitan areas. Each platform has its merits, ranging from the reduced background noise and security protection of CDMA phones, to the near global roaming ability that accompanies GSM phones. 


Most wireless phone carriers require you to sign a one year or two year contract for the cellular phone service. Make sure to find out how many times they will allow you to change packages within the time of your contract, should you find a need to downsize or upgrade your cellular phone package, without charging you a fee for doing so.

Click here to Browse Wireless Phones and Plans


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