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Which Phone, Plan and Provider Are Right For You?

Aug 17, 2007
Cell phones are now owned by the majority of people living in the United States, but worldwide also. With so many companies producing and marketing the use of cellular phones, rates for their use have dramatically reduced within the last four to five years. The size of the phones has decreased, while their number of features and ease of use has increased.

Analog connections are now becoming obsolete, in favor of the clearer and battery-saving digital connection. Many units on the market now are tri-mode, meaning that in addition to analog they use the digital signals of TDMA and CDMA. Strides like these have made mobile communication increasingly popular as well as reliable.

With this popularity, companies have been able to reduce their monthly rates while offering many features free of charge, features that the user is accustomed to paying for on their house phone line. This competition has led many to use their cellular phone as their main phone, or even their only phone.

Some of the features that have made cellular communications so popular are the following: free nights and/or weekends, caller identification, call forwarding, three-way calling, voice mail, text messaging and Internet access. Many of these features are either free or of very low cost.

When combined with the intelligent use of peak minutes and free nights and weekends (usually between 8 am and 8 pm), a consumer can quickly find that a cellular phone plan is cheaper than their home phone plan. The problem is finding out which provider, which plan, and which phone make the most sense for each individual.

Unless a more advanced phone is desired, the Sony Ericsson's and Nokia's are reasonably priced and come with a wide array of options. Hidden costs are minimal and with three options for coverage, roaming charges can be reduced to a bare minimum. A plan for thirty to forty dollars offers between 200-400 peak minutes, which is often more than enough for general use.

Many who purchase a cellular phone believe that it will work everywhere, without a glitch. They quickly realize that this is untrue, and oftentimes try to return the phone as defective. However wireless communication is not perfect, nor can it perform as reliably as a landline. There are certain areas, such as basements and electronics stores, where cellular phones just cannot operate. What you are paying for is wireless communication, not another phone line.

However by knowing your phone limits and the limits of your carrier, you can maximize your reliability while using your phone almost as if it is connected to a landline. Many times a mobile phone bill is comparable to that of a home bill, while offering more features and giving you the major advantage of being entirely wireless. I encourage everyone who uses a telephone to compare his or her home bill to that of a cellular customer, and consider joining the millions who already have gone wireless.

The best way to go about choosing a cellular provider is to stop into their local stores and analyze each one's service through their provided literature and by talking to a representative. I recommend staying away from the service providers in the mall, as oftentimes they have less knowledgeable staff and are less likely to bargain with you on certain aspects of their plans. By gathering all the latest information on all three providers, looking at your current phone bill, and talking to current cellular users, you can have a successful cell phone search.
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