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Choosing the Right Cell Phone Provider - Top Tips

Dec 6, 2007
Choosing a wireless provider along with the phone, rate plan and services you need and want is not unlike buying a car or insurance. It can seem painful and complex. There are brands, plans, pricing options and colors to choose from and contracts to sign. Being prepared is the best approach.

First, the geographical area in which you will be using the wireless service the most plays a predominant role in choosing the carrier. You may have found the devices with the accessories and features you most desire and the most attractive or lucrative plan but when all is said and done if there is poor service in the coverage area anticipated for usage then all else is of little value.

Ask the question: How, when and where will the service be used? How is the phone going to be used? Will it be for heavy or light use, conversational everyday use, work purposes, industrial or office, in travel or close proximity? Consider the user. Is the user elderly, a child or student, proficient with technology or is this for the timid or first time user? The answers to these questions will help you determine the carrier, technology, coverage areas needed, as well as, features and rate plans.

There are most likely several major carriers and possibly some smaller carriers in your area. You may want to visit a physical location either a company store or agent or check them out online. Look over the coverage area and what will match your needs. Areas and plans extend from regional or national to international coverage.

Next determine the rate plan that fits your usage style. There are limited plans, plans that allow for multiple users at a discount and those that allow calls between networks to your favorite callers for no additional charge. Plans that give you phones for free, offer no commitment, no fees, free shipping on phones, unlimited or limited calling, night and weekend rates. Be aware of roaming fees for calling outside your coverage area. There are often bundled plans that combine new phones with options and rate plans that can equate to considerable savings.

Deciding between signing a one or two year contract or a pre-paid plan is an individual choice. Before signing a contract first read it carefully. Is there a grace period and how long? Is there a early termination fee and how much? Compare the plans between carriers that match your needs. Don't be afraid to ask if they have a comparable or better plan than their competitor. Negotiating may not be easy but don't rule it out, ask for a manager. Always remain calm and patient.

If a contract is too confining consider a prepaid plan. This is a great way to go for the occasional caller or "in case of emergency" Now pick the phone that feels comfortable, fits your style of use, and then any accessories you may require. The right fit will help keep dollars in your pocket and you in touch with the world around you wirelessly. Customer service and tech support is not to be overlooked. If you need assistance or have issues with your service or bill this department becomes vital.

Purchase only what you need don't give in to pressures of salesmanship or peers. But value the information both can provide.
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