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How do I Choose a Cell Phone Plan?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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When choosing a cell phone plan, a person first needs to determine what kind of plan he needs. If he is single, a plan that just covers one person would be ideal. If two, three, or more family members need phones, a family plan is a logical choice.

The person also needs to determine what kinds of services he needs. Does he do a lot of long-distance calling? Free nationwide long distance is a good option, then. For families with kids away at college, a roadside assistance plan may be something to think about.

Text messaging and Internet access are two options that can become pricey in a hurry. Some companies charge for Internet access depending on how much is downloaded. Some charge for the time spent on the Internet. Text messages may be charged per message, or for a flat fee each month. However, the person choosing the cell phone plan needs to think about whether these features are really necessary.

Family cell phone plans have skyrocketed in popularity as cell phones have become ubiquitous. These usually involve all family members drawing from a common pool of minutes, for a set fee, possibly with an extra fee per month for each line besides the primary. For instance, a company may offer a plan with 450 minutes per month for US$40. Each additional line might be US$10 per month. However, these plans also frequently offer free mobile-to-mobile calling, which means family members can call each other without using up their minutes.

Another point to consider when choosing a cell phone plan is when people do most of their calling. If those on the plan generally use the phones only for short calls during the day, with most longer calls at night, the person should think about getting a plan that increases the number of minutes for nights or weekends. These minutes are separate from the "anytime" minutes in the plan.

A person should also consider what kinds of phones he needs, and which companies offer such phones. Some companies may offer free phones with features like a camera phone, and if these are free phones, the person might want to take advantage of the offer. Most people use their phones mostly for calls, or maybe for playing games. A person shouldn't be pressured into buying an expensive phone that has bells and whistles he will never use. If he needs the features, he should get them, but the average person has no need for the more expensive options.

Comparison shopping is also key. The person should look at several companies and compare the costs and features of similar plans. Some Web sites allow a person to compare cell phone plans, with all the features compiled into chart form. This can be very helpful.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By cathyjacobs — On Jan 20, 2012

The average price of a smartphone with a data plan in the U.S. is, minimum, $70. One cellular supplier in France, however, is attempting to shake up the industry with ultra-low-cost mobile plans. Resource for this article: French mobile provider offers ultra-low-cost plans

By Sunny27 — On Jan 08, 2011

Sunshine31-I know that many of the cell phone plan providers also offer a prepaid cell phone plan as well.

The way it works is that you have to activate the phone and buy the minutes ahead of time. This is actually ideal for teenagers because they will have to be mindful of the minutes that they use up.

They really should only use a cell phone for an emergency not for everyday talking. The regular landline works best for that.

I once heard that a teenager racked up a bill of $2,000 and the mother was unaware. This is why it is a good idea to use prepaid plans with teenagers who can not yet control their talking habits.

By sunshine31 — On Jan 07, 2011

Oasis11-I agree with you about T Mobile. They are one of the cheap cell phone plans but their reception can be better.

Another wireless cell phone plan that many people get because of cost is Metro PCS. Metro offers unlimited local dialing and even includes a package for internet and texting for one flat rate monthly.

The problem with Metro PCS is the reception is terrible and they only allow local calls within the state.

In addition, because the plan is so much cheaper than cell phone service plans, they charge you full price for the phone while the other wireless cell phone plans do not.

The other cell phone plan providers offer you a huge discount on the phone if you sign a multiyear contract. Sometimes you can get the phone for free. I have seen a Blackberry offered for free at Verizon.

By oasis11 — On Jan 05, 2011

In order to find the best cell phone plan you have to decide what your goals are. Do you want the best reception regardless of cost with the most technologically advanced handsets then you should go with Verizon.

If you are looking for an unlimited cell phone plan you can go with T Mobile or Metro PCS. T Mobile offers the My Faves plan in which you can select up to five people that you normally call to have unlimited talk time with.

The numbers can be any domestic number including toll free numbers as well. Anything outside of those five numbers you will be charged. The nice thing is that you can change the number monthly if you want to drop or add a number.

The only downside with T Mobile is that many people complain about dropped calls and poor reception.

If you go to a T Mobile store, they can do a reception check if you provide them with an address. Then you will be able to see on the computer what the actual strength of the signal is.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at EasyTechJunkie....
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