Choosing a Cellular Phone Provider
With so many cell phone manufacturers and providers, it may seem a daunting task to pick the one best suited to you and your needs. One aspect many customers get confused about is the data limits. Finding the right provider to explain what your plan would allow would be optimal. With the popularity of smart phones, the contracts have become more complicated than ever. Then you have to keep track of allotted minutes, restrictions, and data plans.
When choosing a cellular phone provider, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Plan your phone usage
Think about how you will use your phone. What kind of features will you need? Some users will only talk on the phone, while others want to text, stream video and browse the Internet. Still others use their phones as a video and still camera. If you plan on playing video games on your phone while waiting in a line, consider getting a bigger data plan.
Understanding your habits will help you save money, as you will not be paying for technology you’re not going to use. Keep an open mind about upgrades. What works for you today might change a year from now. Technology grows by leaps and bounds. Many people vowed never to use text messaging. Now they send and receive messages daily.
Once you have decided how you will use your phone, communicate it clearly to salespeople. Listen to their advice, but know that the final call is yours.
- Consider local carriers
While most people will automatically consider big-name national phone carriers, take a good look at companies with a local touch. Maybe those employees work and live in your community. Churches and civic groups may have information about local companies. You might even ask friends and family about local carriers. When a company wants your money but won’t become involved in the community, it may reveal how they will treat you as a customer.
If you decide to go with a national carrier, choose a local branch with a reputation for good customer service. You should feel welcome at this location. If they listen and understand your needs, and you receive quick service, it will make a huge difference when you need assistance.
- Understand the contract
Contracts are certainly daunting, but you should still read the fine print of any contract. Understanding the agreement will save you trouble, money and embarrassment. Terms vary widely depending on the service provider, the plan chosen and even the model of phone. Take the time you need to read the agreement carefully. Ask questions if you don’t understand the terminology.
Make sure you know:
- The duration of the contract and the penalty for early termination
- What is considered “roaming,” – nationally and internationally – and how much it costs
- The limits for calls, text messages and data, and how much it costs to go over
- When you can upgrade your phone, and what discounts you can receive
- What happens if you break or lose your phone
Before signing anything, check the wording in the actual contract; you’ll be obligated to follow what’s on the paper, not what a salesperson tells you.
- Make the most of your new phone
Make an effort to read the owner’s manual for your phone. Play with your new phone and explore its features. It’s fun to see what it can do.
Today’s phones have plenty of features to make your life easier. Even basic models have Internet connectivity. You can take pictures, send messages and even listen to music. It will make staying in touch with friends, family and co-workers much easier.