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The cell phone dilemma: Does choice of carrier really matter?

Here is everything you need to know.

wireless carriers throttling services like netflix and youtube
Image: AndroidGuys

In modern times, social media surrounds us in every aspect of our lives, and it has become increasingly important to stay in touch with the latest technological innovations. Nowadays a reliable internet connection is a must for tasks that are part of our daily routines, such as navigating with maps or checking our inbox mail.

In order for one to ensure that not only a modern mobile device is needed, but also a suitable phone carrier plan. However, choosing the perfect carrier plan can turn into quite the overwhelming task, since the market is filled with various options, with different cell phone carriers offering different conditions and prices.

In order to make your choice easier, here are some steps that could make the process quite easier. 

Defining Your Own Needs

Everyone has their own personal needs when it comes to picking up the phone carrier plan that is perfect for the individual requirements of the individual. For example, some people find internet browsing or activities on social media to be a pure waste of time, whereas for others nothing less than unlimited browsing capacity is enough.

What is important for everyone, who is battling with such a decision, is to clearly define the purpose and the quantity of the data transfer that is going to be required in their everyday use. If you feel unsure about how much data you really need for your browsing use, one quick suggestion would be to check the amount measured by your device’s operating system or by placing a phone call to the particular carrier.

Other aspects that need to be taken into account are the various price ranges (both monthly and yearly) or the free minutes for talking that could be included in the carrier plan. If you travel regularly, maybe it is worth checking plans that offer enough roaming when in different countries. Before switching to a new carrier plan, one should also always remember to check if the plan is compatible with the smartphone to which is going to be applied since that is not always the case.    

Ask Around

Since network coverage quality varies with the change in the geographical location, it is always a good idea to ask acquaintances and friends for their personal experience when you are choosing a local carrier. Carriers often provide employer discounts, so it is probably worth it to check if your company has already made a contract with a cell phone carrier.

To obtain such information, you can ask a representative from your workplace, such as someone from human resources or contact a carrier representative directly. If you are ever feeling lost, do not hesitate to ask around as it is better if you are as much informed as possible before making your final choice. 

Look Out for Tricks 

It is always worth to pay attention to each detail when signing a new contract, and starting a new carrier plan is no exception. You should always read between the lines to check if there are some caveats before switching to a new plan for your mobile data.

For example, many carriers offer unlimited internet access on paper, but this is never the case as it often turns out that the “unlimited” data transfer is very limited in reality after some threshold number of gigabytes is reached and the speed of the traffic decreases greatly.

Another catch that is often seen when it comes to carrier plans is that sometimes if your data usage exceeds your distributed amount of allowed transfer, your Internet access is cut off completely until your next payment or upgrade. 

Check for Family Plans

If you are looking for a way to reduce your monthly expenses and still be able to stay connected with your closest ones, it is probably best for you if you check for family contracts. Many carriers provide plans with the opportunity to connect more than one telephone lines for one plan. There are many available plans that most of the times allow for many or unlimited free minutes between the bundled telephone lines, as well as data traffic.

Another positive side of using such combined plans is that usually there is only one bill at the end of the month, which makes the process of paying and managing quite easier. By using such combined packages, it is possible to strike a deal and save some money at the end of the month. If you are looking for a personal plan though, there are plenty of possibilities for such needs too, again varying with respect to the number of free minutes or amount of available data traffic per month. 

Avoiding Contracts

If you are one of the people who don’t use their smartphones for internet browsing or access to social media and you don’t spend much time talking on the phone, then prepaid phone minutes might be the best option for you. Basically, you buy a voucher for the number of minutes you think you would need and then spend them whenever you need.

This option prevents you from paying fees every time the limit of your cellular services is reached, but in order to get more minutes in such a case, one should either pay for more minutes or change to a new mobile plan.

However, this could be a good option for people who rarely need to make phone calls and thus don’t have to pay a monthly fee for services that aren’t used so much anyway. Another benefit of this approach is that you are not held with a contract, whereas a monthly bill could turn out to be quite costly. 

Check for Promotions

If you are thinking about a potential upgrade of your smartphone to a newer one, it could be a good idea to check if the local carriers provide deals and promotions on buying a new device when becoming their client. In this way, you could save yourself some money on the new phone and also provide yourself with a suitable mobile plan for your needs.

If you need more information, you could always ask a representative from a carrier provider and once when you get familiar with the different choices, make the best decision for yourself. 

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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