Choosing a Wireless Plan

Home & Family, Technology
on November 23, 2011

Choosing a wireless plan can be a challenge, particularly since so many companies work hard to make themselves enticing to the consumer. Here are five things to consider when choosing a plan.

Personal behavior. Pick a wireless plan that fits your habits. Be honest about what you want versus what you truly need. Carefully scrutinize minutes, data and extra features offered by various companies. Ultimately, a measure of self-discipline may be in order when picking an appropriate plan.

Enamored with the device. Wireless companies often give away cell phones or sell them for low prices. Evaluate whether you are being lured in by the excitement of getting the latest device. Companies give away phones because the bulk of their money is not made in selling devices, but by signing users to a two-year service agreement that has fairly high early termination fees. Before grabbing a shiny new phone, remember that two years is a long time.

Basic features. Plans offer many different features, including basic voice services, data, texting, games and various entertainment packages. In addition, smartphones often come with the opportunity to purchase apps, which can mean additional monthly fees. In order to make an informed choice, patiently compare packages to see what they offer for the price.

Coverage, reputation and service. Not all wireless companies are the same. Today’s world has an abundance of cellular coverage, but certain companies still struggle in specific geographic areas. Research each company, including its overall reputation and level of customer service. Plenty of individuals will share their anecdotal experiences about a specific company, but the savvy consumer will try to connect opinion with verifiable fact.

Fees, fees and more fees. Reading the fine print is a crucial part of shopping for a wireless plan. Again, this goes back to how you intend to use your phone and finding a plan that will fit your lifestyle. If you use too many minutes, send too many texts and exceed your data allotment, you could end up paying higher fees. Know what fees you’ll be charged if you vary from your plan. In addition, ask about taxes, service charges, maintenance fees and cost of changing or cancelling a wireless plan before signing up with a provider.