Cellphone Network Carrier-Buying Guide
Before going ahead to purchase a cellphone network carrier, there are factors you must consider to enable you to make the right decision. We realize how difficult it is to make the right choice, especially in the face of so many options. Baring this in mind, we took it on ourselves to bring to your notice everything you need to know about cellphone network carriers before making a choice.
Choosing A Prepared Cell Phone Network
You don’t go and buy any cellphone network, there are some factors you must consider, and these include:
It is essential to purchase a cell phone network carrier with a good reputation else you may end up disappointed. Pay particular attention to reviews from customers on the company’s review page; consider the pros and cons before making a decision. It will also be in your best interest to go for companies that have been in the business for a long time. It shows longevity, stability, and good quality, how else would they have been able to remain in the game for so long if they weren’t good enough?
Looking out for cell phone network carriers that extend to your location is also essential when choosing a cell phone network carrier. This is because while a particular carrier may work incredibly well in urban areas and under certain conditions, the case may be different if you are in a rural environment. There are large territorial carriers that offer excellent services to people in specific locations. Look out for those kinds of carriers and choose their product to enjoy their products and services.
Length of Contract
It is easy to go for a good cell phone carrier that comes through an attractive deal from a service provider. However, while it may seem like such a good deal, it may leave you hooked on a contract that extends to two years or more. Furthermore, these contracts come with harsh penalties that make it difficult to go when you want out of the plan you had earlier subscribed to. But if it’s a good cell phone provider, then you need not worry about getting hooked on a contract as the only interest they have is in selling you the best phones available without any arrangement that will restrict you. Look out for the good ones that will sell without an ulterior motive, and once found, patronize them.
Excellent Customer Service
As a consumer, at some point, you will need the assistance of the customer care and hence will need to call the customer care unit. Watch out for cell phone carriers with excellent customer service that is patient enough to answer your questions and politely proffer solutions without the need to be rude. It is essential to choose a brand that is big on customer satisfaction.
As many live their daily lives on a budget, it is essential to know exactly how much you will be spending on cell phone bills monthly or weekly. This will enable you to determine the best cell phone provider that meets your budget. Although most cell phone users are on contract subscription, there is still the option of going for prepaid services if it’s what works best for you. Note that choosing prepaid services means your decisions will be restricted.
It is best to know the extent of network coverage of the cell phone carrier you intend to buy. This is especially applicable to people that embark on a lot of journeys. Network coverage should be as extensive as possible and should not be restricted to specific locations. In addition, if you travel frequently and need to change position, ensure you go for a brand that will not apply roaming charges. Another vital thing to look out for is carriers with the 4G LTE network. It has high-speed and so should be considered when purchasing a cell phone carrier.
Choice of Device
While this may seem insignificant, it is vital to analyze the phones that come with the carrier. Go for the best phones from the biggest and best brands around the globe and also consider other devices the company offers (such as phones with routers).
Cost Of Prepaid Phone Plans
There are generally four types of cellular phone network in the United States namely: Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T. Of all four, Verizon is the biggest and best although other carriers are fast catching up with it. These four are mostly known for post-paid services although they still offer a few prepaid services. Many other companies and Mobile Virtual Network Operators team up with one or more of these four networks to provide services to their customers at a discounted price.
Despite the strengths of these four mobile networks, they each have different level of performances in rural and urban areas, while some perform well in some places, others do not. As earlier stated, the availability of network service is an essential factor when choosing a network provider. Hence it is vital to ensure that the network provider you are going for can cover where you are located. You can determine this by checking out the coverage maps, it will show you the areas covered and those not covered. You can also go a step further by checking out independent sites such as RootMetrics and OpenSignal; they will show you how networks operate in your environment.
How Much Do Prepaid Phone Plans Cost?
If you are on the verge of trying to subscribe for a prepaid plan for the first time, you will want to know how much you will be spending on prepaid phone plans before going ahead. Luckily, we are here to break it down for you and give you the answers you seek.
Generally, prepaid plans are far cheaper than what the four network giants offer. If you are to go for post-paid plans from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint, then you will spend as much as between $65 to about $90 just for one line if you are subscribing for a top-tier unlimited plan. But an unlimited prepaid plan that is done through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, it can cost about $55 per month, a fair price when compared to what is charged by the big four.
This is not all; prepaid carriers offer more value across all boards through their limited data plan, which cost as low as $25 a month. The price of the plan is dependent on the features and services rendered by your preferred plan. You can evaluate the value given by comparing the cost of the plan with other plans currently on the same network in your location.
For instance, if you subscribed to Verizon’s $50, 4GB plan, you could save as much as $7 by switching to a similar plan by US Mobile which also uses the same Verizon network and so will perform well too. This way, you get to save money while also getting value. Therefore, the price of prepaid plans is dependent on the type of plan, the network provider, and the services being given.
In purchasing a cellular network carrier, most people are often confused about the differences between prepaid and post-paid services. There is a need to know what the two are about as this will help you make an informed decision on the type of cellular network you wish to go for and the plan to subscribe to as well.
From the name, the differences between prepay and post-pay are in the time of payment. In simple terms, in Prepaid, you pay for the services before use while for post-paid, you will be given a bill at the end of the month and these bills are calculated based on your usage. Before you can be able to use a prepaid plan, you must recharge your account, and this recharge comes in a range of prices with different inclusions, you have the option of switching your recharge option from one plan to another every time you top-up.
Most cellular networks offer both prepaid and post-paid plans, including the big four. Although, there is a distinct difference between a prepaid plan offered by any of the big four cellular networks and any other Manual Virtual Network Operator and this is in the quality of services provided. Because the big four own their network services, it becomes easier for them to prioritize their customer’s data directly above any other user. This is not a problem, but if you use a lot of data monthly, then it’s better to check out the data speed of each cellphone carrier for unlimited plans. Most times, the big four assign more data per cycle to their customers that use post-paid unlimited plan, that notwithstanding, you can still be able to get more than 30GBs of data out of network carriers like MetroPCS.
Bringing Your Device
When buying a prepaid cellphone network carrier, you can save money by sticking with your phone rather than buying a new one more especially since phones cost a lot (at least $1,000 for a good one). However, when bringing your phone, there are things to watch out for before bringing your device.
First of all, check if your phone needs to be unlocked. Most times, network carriers put a software restriction on the phones they sell; this would mean that the devices would only function on their network for a limited time, which can vary from carrier to carrier. If your phone was purchased from phone manufacturers like Verizon, or you fully paid off for the device or have been using it for some time, then chances are the phone is unlocked already.
However, if you bought the phone from AT&T then you may need to request for an unlock code. Also, note that several other cellphone carriers have locks on the phones they sell out most especially if these phones were bought at a promo price, the lock could last for as long as one year. Furthermore, while checking your lock status, check if your phone is compatible with the network you intend to switch to.
In the United States, two cellular technologies are being used: GSM and CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM, which is more of the universally accepted standard, unlike Verizon and Sprint that uses CDMA. Most phone companies manufacture phones that are suitable for one network or the other and rarely for both.
For instance, you may not be able to bring some kind of Verizon and Sprint phones AT&T or T-Mobile and vice versa. The good news is that each of these giant networks has a way of checking online the compatibility of any phone with their cellphone carrier, so make good use of the opportunity and check if your phone will work well with any of the cellphone carriers you wish to purchase.
Quality of Service
While some may argue that prepaid plans are better than post-paid, quality of service is one area everyone universally agrees that prepaid keeps falling short of the standard unlike post-paid that stands resolute in the face of internet surge. Prepaid plans are not known to withstand pressure as it deprioritizes customer’s high-speed data when the flow of online traffic becomes too much.
If it’s an unlimited plan, deprioritization of high-speed data may likely occur after the consumption of a certain amount of data in the month; it can also happen at any point during your billing cycle, Verizon prepaid plan is an excellent example of this. Deprioritization of your data may not happen to you if you live or use your phone in a location where there are not many people using the same network as you.
However, if you subscribed for a prepaid plan and during usage notice slow service, perhaps you should consider switching to the more traditional post-paid plan as it will provide you with a better quality of service. Even switching may not be the solution as sometimes everyone on a particular network is affected when the network becomes too congested. If after switching from prepaid to a post-paid plan the problem remains the same, then it’s time to switch to a different service provider but ensure you go for one with few users and also better network coverage.
Network congestion results from too many people trying to access information at the same time; this may have happened to you when you are in a large crowd like a concert or a festival. What happens is that the cellular network is not able to handle so much data traffic all at once and so each piece of data has to wait its turn before it can be attended to.
The longer the queue, the more sluggish the network is until it becomes almost impossible to send or receive information. When the data traffic is light, having priority data gives you an edge over deprioritized network users but in the case heavy congestion then such categorization no longer matters as everyone is made to suffer from it.