How to Choose a Cell Phone Company

>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cell phones have become a way of life, an amenity that's hard to live without. So the question arises: With so many cell phone carriers out there, what's the best way to go about choosing one? Here are some considerations and tips to make your search easier.

Factors to Consider

Coverage and Reception. Make sure you will be able to receive a clear signal in the places you work, live, and travel often. Check out the coverage maps for each company; for instance, you could Google "Sprint coverage map" to see if your area has good reception with the carrier.

Type of Phone. Some phones are only available through certain carriers, so if you know you want a particular phone, find out who supports it. For instance, the iPhone is on an exclusive contract with AT&T so unless you get it unlocked, you are obligated to choose AT&T as your provider.

Contract. The longer the contract you sign, the cheaper your phone will be. If you already have a phone, then it's not a factor — ask about a month to month or prepaid plan.

Price — shop around; price points vary from company to company. You may also stumble across a great introductory rate or be eligible for a discount based on where you work.

Tips on Choosing a Cell Phone Carrier

  1. Ask around. Ask everyone you know what cell company they are using and how happy they are with the service. How many dropped calls do they get and how often? People are often willing to be very vocal about their experiences.
  2. Check comments and reviews online to see which carrier in your local area is preferred.
  3. Find out how many cell towers each company has in your area. Reception is generally better if towers are nearby and if an area has more towers.

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