How do you choose a cell phone company?

Choosing a cell phone company from all the available ones can be quite a task. There are certain factors that you should consider before selecting and settling on a particular cell phone company. These are:

  • Service/Coverage: The single most important factor is the quality of the cell phone service that you will get. A state of the art cell phone is not going to be very useful if you do not have an equally efficient service to go with it. The signal provided by the service should be clear and strong. A weak signal will cut off your conversations and can be very annoying. Sometimes a cell phone has a signal in some areas of your house but not in all e.g. the basement. A good idea is to try and take a trial and see if your service is satisfactory. You should also ask the carrier whether they have service in areas you visit periodically, like extended family and business partners.
  • Rates: As the competition in the cellular phone market intensifies, cell phone companies are lowering their rates to attract new customers. So shop around and see what is available in terms of price. Usually cell phone rates depend on the number of minutes and the coverage area. If you want national coverage then you can expect to pay more than if you wanted only local coverage. Rates might also be lower in peak holiday season as opposed to some other time of year. Added features are obviously going to cost you extra. So take all this into consideration and see if you can find yourself a bargain!
  • Plans: Cell phone service providers offer a variety of plans to suit individual needs. Check with different carriers to see what kind of plans they provide. You can choose from prepaid or a regular monthly plan. Prepaid plans are best for people whose cell phone usage is not very high whereas if you use your cell phone a lot then a monthly plan is best for you. Also inquire about 'by the minute' and 'by the second' billing which can make a significant difference to your monthly bill.
  • Contracts: Cell phone contracts typically range from 1-2 years and you sure don't want to be stuck with a bad one. Make a list of all the companies available in your area and then take some time to compare them in the above areas before committing to any one cell phone company.

You might also want to consider getting an unlimited cell phone plan and getting rid of your land line. This is a great way to save money by eliminating the $30-60 you pay for a land line. With post paid carriers, unlimited plans are in the $59.99 to $69.99 range for voice. Pre paid carriers have plans for $50 or a little less. If you up your cell phone bill from $50 to $70, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars a year with the elimination of your home phone.