How to Choose a Cell Phone Plan That Works Best for You
Are you shopping for cell phone service for the first time, or considering a new plan? The basic approach is to
determine your calling needs, and then shop carefully.
Here are some basic tips for choosing wireless phone service:
which kind of service best fits your calling needs. There
are local, regional, or national plans, family plans for
two or more phones, and pre-paid plans. Consider which
plan is best for the time of day and number and length
of calls you will make. You pay a hefty charge for minutes
that exceed your plan, so study the details. Many plans
offer far more minutes for "weekend" or "night" calls,
but "weekend" may not include Friday, and "night" may
not begin until 9 p.m.
which company provides the best service for you. Ask
to see a coverage map, especially if you travel frequently.
Check your home calling area and where "roaming charges"
apply. (Outside your home area, the phone may not work,
or you may incur costly roaming charges.)
Ask if the company has a trial period (often 15-30 days),
and then check to be sure you get a good signal where
you need it, such as at your home or office, or places
you visit often.
- Check the length of the contract -- and if there
is a "break fee" should you want to cancel your plan early.
cell phone service plans run one or two years and require
you to pay a hefty $100-200 termination fee per phone
if you cancel your service before the end of the plan.
Before you choose a plan, find out if you can get out
of the contract without paying a fee if it turns out you
can't make calls from your home, office, or other place
from which you plan to make calls.
cell phone manufacturer warranties. Most cell
phone contracts don't provide you with a free cell phone
if your initial cell phone is damaged or simply doesn't
work. Consider an extended warranty and how much it might
for complaints about providers. Call the Attorney
General's Office or the Better Business Bureau, and ask
your friends and neighbors about their experience.
for more tips and helpful links. (Click on "Protecting
Consumers" and then look for "Consumer Advisory" bulletins.)
For more information or to file a complaint, contact
the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Des
Moines, Iowa 50319. Call 515-281-5926.
More Sources on Choosing Cell Phone Plans Suggested by the Office of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller:
4. Wireless Advisor