How to Get the Best Deals on Cell Phone Plans

By Mindi Orth

Cell phones no longer provide only voice connectivity. Today, many people use their cell phones to send text and email messages, browse the Internet and more. As a result, selecting the right cell phone plan to meet your needs requires careful thought and consideration. Choosing the wrong plan can result in spending money on unnecessary features. On the contrary, selecting a plan that does not adequately meet your needs can result in high overage fees.

Step 1

Consider the number of cell phones you need. This allows you to determine whether you need a standard plan or a family plan. Family plans allow you to add phone lines for a predetermined rate. All phone lines then share a pool of minutes.

Step 2

Determine how you plan to use your cell phone. Before you can select a phone and plan, you must consider what you want your phone to do. For example, if you want mobile access to your email and the ability to update documents on the go, then you need a smartphone and a service plan that includes data coverage.

Step 3

Consider where you plan to use your phone. Truck drivers and others who travel frequently may need the coverage only the larger carriers can provide.

Step 4

Research the cellular service providers available in your area. Review the plans they offer and the coverage area they provide. Many providers offer both contracted and prepaid plans. Consider how and where you plan to use your phone while reviewing your service provider options.

Step 5

Visit the local store of the service provider you want to use. Let them know if you have an existing contract with another carrier because many carriers offer to pay any early termination fees if you switch providers. Ask about any other special offers. Many providers offer free phones and other extras if you sign a new contract.

Tips & Warnings

  • View the company website of any service provider you are considering. Many providers advertise special offers online. Knowing the available offers before visiting the store can prevent you from missing money-saving opportunities.
  • Some providers offer a 30-day trial of their service. At the end of the trial period, you can opt to keep their service or you can return the phone for a refund. Check with the provider for details.
  • Some providers place a maximum limit on the amount they cover toward paying your early termination fee. This leaves you responsible for the remaining balance.