How Much Does a Cell Phone Plan Cost?
In order to choose a cell phone plan that is right for you, you need to answer a few basic questions. First, what company do you want to use? Choose one that provides the best service in your area for the lowest price. To check the signal strength of different companies, go to cellreception.com. If you live in a well populated area, chances are there will be many companies that provide good coverage in your area. The next thing you want to consider is how much you are willing to spend. Cell phone plans can cost anywhere from $30 a month to $150 a month depending on the features included. Finally, decide what features you need to be included and which ones would just be a bonus. Some of these features include mobile-to-mobile, text messaging, and 3g service. You also need to consider what type of phone you want, such as a touch screen, flip phone, or one with a qwerty keyboard.
How much is it?
- A basic plan for one phone will cost between $30 and $60 and will include anywhere from 250-900 minutes. This may or may not include texting. For example, a plan from Verizon Wireless that includes 450 minutes of talk time but no texting costs $39.99 monthly. Sprint has a plan called Basic which includes 200 minutes for $29.99. AT&T offers a plan that allows the customer 900 minutes of talk time for $59.99 per month.
- Most cell phone companies offer a plan that includes unlimited talk and text for one line. This unlimited plan will cost $89.99 through Verizon. While Sprint doesn’t have a plan for only unlimited talk and text, it does have a plan called everything messaging that includes unlimited texting and 900 minutes of talk time for $89.99. AT&T offers a plan with unlimited talk for $69.99.
- If you would like to add 3g service (wireless internet) to your plan your monthly price will increase. Some companies such as Verizon just charge an additional monthly fee for this. If you only want 150 MB of service, it will cost an additional $15 per month. If you want unlimited, it will jump to $29.99 more per month. Other companies offer specific plans that include 3g coverage. Probably the best value fot Sprint users who want 3g service is the Everything Data plan, which includes free calls to any mobil phone, regardless of carrier, as well as unlimited texting, web, and email. This also includes 450 minutes of non-mobile talk time and will cost $69.99.
- Family plans are a great way to have multiple phone for you, your spouse and your children without having to pay as much per phone. Family plans from Verizon start at $99.99 for two phones that share 700 minutes and have unlimited texting. Each additional line will cost $10. Sprint has a plan for this same price; however, sprint’s plan includes 1500 minutes of shared talk time. AT&T offers an unlimited shared plan for $119.99 per month.
- If you are purchasing a phone only to be used in emergencies or for a young child, your best option may be a prepaid phone. For example, AT&T offers soemthing called the gophone for which you pay $2 per day that it is used. There are no contracts to sign for a phone like this.
What is going to be included?
- Most cell phone carriers offer unlimited mobile-to-mobile (within their own company) on every plan they have.
- Almost every plan comes with unlimited nights and weekends. AT&T, however, sometimes has a minute limit on nights and weekends as well.
- Free long distance and roaming is a basic feature on almost any cell phone plan.
- Some companies, such as AT&T, have roll0over minutes. This means that any minutes you did not use one month will be added on to the total minutes you can use the following month.
- Voicemail, call forwarding, and caller id come standard on most phones.
What are the extra costs?
- The biggest worry for cell phone users is going over their minutes. Subscribers must pay a per-minute charge for every minute they go over their allowance. This cost per minute can be anwhere from $.30-$.50 per minute.
- When signing up for a cell phone plan, there is usually some type of activation fee. If you shop around and look for sales, you may find you can get this fee waived.
- In order to sign up for a cell phone plan, you must have a phone. Most phones come much cheaper when signing a contract, however, and may even be free.
- The advertised price of the cell phone plan you choose will not be the final price of your monthly bill. There are taxes and other surcharges you will have to pay each month. Check with your provider to get a final monthly bill before signing a contract.
- Most cell phone plans require a signed two-year contract. If you break this contract early, there is a substantial fee – usually between $150 and $200.
How can I save money?
- Many cell phone companies give discounts to certain groups of people, such as veterans, teachers, etc.
- Once your contract has expired, you can usually receive an even better plan as well as a free phone upgrade as an incentive to stay with that company.
How to compare prices:
- The best way to compare prices is to visit a store that offers cell phone service from multiple carriers. For example, Amazon is a dealer for Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
- Best Buy also has a great comparison tool that enables you to look at many carriers and the phones that they have available.