Whether you’re buying a new smartphone or your current mobile contract is coming to an end, it’s a good time to consider picking a new phone plan.
But, with so many different types of plans available, it can be hard to know exactly which contract is best for you.
Taking a moment to evaluate your current smartphone usage and comparing different plans will go a long way towards ensuring you get the level of service you need and don’t end up overpaying for a plan that includes too much.
Choosing a Phone Plan Provider
The specific phone service providers available to you depends a lot on where you live, but there are some big companies that are widespread that you might consider, including T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T.
There are also lots of smaller carriers, which will give you wider options when you’re shopping around for a new phone plan. Even so called ‘smaller carriers’ have a great deal of offer, as illustrated by this Mint Mobile Review, which outlines the pros and cons of the brand fronted by Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds.
Regardless of what providers are available in your area, it’s a good idea to pick at least two or three to compare side by side before committing to a new phone contract.
When you’re choosing a phone plan provider, one of the first things you should look at is their coverage, to ensure that you’ll have service in all the locations you need it.
Most phone service providers have coverage maps on their websites that you can look at to see where they have coverage.
However, it’s also a good idea to read reviews and ask friends or family who have plans with certain providers to get first-hand knowledge, as actual coverage and functionality can often vary from what’s advertised.
Looking at extras
Another factor that can help you pick a phone plan provider is the extra features they offer with plans.
For instance, some providers might include free subscriptions to streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, with certain phone plans.
If these types of extras interest you, picking a provider that offers them can help you cut costs on subscription fees.
Deciding How Much Data You Need
If you’re a heavy data user, you might be tempted to spring for an unlimited data plan, which is great if you have the budget for it.
However, the reality for many people is that they don’t actually need unlimited data, and choosing a plan with just the right amount of data can save you quite a few dollars on your monthly phone bills.
To estimate how much data you need, you can check your current and past data usage in your smartphone’s cellular data settings.
Look at your data usage over the past few months to get an idea of how much data your new plan should provide to ensure you have enough data to get you through each month.
Determining How Many Voice Minutes You Need
After you decide how much data you want on your phone plan, the next thing you need to determine is how much voice coverage you need.
With so much communication occurring via text and instant messaging these days, the number of minutes you spend actually talking on the phone probably isn’t that high, so this is another area where you can save on your phone bills.
To estimate how many minutes you need each month, look at your phone call log for the past few months and add up the total time for your conversations. Then, pick a plan that offers at least that many minutes monthly.
Many phone service providers also offer pay-as-you-go voice plans, which can be a good option if your voice minute usage is very low or varies from month to month.
Checking Contract Terms
After you find a plan or two that look good to you, it’s important to read all the contract terms very closely before you sign up for any plan.
If you don’t read all the fine print, your phone bills could end up being much higher than you thought they would be because of hidden fees.
Make sure you understand policies regarding key areas, such as what happens if you run out of data or minutes and whether or not there are financial penalties for going over your limits.
You should also check the rules about ending your contract early, as some providers charge hefty fees for doing so.
Getting a New Phone
If you’re interested in getting a new smartphone at this time, you may be able to get one for free or at a heavy discount as part of signing up for a new phone plan.
So, keep this in mind when you’re evaluating different contracts as well and choose a provider that offers the device you want at a good rate.
If the plan you want to sign up for doesn’t offer any phone bundles, don’t worry, there are still plenty of affordable options when it comes to new smartphones.
Just make sure that your provider supports any smartphone model you’re considering buying from a third-party seller.