What to Check Before Choosing a Smartphone Plan

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Buying a new smartphone is exciting. The device will become your constant companion over the next few years. You want to pick the right one since you’ll spend so much time with it, and you need the right cellphone plan too. Choosing the perfect cellular service isn’t easy though. A lot of factors come into play. Here’s a guide on the features you need to check before choosing a smartphone plan.

Contract Stipulations

smartphone plan

Unless you buy a prepaid wireless device, you’ll have to sign a contract. This agreement allows you to use your new smartphone on a carrier’s network. Before a business provides you with access, you have to agree to their terms.

You’ll want to pay attention to all the details involving contract length. Life can change suddenly. You don’t want to find yourself stuck in a lengthy smartphone contract. You never know when your financial situation might change, leaving you unable to pay for service. You should always look for a smartphone carrier that will let you cancel without financial penalties. If you can’t find one, choose the service with the shortest contract duration.

Bandwidth Allowance

As you shop for a carrier plan, you’ll want to think about how you’ll use your phone. Nerdwallet suggests that the average smartphone user burns through two to three gigabytes of bandwidth each month. Power users will go through a lot more bandwidth. That will get expensive if you don’t choose the right plan. Many services charge several dollars per gigabyte when you go over your allotted bandwidth total.

You should consider several factors in picking your plan. How much do you use data-intensive sites that stream music and videos? Do you upload a lot of images to social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat? CNET lists these sites as bandwidth hogs that are “killing your data plan.” Consumers who use these sites a lot should consider a network like T-Mobile with an unlimited data plan. That way, you’ll never have to stress about unexpected overage fees when your cellphone bill arrives.

International Rates

World travelers should pay special attention to carrier contracts. Ask your provider whether their coverage areas include foreign countries. Many lack this feature, which means you’ll wind up paying a lot more when you leave the United States.

In such instances, you’ll have limited choices. You’ll have to pay additional fees for the countries in your home plan. Alternately, you’ll have to purchase a disposable international phone that you’ll use while abroad. Otherwise, you’ll have to make do with Wi-Fi when you can find it.

Many popular tourist destinations like France and islands in the Caribbean don’t make the top 20 list of countries with the best public Wi-Fi. If these are your favorite tourism spots or international work locations, you’ll want a plan that covers international travel.

Family Plan

One of the biggest considerations for most people is the family plan. Unless you live alone, you’ll likely have a significant other and possibly children to consider while you shop. You’ll want to pay attention to the terms for additional cellphones. Most major carriers offer family plans at this point, but they’re not all created equal.

The key aspects of an offer are how much you’ll pay for each extra phone and how you’ll share bandwidth. You’ll want an offer that gives your kids enough bandwidth that you don’t have to worry about overage fees. Your children won’t have the same awareness of the dangers of exceeding the allotted space. You need to educate them, but you should also pick a plan that protects you if your kids don’t listen.

Upgrade Plans

Newer and better phones come out all the time. Every month, a new model enters the marketplace, and its features are superior to anything else. Occasionally, you’ll grow tired of your current model. When you’re ready to upgrade, you need to find a smartphone plan that will allow you to switch to a better phone without breaking the bank. Ask potential carriers to build a plan that will reward rather than punish for buying new hardware.

Choosing the right smartphone plan is critical. You want the most bandwidth and the best phone that you can get for the lowest price possible. Carefully consider each of the topics above when you’re shopping for your next device.

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