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Friday, June 29, 2012

Choosing a wireless carrier

You’ll avoid many potential problems just by choosing the right cell phone and service plan for your needs. Prices for cell phones and data-ready devices vary widely, from a basic phone under $50 up to hundreds of dollars for the latest data-ready smartphones. Wireless providers often give them away at deep discounts (or even free) when you enroll in a long-term contract. All cell phones need a wireless service plan to make and receive calls. Data-ready devices like smartphones also require a separate data service plan. Be sure you can afford the added monthly expense before you buy a data-ready device. WirelessED offers some pointers for assessing wireless carriers.
  • Reception—Ask friends, family, neighbors and coworkers which service they use and if they’re happy with it. You could also borrow a friend’s phone and try it in your home.
  • GSM vs CDMA—For many consumers, the type of technology the carrier uses won’t matter. But if you travel a lot, GSM technology will give you more freedom to use your phone around the world and to switch out your SIM card for local SIM cards (offering you lower international calling rates), if your device is “unlocked.”
  • Plan options—After you figure out how much voice, text and data you will use, look for plans that offer the right amount of service at the best price.
  • Phone selection—Not all carriers offer the same phones. Find out which devices are available from which carriers and what discounts are being offered.