How to Buy a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan

So you want to buy a prepaid phone plan? There’s no single answer to what plan you should buy but this article will help you determine the criteria that will help you find the right provider for you.


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    To start your search for the best prepaid phone service, you should ask yourself some basic questions:
    • How much do you really use your cell phone? Every day? All day? Just for emergencies? A few times a month? To send tons of texts? The type of phone and number of minutes you need directly relates to the way you use your phone.
    • How much data do you consume? If you use a lot of data, some prepaid wireless carriers will charge you extra if you go over your data limit, even if you have an unlimited data plan, or they could cut off your service if they feel you’re abusing the network.
    • Where will you primarily use your mobile phone? Check the coverage maps of various wireless providers to see which one offers the best service in the area where you’ll use your phone. If you plan to use it internationally, make sure it will work in the countries you travel to or call the most.
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    Do some research. Ask friends and family for their opinions and recommendations (make sure they use their phones in the same place that you’ll be using yours) about coverage and customer service. Compare service plans and rates, and make sure to read the fine print to avoid any overage costs or hidden charges. Take a look at online sites that compare mobile providers, too.
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    Determine if you want to use your existing device or if you are looking for a new one. Consider the way use your phone and your budget.
    • If you would like to continue using your existing device, select a new prepaid carriers that has a "Bring Your Own Phone" or a "Bring Your Own Device" program (BYOP/D). Some carriers that do have this program include Straight Talk, Net10 and Simple Mobile. Straight Talk's BYOP site does a really good job of outlining the process. Take a look and decide if a BYOP program is something that interests you:
    • If you want to get a new phone, consider what kind of cell phone you want? Each type—camera phones, smartphones, flip phones, slider keyboard phones, Bluetooth-enabled phones—has a different price tag. Most prepaid carriers don’t subsidize the cost of the phone (like carriers do when you enter into a multi-year contract), so you’ll most likely pay full price for your phone. If cost is a concern, online sites like TracFone have loads of phones starting at just $10.
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    Choose the plan that's right for you. Remember that it’s important to select the prepaid wireless provider that has a plan that best meets YOUR needs (rates, coverage, plan details), and a phone that you want. There’s no single answer to this question because some mobile providers are better than others for different users and different coverage areas.

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Categories: Cell Phones