Once you’ve chosen a service take a look at our picks for the best cell phones.
Almost everyone has a cellphone today. Over 200 million people currently own cell phones in the United States alone! You probably even have a cellphone in your pocket or purse right now as you waitfor your next call. However, what many people don’t know is that they may be employing the wrong cellphone provider. If you’re into text and picture messaging, T-Mobile may be the best choice foryou. Absolute coverage a must? You may want to stick with Verizon. Your personal needs make a huge difference when choosing the appropriate cell phone provider. Choosing the right service can saveyou hassle and money! We’ll go through a handful of available services, letting you know the pros and cons of each provider. In the end, you make the choice that suits your needs (but let us help youalong the way)! Cingular Wireless (www.cingular.com)
After swallowing up AT&T Wireless, Cingular has become the nation’s largest cellphone provider. Cingular uses a GSM network with SIM Cards, which allow you to transfer your numbers from phone tophone with ease. People looking for the hottest phones will be pleased with offerings from companies like Sony-Ericsson and Motorola. However, ifyou are looking for a package with a lot of minutes for a reasonable price, you may want to look elsewhere. A 900-minute monthly plan costs $59.99, including free nights and weekends. On the positiveside, rollover is included with nearly all of Cingular’s plans, so if you’re not a huge talker a lower plan can work to your advantage.
On the other hand, if you have a larger family who will need to share minutes, Cincular is probably not the way to go. Their family plans are a bit expensive at $89.99 a month for 1400 minutes and 2 lines (and if you have teenagers, be prepared to go way over 1400 minutes). Anyone looking for a good data plan should skip Cingular entirely. They charge by the megabyte and the unlimited plan costs $79.99. For that price, it makes sense to go with Verizon’s EV-DO offering. Blackberry and Sidekick users should stay away too, as you’ll find yourself constantly going over your data plan.
One great feature that is offered by Cingular is their prepaid service called GoPhone. You’ll only pay $.10 a minute and get unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. This is a great deal for those looking for a cellphone without a monthly bill. The selection of phones is a bit weak, but there’s always the sleek new Motorola RAZR available for $249.99 or less. The service quality is quite decent too, so you shouldn’t worry about it roaming or not picking up a signal.
Cingular is a great provider for those looking for a hot new phone, great service, and a decent pre-paid plan. The normal rate plans Cingular offers are comparatively more expensive than most otherproviders. However, the Rollover feature is great for collecting bundles of your minutes. People looking for data options should go with Verizon or another provider, as Cigular’s data plans are tooexpensive to justify. T-Mobile(www.tmobile.com)
If you ever have a problem with your cellphone, you will find yourself in luck if you have T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s customer service is unparalleled in quality and politeness. There are never any waittimes and they are more than willing to go the extra mile to make sure that you are pleased. Aside from award-winning customer service, this GSM-based provider also uses SIM cards for easilytransferring numbers from phone to phone. Phone enthusiasts will be glad to know that they can get their devices unlocked from T-Mobile for free once every 90 days. This is a great feature for backupphones that you may come across for cheap (or free).
As far as plans go, T-Mobile reigns as king with a commendable amount of minutes for your money. $59.99 will net you a whopping 1500 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends! That’s some serious talk time for the chatterbox in your family, so consider T-Mobile when it comes to both personal and family plans – you won’t find a better deal on minutes. Coverage is better than it was a couple of years ago, but it’s still not on par with Cingular or Verizon. So if you need a phone that you can rely on anytime, anywhere, T-Mobile may not be the provider for you.
The offering of cellphones from T-Mobile is mediocre and the selection is very limited. Those of you looking for a Treo from Palm won’t find one here. We suggest that phone buffs go with Cingular for the best choice of phones. Data oriented phones, however, are another story. If you like the Sidekick II or use a Blackberry, you can’t beat T-Mobile. Their data plans are only $19.99 a month for either Blackberry Unlimited (E-mail, Web, etc.) or the Sidekick II plan that includes unlimited texting, web, and picture messaging. Those big on texting or media messaging will want to go with the $14.99 a month unlimited messaging package which includes…what else? Unlimited messaging.
Those in need of a lot of minutes for their money, or unlimited data plans should go with T-Mobile. You can’t beat the value you get with the cost of plans T-Mobile offers. Their customer serviceis first-rate as well, so you shouldn’t worry about anything going wrong. Phone enthusiasts will mostly be disappointed with selection though, and people needing absolute reception all of the timeshouldn’t consider T-Mobile. However, for the average consumer, T-Mobile may be the best option. Verizon Wireless (www.verizonwireless.com)
Can you read me now? Good. People looking for true cellphone coverage should probably choose Verizon, if all they’re plan on doing is talking. Verizon has always been touted as the best for voiceconnections due to their CDMA network and copious amount of cell-towers located in the United States. Their plans for individual users are about the same cost as Cingular’sare, but become more of a value the higher you go. 6000 minutes for $200 a month isn’t a bad deal when you think about what you are getting. Verizon also haspretty decent family plans and only charges $9.99 extra a month per line – a great deal for those with a family of 4 or more. Plus, calling other Verizon customers is free. Pretty sweet!
On the down side, if you’re looking for stellar phones, you won’t find much in Verizon’s show room. Their phone selection is mediocre, with expensive standout models like the Treo 700 and Motorola Q. Most of the other phones all look and perform similarly. However, picking up a VCAST phone such as the Samsung A920 or LG VX8100 will allow you to experience multimedia in a whole new way. For $15 a month you can subscribe to Verizon’s VCAST service and enjoy music on demand and plenty of free videos and content. If you’ve got the cash to spend, go for it, but most consumers won’t find VCAST worth it.
One great feature Verizon Wireless offers is their EV-DO service for $59.99 a month. For that chunk of change, you get wireless Internet from any location in most major cities. Not dinky GPRS speeds that rival 9600-baud modems, but high quality broadband access that is suitable for downloading, surfing, and watching media.
Verizon is perfect for those demanding quality reception and great data options. The EV-DO broadband package is uncontested and is the best option for getting on the Internet while you’re on thego. Families will benefit from network to network calling and great deals on plans. The only problem is that every time you upgrade your phone, you’ll have to spend half the day entering your numbersdue to the lack of a SIM card. Overall, a decent provider with multifarious offers. Sprint/Nextel (www.sprint.com), (www.nextel.com)
Sprint bought out Nextel and merged the two companies, but they still offer the same features, including PTT (Push To Talk). With that being said, anyone in a business where constant communication isa must will benefit from Sprint’s PTT service. Construction workers, contractors, and other high communication occupations will be going back and forth to converse with others, so Sprint makesperfect sense. However, Sprint and Nextel’s actual phone quality isn’t as great as other providers. This is the company that has the worst reception and call quality when compared to others likeVerizon and T-Mobile. Plus, the plans for Nextel are largely based around the assumption that you’ll be using the PTTservice. Free incoming calls are great, but who wants to make them?
Sprint’s Power Vision service is a feature similar to Verizon’s VCAST with lots of media and downloadable content available. Again, it’s just a rehash of video clips and overpriced songs for phones that are loaded with DRM. ESPN and sports fans might enjoy the immense offerings of sports clips and downloads though, but it’s probably not worth the trouble.
As far as plans go, you do get unlimited calling after 7pm (which is awesome). For most other providers, the “Nights” part of “Nights and Weekends” means 9pm. Those looking to save by calling in the evening should definitely check out Sprint. They also offer overage rates at $.10 a minute, which is great if you accidentally go over while you’re on vacation or are in a similar situation. Sprint has a vast array of options with their plans, so only you can determine if they’ll work for you. Maybe you’re comfortable with free incoming calls. Maybe you don’t mind balancing your minutes. It’s up to you.
Sprint and Nextel could probably be considered the underdog out of the big 4 wireless providers, but the truth is they are just different. Those of you needing PTT service should just skipeveryone else and go right to Sprint, no questions asked. Sprint does offer some very nice phones too like the Samsung A-900 and has great plans to compliment powerful media phones. Talk to someoneat Sprint/Nextel in detail before committing to anything with them, and see if they are what you may be looking for. Boost Mobile (www.boostmobile.com)
The Sprint/Nextel prepay company is known as Boost Mobile. Targeted at teenagers and hipsters, this phone company offers a mediocre variety of phones to choose from with PTT capabilities. However,you’ll find this it’s not the cheapest pre-paid service in town. At 20 cents a minute during the day and a dollar a day to use PTT features, you’re already up to at least $45 a month in costs. Pay asyou go can work for some, but for the rest of us it’s a waste of time and resources. With Boost Mobile, you’ll probably be paying a lot more for minutes in the long run. Amp’d Mobile (www.ampdmobile.com)
Amp’d Mobile is a newcomer leeching onto Verizon’s CDMA service. They offer a limited selection of phones, but hype big entertainment features. They see themobile phone market as less of a phone market and more of an entertainment experience. Lucky for them, plenty of people also agree, and right now you can get some pretty decent deals from Amp’dmobile. Their pay-as-you-go deals offer premium entertainment at decent costs and talk time for only $.10 a minute. Music downloads are $.99 and MMS messages are a quarter each. Very fair. Amp’d isalso offering plans where you can get everything in unlimited bunches. Unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited downloads. We highly suggest you check them out if you’re an entertainment junkie.