Before Getting A New Cellular Phone
|Written by: Saving Secrets |
Submitted On: 2/12/2004
|It seems like these days there are a million and one different cellular phones
and plans on the market all claiming to be the best. How in world do you decide
on which one to signup with?
Many people sign up for a $100 a month service plan, but only end up using
about 20% of the allocated minutes! Others, sign up for "across the country"
plans costing nearly $150 a month, but rarely travel outside their own state!
Today, you can generally find quite a number of local providers offering a wide
variety of services to both individuals and businesses alike. Here are some
tips to help you make the most of your cellular phone experience.
*MOST IMPORTANT: Talk To Your Friends & Neighbors
The most valuable advice that mostly everyone forgets to take into
consideration is the "friend factor".
More than likely, you have a few friends, family members, neighbors who
have cellular phones. The best way to learn about their particular phone and
service provider is to simply ask them. Within minutes, you can find out how
well they like their phone, service provider, and most importantly - the
reception and clarity of calls.
Reception is THE MOST IMPORTANT factor to consider. For those of you
familiar with cell phone static, garbled noise, echoing voices, and dropped
calls, I think you'll agree these annoyances will make your cell phone
Regardless if you have the BEST phone, with the MOST minutes, for the
CHEAPEST price, if you are NOT with a company that provides a solid
clear reception for incoming and outgoing calls, you will be VERY
disappointed and angry since you probably signed a 1-2 year contract.
Take my word for it. I have been with four different service providers over
the past five years and the ONLY reason I kept switching was due to my
dissatisfaction with the reception. It wasn't due to a lack of phone features,
or even minutes provided, that can always be adjusted later or solved with
the purchase of a higher end, more expensive phone. It ALL came down
to the clarity of my cell phone calls, both incoming and outgoing.
Trust me, the first time you can't understand, or unexpectantly lose an
important phone call, you'll remember this article and say "That guy
from SavingSecrets.com told me about this!"
What can you do to educate yourself about cellular service? Talk to anyone
you know who owns a cell phone. You can approach this topic by simply
saying "Hey, I'm planning on getting a cellular phone but I am a little
unsure of which service provider to sign up with. There are so many
options out there, I want to make sure I do my research before signing a
contract. Could you tell me a little about your particular phone and
service provider, and please be honest."
Then, just make sure you ask these type of questions:
-How do you like your phone?
-When did you get it - cost/plan/minutes provided?
-Who is your service provider?
-Do you have clarity issues ie: alot of static, dropped calls?
-What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
Personally, I recommend speaking to at least ten different people
so you not only hear different opinions, but you can compare notes
and see if you can find any consistencies amongst phones/providers.
ALSO, I found these Internet links to sites that provide various comparisons
that you might find helpful. Check out:
Cell Phone Comparisons
allows you to actually input your information and will find other providers
and price options in your area. (have your bill handy for exact specific information)
Before you decide on a company/policy that best suits your needs, you MUST
determine what type of cell phone 'user' you'll be. This will save you money month
Take a moment to reflect on when you will be using your phone the most. Is
your cell phone for business purposes? For personal use? Just on the weekends?
What time of the day will you use the phone most?
Know the answers to these questions before signing any type of cellular phone
service agreement. It will help guarantee you get the best deal for your money.
Other important information to know:
- Monthly Service Charge
- Number of Minutes Included in Plan
- Type of "FREE" minutes- weekend or anytime
- Per Minute Charge: Peek, Off Peak, Weekend
- Local Coverage Area
- Long Distance Charges
- Roaming Charges
WHAT PHONE TO GET?
This question can only be answered by you. Do you really NEED a cell phone
that can play games, store thousands of names and numbers, and get the latest
If you just want a cell phone to make occasional phone calls, you can probably
settle for a $50 phone. Better yet, most carriers offer FREE phones with the
signing of a service agreement (generally 1-2 years).
IMPORTANT - Make sure you try out the phone before you buy it. This is your
chance to test the product. Is it too small? Are the buttons a good size for you
fingers? How's the clarity? etc. . .
All service providers will let you make a phone call on the phone you're interested
in buying. Try, before you buy! And don't just stand in the storeroom. *make your
you ask first*, but walk around outside. Go into a neighboring store. Get in your
car. Did the signal stay strong?
Also, have a friend call you on the phone so you can check how an incoming
call sounds. If possible, have a friend call you from a cell phone to check what
a cell-to-cell call sounds like.
ALREADY HAVE A CELL PHONE?
Analyze the bill over the past two or three months. Do you see a calling pattern?
When do you call more during the week or on weekends?
Write down an estimate of the hours you spend during peek (7am-7pm), off peak
(7pm-7am) and weekend hours (Fri 12am-Sun 12am). Once you have an idea of
when you spend your time on the phone, you can then speak with a service
representative about changing to a plan that might better fit your needs.
If you did happen to sign a 1-2 year contract, ask what type of switching/changing
options you have. Remember to be courteous and nice. It will not help to start
shouting and screaming because then the representatives will not be inclined
to help you. They'll simply say "You signed the contract."
Just politely state: "I am happy with your service and would like to remain your
faithful customer, but I need have something adjusted...."
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
Be sure and take advantage of the services offered from your provider. You will
find that many companies offer FREE mobile to mobile (the person you call has
the same carrier), and most offer plans with FREE weekend minutes.
Use up those FREE minutes. Instead of using your home phone on the weekends,
use your cel phone. Just be sure that the numbers you are dialing constitute as
Remember, any questions you have pertaining to your cell phone or bill, don't
hesitate to call your service provider. Most offer toll free 800 numbers for easy
access to telephone assistance. You might also want to check out their web
site, if applicable.
The best advice to give to cell phone users is to educate yourself as much as
possible. Find out what services are offered in your area. TALK TO people you
know who have cell phones and ASK them what they think of their service.
You'll be able to tell right away if they are 'happy' or 'frustrated' with their
*NOTE* Just BE SURE you do NOT sign any contract until you have carefully
thought and read through everything.
Written by Gregory Thomas, editor of http://www.SavingSecrets.com
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