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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
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
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 experience
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
-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.
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 after 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 sports scores?
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
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
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
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 FREE calls.
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 cellular service.
*NOTE* Just BE SURE you do NOT sign
any contract until you have carefully thought and read through