Make Sense of the Cell Phone Market Choosing a Cell Phone Plan

It seems that everyone has a cell phone. When moving away from home, many young adults will contemplate whether or not to buy a long-distance plan from a local phone company or purchase a cell phone plan with long-distance minutes. If you decide to purchase a cell phone, here are some helpful tips when choosing a plan that is right for you.

You must first choose which type of service you want. This depends on where you are planning to call and how much you are willing to pay. There are three choices: analog, digital, and Personal Communications Services (PCS). The call quality of analog has been rated "poor" while digital and PCS are both "very clear". Another difference is that the analog batteries will only last for one or two hours of talk time while the digital and PCS batteries will last for almost ten hours. For more in-depth comparisons, check out the table at www.fcc.gov/cib/cell_phones.html.

Next, ask yourself the questions listed below to determine what services you need. The answers will help you select the plan that is best for you.

• Will you use your cell phone for long-distance calls?
It is often cheaper to find a wireless plan that will allow you to make long-distance calls rather than going through a local telephone company.
• On average, how long do you expect each call to last?
Your plan may have high fees for exceeding the given amount of minutes for your billing period.
• When will you be making most of your calls?
Many cell phone plans practically ‘give away’ night and weekend minutes. Also, most companies provide free holiday minutes.
• How many people will you be giving your cell phone number to?
You will be charged for making and receiving calls.
• How often will you be using your phone outside of your home calling area?
It is important to know the boundaries of your home calling area!
• Will you be charged roaming fees?

Wireless phone companies make a large profit from roaming charges. If you are outside of your home area and you use your cell phone you may be in for the shock of your life when you receive your bill and see the "roaming" charges.

Once you have answered these questions, you need to find a provider. There are hundreds of cell phone providers in the U.S. You can find providers in the Yellow Pages under "Cellular Telephone Service", local newspapers, and over the Internet. In conclusion, there are many facts to consider while choosing a cell phone and a provider. Research different providers around your town and compare their services with the charges. Be careful, and choose the best plan for you.

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