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How to Choose Your Wireless Phone Company
Its not at all difficult to find a wireless phone service you will be happy with; whether it is Cellular, PCS, or whatever else they want to call it. And, WirelessAdvisor.com will help make the experience much easier and less stressful.
WirelessAdvisor.com operates on the principle that the more knowledge you have when you decide to buy something, the more comfortable you will be at the time of purchase and the more satisfied you will be with the service you receive.
WirelessAdvisor.com is here to supply you with all the knowledge you need to find the best wireless communications plan for your unique calling needs.
Let's make one thing clear before we get down to the process --
That is the most important point to remember when looking for a wireless phone company. Don't just pick the wireless carrier with the most ads, pick the one that will best fill your needs.
Do you know that there may be as many as ten or more different companies who can provide you with wireless communications in your area?! If you're like most people, you can probably name only about two or three of them. We're not talking about ten different neighborhood cellular stores named something like 'Fred's Cellular Barn' - we're talking about ten large companies like the one that sends you a 'regular' phone bill every month. Each of these companies offer different calling plans, rates, phones and features. It may sound a bit confusing at first, but this situation is all really to your advantage. Each of these companies is competing against all the others for your business! If you can manage to cut through the confusion, you can find a great deal on cellular phone service and be confident with your purchase.
WirelessAdvisor.com was built to cut through the confusion and get you all the information you need to be a confident and satisfied buyer of wireless service.
OK, enough about what we can do for you - if we could do it all we would, but that is just not possible - yet! Now that you know what WirelessAdvisor.com can do for you, here is what you need to do for yourself - THINK!
The process of selecting a wireless phone service carrier and getting signed up for service can be broken down into six simple steps. The first of these steps involve a little thinking on your part - don't worry, it won't be too difficult. It's just like buying a car or anything for that matter, you wouldn't go buy a car without thinking about how you are going to use it and how much you want to spend - would you?
Lets take a look at the steps to consider when shopping for wireless service.
The Six Steps of Shopping for a Wireless Service
- Think about Where, How and When you will use your wireless phone.
- Think about how much you want to spend each month for wireless service.
- Determine which companies provide wireless service in your area.
- Investigate each carrier's calling plans, rates, features and phones.
- Match a plan to your needs and budget.
- Sign-up for service.
Let's look at each step in more detail...
Where, How and When --
Probably the most important of these questions is WHERE you will use your wireless phone, so we'll start with that. Is there a particular area from which you will make most of your calls - home, work, in transit? One way to think about this is to relate it your transportation. Where do you travel most? Your local area? Other states? Different countries? Also think about specifically where in these areas you might make calls: Along particular highways? In specific buildings? On a bus or a train?
Keeping in mind where you will make calls from will make it easy to know what you need from a wireless service in terms of:
- The size and shape of local toll-free calling area
- System coverage area
- Roaming needs
- The effect of obstructions, buildings, valleys and mountains on your service
The next thing to think about is HOW you will use your wireless phone. Think about your regular old land line phone services. Are there features of those services that you really like or need? Do you like having voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, etc? Are you hooked on your pager or email?
Keeping in mind how you will use your wireless phone and how important special features are to you will make it easy to determine you needs in terms of:Voice mail
- Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, etc.
- Test Messaging and IMs
- Other special features and their costs
Another very important issue is WHEN and for how long you will use your wireless phone. While you probably want to have it on hand ready to use anytime, there is likely a certain part of the day or certain days of the week when most of your calls will occur. When you use the wireless phone, goes hand in hand with where. If you have determined that you will make most of your calls during your commute, that in turn also narrows down the time of day that you will make most of your calls. Most people make their calls during regular working hours on regular work days. That's why most carriers define these hours as peak time.
Keeping in mind when you will use your wireless phone and the length of the calls you will make, helps you easily determine you needs in terms of:
- Peak/Off-peak minutes
- Weekend/weekday usage
- Emergency usage
How much you would like to spend each month for wireless service --
Sure - you want to use your phone everywhere, have every feature available and use the phone constantly. You can do that - but you'll have to pay for it.
Most people love their wireless service... until they get an unexpectedly huge . This isn't your plain old telephone service. Even if you get a great deal, wireless is more expensive than regular phone service.
Only you can say how much you want to spend for your wireless service, but no matter how much it is you want to get the most value for your money. Obviously, to get a rough idea of how much wireless service will cost, you need to think about how much you are going to be talking on the phone; this will be a much easier task for experienced cell phone users.
Here are a few points to remember when estimating your costs for service:
- The monthly fee, which generally includes a certain number of free minutes, is charged whether you talk on the phone or not. (Those free minutes are not really free, just included in the package)
- Generally, the more minutes you sign up for, the lower the cost per minute.
- You may pay for calls both made and received.
- Long distance calls may cost more on some plans.
- Calls made outside your home coverage area, called roaming, cost more.
- Watch out for extra fees.
- Email, texting and data will add to your costs.
- If the wireless company requires an activation fee to start the service, divide that fee by the number of months in the service contract(if any) and add it to the monthly fee to figure out your true monthly cost.
- There are also a number of taxes and fees that are added to your monthly bill by government entities.
Moving right along...
Find out which companies provide wireless service in your area --
A moment ago we told you that there could be as many as ten or more different large companies offering wireless service in your area and that you probably only know the names of two or three of them. The truth is it is very confusing right now, but its very important that you investigate all of your options. It is well worth the effort - especially since WirelessAdvisor.com is going to make it so easy to do!
How do I find out which companies serve my area????
The WirelessAdvisor.com web site was build to answer that difficult question with ease and without the sales pitch of a dealer. After entering your ZIP code into our search engine, WirelessAdvisor.com will search out the specific group of companies, out of the hundreds serving the U.S., licensed to sell you wireless service.
If you haven't already done it, why don't you give the WirelessAdvisor.com search engine a try now, and then come back to find out what to do with all this new information.
Take a look at the names of the companies listed for your ZIP code. You may have never heard of many of these companies, but that's OK - now you know who they are. Two quick notes about the list of companies; 1) The list produced by the ZIP code search is comprehensive, but some of the companies may not yet actually be providing service to your area. We thought it would be best if we gave you all the names anyway because sometimes the new carriers offer great deals as soon as they turn on the service, 2) Also very important - we always recommended that you contact a carrier directly to get the most up-to-date and accurate information about their service and coverage.
On to the next step...
Investigate each carrier's service plans and phones --
How do you do that you might ask...?
While WirelessAdvisor.com itself does not maintain information about every carrier's rates and phone offerings, we are the best way to get in touch with each company to get the freshest information straight from the horse's mouth. Most of these companies maintain very detailed and user friendly Web sites. We have found that each carrier's own web site is the best and only place on the web to get up-to-date rates. If any company you are interested in has provided a link FROM the WirelessAdvisor.com, just click and go. If there is no direct link, there may be a customer service, toll-free phone number listed, or if all else fails just look in your local telephone directory.
Once you have the list, here are some points to remember when looking more closely at each company's offerings.
- Don't dismiss any of the carriers simply because they are new, or simply because they have been around awhile and you think you know them. You may have some misconceptions about either the upstarts or the familiar names on the list, don't! - ALL of the companies on the list are very eager for your wireless calling business - take a look at what they all have to offer.
- Do some other research on the web. Take a look at our list of links for some other great sources of information, particularly if you are looking for wireless service outside the United States.
- Ask friends, or anyone you know with wireless phone service, what they think about the company they are signed up with.
- Ask strangers - even people you will never meet can be very helpful when deciding on a wireless service. One of the best ways to get other peoples opinions is to check out our Discussion Forums. There you can read through other's questions and answers or post your own.
- Check with WirelessAdvisor.com often! The growth and changes that occur daily in wireless telecommunications is truly staggering. There are always new deals, specials and features to make your wireless service more valuable. WirelessAdvisor.com will always be able to direct you to the most up-to-date information. And, if you like, if you give us an email address and a ZIP code and we will automatically notify you as soon as things change.
Match a plan to your needs and budget --
By now you have a lot of information in front of you, and you are a much more educated consumer. Hopefully WirelessAdvisor.com has helped you find deals you would never have known existed. We're not saying this step is easy, but now you know what you need in a wireless service, and you know what everybody is offering. You can now make an intelligent choice. Always remember that these wireless companies want your business very badly, so look and ask for special promotions that may not be widely advertised.
And now the final step...
Sign-up for service --
If you have done a little thinking and have used the WirelessAdvisor.com to help you, you should be pretty confident that you have found the service that fits you best. Read the contract before you sign it!
And, if you signed up with the first wireless carrier you looked at and become unhappy, we'll be here to help you find another. Most wireless phone companies offer a 14 to 30 day trial period during which you can cancel your service with a termination fee.
Have fun with your wireless service!