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There Are So Many Cell Phone Plans -- Which Is Right For Me?

Chickie Maxwell

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Providers of wireless services offer a variety of cell phone plans to meet varying needs of today’s cell phone users. Millions of people use cell phones as their primary method of communication. However, usage needs can vary extremely from person to person. With that said, most wireless providers offer several options in an effort to provide a cell phone plan to meets everyone's individual needs.

What are the plan options?

Most major carriers offer the options of choosing an individual, family, or prepaid cell phone plan. A single person who is an infrequent cell phone user, or perhaps needs a phone only for emergency situations might opt for an individual plan with as low as 300 talk minutes whereas a family of 2 or more would likely require more minutes and would find a family plan which combines minutes a better fit. Most individual and family plans, however, require the subscriber to sign a one or two-year contract. Prepaid plans are available for individual cell phone users who would rather secure a set amount of minutes each month with a single payment versus signing a lengthy contract and risking the chance of being assessed early termination fees.

Additional Options

Most carriers provide additional options which the subscriber can add to his or her cell phone plan such as text messaging, Internet and data services. Similar to the options provided for voice usage, most providers allow the subscriber to bundle these services to provide maximum usage potential. For instance, many providers offer minimum text messaging bundles that include as few as 200 text messages per month up to unlimited text messaging options. Likewise, options for data range from 1MB of data to unlimited data usage allowing the subscriber to unlimited Internet and E-mail access. Furthermore, many carriers offer cost savings if the subscriber opts to bundle voice, text, and data together.

In addition to usage add-ons, many providers also offer options such as equipment protection plans, which provide the subscriber with a form of “insurance” in the event that the phone ends up lost, stolen, or damaged and will provide the subscriber with repair or replacement with a new or refurbished phone. Some companies will also offer optional roadside assistance as an addition to a contracted cell phone plan, which provides the customer with convenient services such as towing, tire changing, fuel delivery, and battery boost.

Choosing the Right Plan and Services

You will want to take several things into consideration while searching for the cell phone plan that is right for you, beginning with the amount of money you wish to spend each month for your wireless service. Next, consider how many people will be sharing your plan, the amount of minutes needed, the importance of data usage such as Internet and E-mail access, and contract length and termination fees. Finally, consider the reputation of the carrier you are choosing to service your wireless needs, as you will likely be confined to a contract for at least a year.

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