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☛ Comparing cell phone plans 8-30-17

COMPARING CELL PHONE PLANS

 

CARRIERS, CONTRACTS, PREPAID, CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Aug. 30, 2017

 Traversing the maze of cell phones and plans seeking the best deal can become an arduous affair, especially when a litany of cell phones and cell phone plans occupy the open market. Every major cell phone carrier, including Verizon, ATT, Sprint and T-Mobile, offer an array of plans with each plan strategically designed to lure shoppers in and make them spend their money. Smaller or sub-companies such as Boost Mobile, US Cellular, Walmart Straight Talk, Virgin Wireless also offer their own cell plans with the same philosophy in mind: making money. Cell phone plans are basically of two variety types: prepaid and postpaid.

 

Prepaid cell phone plans are paid in advance with the consumer picking the types of services he or she is willing to pay for.

 

Postpaid plans are paid after the service is provided. Each plan type offers a myriad of services to the consumer and the pricing structure is made in advance of the purchase. There are services that include talk only, talk and text, up to the more advances services that include talk, text and data. Further, there are national plans and international plans. Each service provider or (cell phone carrier) advertises a myriad of plans and are generally in line with the number of gigabytes (GB) of data you require. Data plans generally start with one (GB) of data and top out with the unlimited GB variety. However, there are some differences between prepaid and postpaid plans so thoroughly research each plan carefully.

 

SMALLER CARRIERS VERSUS LARGE CARRIERS

Lately the cell phone market has been inundated with enough cell-phone plans to make your head swim. However, the major differences among cell phone plans are the plans offered by the major carrier versus the smaller carriers. Generally speaking, the smaller carriers purchase data time from the major carriers at wholesale pricing, allowing the smaller carrier to sell cell phone plans at a reduced rate.

 

In theory, the only differences between major versus minor cell phone carriers are the types of phones sold and the abilities of these lower-end market phones to reliably pick up signals provided by each one’s cell-phone towers, enabling the phones to function smoothly.

 

However, while researching the Internet, I did determine there were a lot of complaints from customers about reception with the lower-end priced phones. Today, the smaller cell-phone carriers generally dealing in lower-end priced phones are providing their customers with a combination of low-end priced phones as well as the higher or state-of-the-art phones such as the Apple iPhones. These are the same type of cell phones provided by the major carriers. Theoretically, this should offer the small cell-phone carrier customers with the ability to have the same reception as the major carriers. Time will tell.

 

CELL PHONE CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINTS

My research was conclusive in one specific category and that is customer service complaints. The customer-service ratings of the major carriers, as well as smaller carriers, are very poor. In an article by Consumer Reports entitled, “Best Cell-Phone Companies: Is a Big Carrier or a Small Provider Right for You?” by Mike Gikas, the author offers a comparison of providers: Find out how Consumer Cellular, Ting, and other smaller companies compare with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in Consumer Reports’ exclusive new survey. In the article, Mr. Gikas offers a compelling analogy of all carriers.
Click for carrier article>>

 In still another article entitled, “Five Reasons you may want to consider prepaid mobile,” written by Nate Swanner, he offers his own analogy of the pros and cons of prepaid versus postpaid wireless service. In his report, Mr. Swanner states, “As new prepaid plans become more and more ambitious, customers are starting to wonder if they should think about what life might be like on the other side of a contract. Prepaid has a hollow ring for many, as readers tend to see it as a second-rung alternative to a ‘proper’ plan and service. If that’s your thinking, we’ve got a few reasons why you should reconsider prepaid for your next smart phone. You never know, reading this article might actually save you some money!

 

PREPAID SERVICE

Some customers tend to think that they’ll get worse service with a prepaid plan. That’s a fair assumption, but not always correct.

 

If you were to go through a carrier that doesn’t have its own network (they are referred to as an MVNO), you would technically be piggybacking onto a network. Boost, for instance, works on the Sprint network. They don’t have their own towers. Spectrum “rents” space from Sprint.

 

That doesn’t make them any less a carrier, but it’s something to consider. If you were to go prepaid from a carrier like T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon, you’d get the same service and coverage as you would from a subsidized plan. Although it’s not fair to consider an MVNO “lesser-than,” it’s a consideration to make.

 

FREEDOM

Prepaid plans can bring some freedoms you might not utilize at every turn but they’re nice to have. For instance, you can switch plans any time you like. If you find a different plan that works better for you, just switch! There’s no fuss. You can just choose a different plan, even with a different carrier!

 

This is especially handy when traveling. If you’re going away for a period of time and you find coverage in the area you’re going to isn’t what you want with the carrier you have (we suggest “Open Signal” for this), just get a new SIM card from a carrier that might work better. For a few days or weeks, you use that SIM card, and life goes on relatively uninterrupted.

 

You might have a new phone number with the new SIM card, but that’s a small price to pay for reliable coverage when you need it. It won’t work across the board, as Verizon and Sprint use different technology than T-Mobile and AT&T do, but it’s definitely a nice option. The complete article by Mr. Swanner follows:

Click for Swanner’s article>>

 

 CONTRACT VERSUS NO CONTRACT

More specifically, previous cell-phone plans with all major carriers required a contract for a specific amount of time. Today, they’d like you to think there are no contracts but that’s not exactly true. Essentially, each major carrier operates on a specific band referred to as (CDMA) and (GSM). Each carrier orders phones from cell phone manufacturers to their specification and locked to a specific carrier’s band, which essentially are in a locked position, thus restricting it to that band. Verizon phones and Sprint phones work off of the (CDMA). ATT and T-Mobile work off of the (GSM) band.

 

Each band was explained in a previous article. Also, the smaller carriers who purchase services from the major carriers and in-turn sell it to their consumers, also carry the specific cell-phone types that work on their band. Further, each major carrier offers a deal for buying their phones, such as the ATT’s Next Plan, which offers pricing for the phone for an extended period of time – or in this case three years. Also, it’s a little known fact that these cell phones are being sold at the manufacturer’s full retail price.

 

Therefore, by the time you pay off your phone, it’s virtually worthless considering the rapid depreciation of the cell phone in today’s market. Thus the major carrier financing the cell phone is in the virtual moneymaking market with each new sale. Further, cell-phone manufacturers are consistently redesigning cell phones with new characteristics and updated advances in updated models, specifically designed to attract new purchasers with each annual product release.

 

The irony of advertisement stipulating service without contract is essentially a half-hearted truth, simply because cheaper financing sounds good but your locked into the carrier for the specific time of the pricing/payment agreement, essentially placing you on contract. Sure you can pay your phone off if you want to but you’re only able to move to a carrier that your phone is adaptable to. The unlocked cell phone is more appealing at this point but requires paying full price for the phone up front at purchase. Before purchasing an unlocked phone make sure the unlocked version of your favorite phone will work on all carrier systems after purchase.

 

CELL PHONE CARRIER COMPARISONS

A little research will provide you with all of the comparative studies on the market today as well as the pricing advantage or disadvantage of each before you sign up. In order to help you along, I’ve provided one in this article. Just click on the following links and they will provide the reader with an assortment of answers, including which carrier has the best or worst coverage or customer service. One thing I learned from this research is that Walmart’s Straight Talk advertises “working on all major carrier bands” and is the only one with such specifications.

Click for Who Has The Best Coverage>> 

Click for Verizon versus ATT>>

 

“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Office.Mobile: (985) 630-3500

Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

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