Shopping for a new phone plan can be tons of fun. But it can also be tricky and even a bit stressful! After all, you don’t want to pick up a phone plan that locks you into bad data policies, bad coverage, or high costs. So it pays to do a ton of research before signing on any dotted lines.
If you don’t have a lot of time, however, you can instead consider this detailed guide. Let’s break down everything you need to know about looking for a new phone plan this winter and beyond.
When you are looking for mobile plans, you should compare the coverage that each plan can offer you and your family first and foremost. The last thing you want is to get a new phone plan, then find that it can’t provide a stable connection between you and another caller when you are driving between states or cities.
You can find plenty of big network coverage maps online, especially for providers like Verizon or T-Mobile. In any case, try to go with a phone plan from a provider that offers nearly perfect US continental coverage. Coverage becomes a little worse on the ocean, of course, but a good phone provider should have excellent coverage so long as you are within the contiguous US.
You may also want to go with a phone plan provider that offers excellent coverage in nearby countries like Canada and Mexico, particularly if you have family members there or vacation in those countries frequently.
Consider Cost per Line
Next, be sure to consider the overall cost of a phone plan on a per-line basis. Some phone plan providers can try to trick you by appearing to provide low prices. In actuality, you may be locked into paying for a certain number of lines by default, which makes the price higher than it seems on paper.
Generally, budget-friendly phone plans will have phone lines available around the $30-$40 range. Pricier phone plans, which usually come with extra perks, are more likely to be around $50-$75 per line. Think about how many lines you need for you and any family members you’ll include on the plan before signing any contracts.
Don’t Forget Hotspot Data
Mobile phone plans don’t just provide mobile call connectivity. They also offer hotspot data, usually between 5 GB and 25 GB per month or per year depending on your provider. If you use hotspot data frequently, you’ll want to go with a mobile phone plan that offers a lot of hotspot data per month, or that at least gives you the option to purchase more hotspot data on the go when needed.
Most hotspot data purchases cost anywhere between $5 and $10 for a few gigabytes of extra data. Still, that extra data can add up if you use it thoughtlessly, so it may be wiser to go with a mobile phone plan provider that offers a generous hotspot data cap each month.
4G or 5G?
Naturally, you should pick up a phone plan that offers 5G connectivity and fast download speeds if this matters to you. It’s mostly useful if you stream a lot of shows or visual media to your mobile device. However, if you just use your phone for basic web surfing, 4G or 4G LTE connectivity is likely fine.
5G phone plans are usually a little pricier, but not always. Remember that, sooner or later, 5G connectivity will become the standard or default offering available from mobile phone plans. If you want to get in on this sooner than the rest of the market, prioritize a 5G phone plan from the get-go.
Think About Extra Features/Perks
Lastly, consider what extra features or perks a phone plan may come with. For example, Verizon offers a premium phone plan that comes with streaming subscriptions to services like Netflix and Disney+. Meanwhile, RedPocket’s phone plan comes with unlimited talking and texting in countries like Canada and Mexico: perfect if you vacation to those regions frequently or if you have family members who live there.
Extra features and perks can make or break a phone plan in some cases. In others, you can use them as tiebreakers. For instance, if you have two phone plans that are very similar to each other in terms of price and data allowances, their perks or extra features may help you choose which of the two is ultimately best for you and your family.
In the end, so long as you consider the above major factors, you’ll pick the perfect phone plan for you and your family no matter what your needs are price limitations might be. Getting a new phone plan should be fun, not stressful – remember to choose a phone based on the above attributes to ensure your phone plan works for you instead of the other way around!