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Choosing a phone carrier decades ago wasn’t all that difficult. It meant deciding between AT&T with its steady collection of outstanding devices and Verizon with its massive network. 

When existing competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint announced new pricing and plan structures, new smaller players started to pop out. 

Thus, choosing a phone carrier now is by no means simple. While some people like to stick with the company they’ve been with forever, others are starting to notice the opportunities in switching to a new carrier. 

If you’re considering moving to a new phone carrier, here are some things you should consider to find the best ones: 

Smaller carriers like Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, Google Fi, and Ting are often suitable for people with modest data needs and can enjoy their affordable prepaid services. 

For the heavy data users, though, particularly those who need three or more phone lines, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the offerings of big carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. 

  • Think Of The Coverage

Whether you go big or go small may depend on the carrier’s coverage. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a plan that ticks off all requirements you need if you end up on a network with lousy cell service. Thus, choosing a carrier with strong coverage in your hometown should be a top priority. 

So, how do you figure out which carriers are good? A measure of network coverage and quality would be independent tests on carriers. For instance, Navi published this Verizon vs ATT coverage and plan structure comparison to make it easier for people to understand the carriers’ coverage.

You can also visit each phone network provider’s website and take a look at their coverage maps to provide you with a glimpse of whether they have cell towers built throughout your neighborhood. 

However, coverage maps often offer an incomplete assessment. For instance, Verizon’s map shows that New York is dotted with their cell towers. Yet with so many Verizon subscribers living there, the network may still lack the capacity to provide consistent services to everyone. 

In general, large carriers will always have a distinct advantage over small carriers. They have the country covered with their high-speed 4G internet service and are steadily building new 5G networks. 

  • Ask Neighbors And Friends

Word of mouth goes a long way. While you can search the internet for the reliability and quality of a specific phone carrier, those references don’t consider the small dead zones in your home or neighborhood. 

Thus, consider asking local friends and neighborhoods with a subscription to a specific network you’re eyeing for an assessment on reliability and speed. 

  • Device Offerings

One of the most significant factors that affect phone carrier choices is the array of their offered devices. The good news is that most network carriers usually offer the latest phone releases of manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, and Google. The only difference would be the pricing and plan structure. 

Take note, however, that when you purchase a new mobile phone handset from a specific phone carrier, that phone may be locked to that particular provider for a fixed length of time. This means that the handset can’t be used on a different network even if you change to a new plan or purchase a new sim card from another carrier. 

If you wish to use a different provider or network, you’ll have to pay an unlocking fee. So, if you bought or leased a phone as part of a carrier plan, you need to check your options before signing up with a phone carrier. 

  • Length of Contract

In general, phone carriers offer a range of contract options suitable for different preferences and needs. 

Most phone carriers offer a month-to-month casual plan and even have a long-term contract of up to two years. Depending on the network provider, there may be a charge for a casual plan compared to the long-term contract or a difference in their plan inclusions. 

Some carriers also offer a prepaid option suitable for low to moderate data users. 

  • Contract Terms And Conditions

Before agreeing to a service, you need to know what you’re getting into and check the carrier’s terms and conditions. Make sure to ask about:

  • Early termination fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Installation fees
  • Terms for special offers and discounts
  • Charges for calls, going over texts, or data limits

You can’t negotiate the terms and conditions for phone carrier contracts. However, knowing these can help you compare providers and get a better deal. 

Takeaway

Choosing a new phone carrier shouldn’t be as stressful. By following the tips mentioned here, you can take home the right phone with the right plan from the right carrier for your needs. 

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