Cell Phones. Sometimes it’s hard for us to understand how much we come to rely on them. Being the techno-nerd I’ve had a cell phone for almost 12 years now, back then there were no free weekends and your phone weighed as much as a gallon of milk! But phones have come along way and so have the plans and companies that offer them. I still get questions to this day from friends about their phones and how to save money with them.
If it is your first phone you will need to decide what carrier you will want to purchase a phone and service from or which provider you want to switch to if you are unhappy. I don’t suggest buying phones from eBay or anywhere else that offers a phone with no service. The cell phone companies will not support just any phone. There are a few determining factors you should consider when shopping around.
Service in your “Home Area” should be the number one priority. Your home area is where you will be using your phone most, usually around your home and work place. This is also how they will assign your phone number. Usually it’s assigned by where you purchase your phone and your local address. You don’t usually want a phone number from another area. If you live in Maryland you don’t want a New York City local number. Everyone in Maryland that tries to call you will have to pay long distance to call you. Of course there could be exceptions such as you commute into a city but live in a different area code. If you have special circumstances talk to the phone representative about it.
How do you know if the service is good? Friends are your best bet. We all have that one friend who is on the phone more than any one person should be so ask them what provider they use and if they are happy. Almost every single Rep you talk to will try to be honest with you about service. But they don’t live exactly where you live and a lot of times can’t say for certain. There are always a few bad apples and some times you will get told the service is great when it won’t be for you and even a few rare cases years ago where some stores had signal amplifiers hidden in the store to boost the signal. You’re safest bet is buying direct from the company store.
There is also coverage versus service. Coverage is an area where the company has towers or agreements with other companies that have towers. Service is the actual usable signal. Usually you will see coverage as big colored splotches covering the map. There are places within that coverage where you will get no signal. So even though your house is covered with a splotch of color doesn’t mean you’ll get a signal there or a good enough signal to use.
Where you use the phone effects the signal too such as being up in the mountains or out in the middle of no where. Being in a basement or large building with lots of metal and concrete can block some of the signal. You will want to do your research so that you can use your phone as many places as possible.
Stay tuned! I’ll be going into the actual phones in my next article!