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Choosing a Cell Phone Plan Tips

Read these 5 Choosing a Cell Phone Plan Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cellphone tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What should I know about family cell phone calling plans?

Family Cell Phone Calling Plans

If you have multiple relatives wanting to get in on a family cell phone deal, make sure the whole family understands the fine print when it comes to the terms the cell phone offers. Your family may understand that text messages are free, but do they realize that some companies charge airtime for those texts? If you go over your daytime minutes you could be charged airtime "per minute" charges as per your cell phone voice plan agreement.

If you are signing up a student heading off to college, some major cell phone companies require you to sign those students for your family cell phone deal in your calling area, not the calling area the student lives in while at school. If that student goes abroad, international roaming rates may apply for text and picture messaging, not just cell phone voice plan minutes. International roaming rates vary, but some cell phone services charge around 70 cents per minute. Make sure everyone on your cell phone calling plan understands all the charges and how they can add up.

   
What should I do if my account is deactivated?

My Cell Phone Calling Plan Has Been Deactivated. Help!

If your cell phone calling plan has been deactivated, contact the cell phone provider right away to settle the account and have your service reinstated. Cell phone billing policies for many major companies allows full reinstatement of a cell phone calling plan if you pay the overdue amount of your bill plus a small reactivation fee.

Those who wait too long will have the account terminated which includes any fees for early termination. You may be required to open a new account based on current cell phone deals, rather than the ones you started off with if the account has been fully terminated rather than simply deactivated. The fees for early termination of an account are much higher than the fees for account reactivation. Save money by contacting your cell phone provider as soon as possible.

   
Can I get a combined, unlimited voice and data plan?

Can I Get A Combined, Unlimited Cell Phone Voice And Data Plan?

There are plenty of variations on the current cell phone promotions offered by major carriers, but for those on the go, the most hassle-free combination plan is an unlimited voice and data cell phone offer.

Unlimited plans keep you from having to worry about paying overage fees for voice or data transmissions; having a data plan means you can download attachments as well as email. That feature is perfect for business documents, sending vacation cell phone pics, or video messaging. Before signing up for an unlimited voice and data plan, be sure to check the company's coverage map. Make sure both voice and data services are available in your calling area, and in the areas you may travel to regularly for business.

It wouldn't do to sign up for the current cell phone promotion that doesn't work in the places you're required to travel to often on the job! The make and model of your cell phone can also determine your access to certain data or voice features. Let your customer service rep know what kind of phone you have, as well as what features you need from your cell phone calling plan.

   
What can I read online to find the best cell phone plans and compare them?

Cell Phone Plan Reviews

There are so many cell phone calling plans on the market that some people aren't sure where to start. Internet sites offering cell phone plan reviews are a major source of help, but lately there are nearly as many review sites as there are cell phone wireless plans!

ConsumerResearch.com displays a list of these cell phone plan comparisons, rating the comparisons according to credibility in testing and evaluating. At the top of the list? The cell phone comparison study conducted by JP Power & Associates, which "measures customer satisfaction based on 42 specific service-related measures" according to the ConsumerResearch.com website.

   
What should be included in a budget for prepaid calling plans?

Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

Prepaid wireless plans are excellent "starter" cell phone calling plans for teenagers and younger family members. If your younger family members are saving for prepaid cell phone voice plans, don't forget to include the activation fee and the price of the new cell phone into the budget.

Many cheap cell phone plans offered by major wireless service providers offer daytime fees (10 cents per minute, for example) with free night time calling. The best "pay as you go" cell phone voice plans also include free calls to other subscribers on the network, but regardless, be sure to read the fine print about roaming charges. Most major networks specify rates and calling costs based on the company's coverage area and the geographic limits of the prepaid cell phone voice plan.

   
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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.