If you’re thinking about taking out a new cell phone plan, it can be difficult to know where to start: there are now so many options and packages available that picking the very best one for our individual needs can feel impossible.
We can help: use the guide below to figure out exactly the type of plan you need, the features to focus on, and the things to avoid to make sure.
While certain features come as standard with most carriers, different companies will offer their customers different advantages or perks, and we take these into consideration, too. So, whether you regularly travel overseas and want to avoid excessive roaming charges, are looking for a family package that’ll allow you to tie several lines into one plan, or are a major league gamer, we can help you identify the right cell phone plan for your needs.
How you currently use your phone or plan on using it is important to consider before taking out a new plan. This will determine everything from the speeds you require to the features you want to the length of contract that’ll be best for you.
Is your phone for personal or professional use, or both? Is the phone that the plan comes with important, or are you happy with your current handset? How much data will you need, and is this a higher priority than call and text allowances? What is your budget?
Being really clear about how you envisage using your phone will help you pick the right plan and prevent paying for features that you don’t need.
You may wish to take out a plan that covers the phones of all your family members. This can be a great way to help save money and manage younger members of the clan’s usage.
Important things to avoid with a family plan: don’t pick a plan that may not provide enough data for certain family members. For example, a gamer teenager will likely need more data than your partner, who is only a light user. Look for plans that allow you to tailor data allowances for each line instead.
Some cell phone companies offer plans that enable you to alter the settings of your account so that bills for each line are sent to their individual owners – if you have older kids, this can be a means to avoid paying for their usage and help them get to grips; with the basics of budgeting!
If you regularly travel overseas, then choosing a cell phone plan that will allow you to use your phone while you’re away without incurring costly roaming charges will save you both money and hassle.
Check the roaming rates and charges with the carrier you’re considering – and remember to make sure that the carrier has roaming available for all of the countries that you’re likely to travel to.
If you or someone in your household games or streams heavily on their phone, then taking this into account when choosing a new cell phone plan could save you a significant amount of money – not to mention avoiding the risk of annoying buffering or delays when you’re trying to play your favorite game or watch a brand new episode of the latest hit show.
Be sure that the plan you choose will give you enough data for your requirements: it’s always best to err on the side of caution with this as, though most carriers will allow you to top up your data if you run out mid-month, this can be expensive, and the charges can quickly add up. An unlimited plan might be your best option if you’re a heavy data user.
Most plans come with a phone as part of the package, and there are a few things regarding the nature of this handset that is likely to play an important role in your decision, too. For example, the phone’s camera; if you want to capture the best quality images possible, then look for a camera with 48MP at least for crystal clear shots.
Then there’s the screen size. If you use your phone with one hand, then the best size of the screen is likely to be 4.5 inches. If you regularly use your phone to play games and watch videos, then your best option is a 5.5-inch screen size to more fully enjoy the content.
Display and screen resolution should also be taken into account. The highest quality is around 2560 x 1140, but you’ll probably pay a premium price for phones incorporating this. A screen resolution of around 1920 x 1080 is a good alternative option, which will still offer high quality for a more affordable price.
Finally, think about the battery. Look for a phone that has a battery life of at least twelve hours to avoid having to root around for a charger too often. The ideal battery capacity is around 4500mAh, so avoid choosing a handset with a battery capacity significantly less than this.