Tips to Gets the Best Cell Phone Deals

Figure out how much you use a cell phone. If you’re trying to decide whether you should give up your landline service and go exclusively cellular, you need to analyze how much you use your landline phone as well. Then, tack on 20 percent more minutes so you don’t cut yourself short.

Think about where you call. Distance matters- you may pay as much for a call 8 miles away as you do for a call that’s 3,000 miles away. Plus, some carriers tack on roaming charges on top of long-distance, depending on where you’re calling from.

Make sure your plan includes analog and digital service. Eventually, everything will be digital, but for now, if you exclude analog, you’ll miss out on a fair bit of area coverage.

Make sure the plan rounds your time to the nearest second, not the nearest minute. If your call lasts 4:01, you’ll pay for 59 seconds you didn’t use.

If your carrier has special night or weekend rates, get their exact definition for “night.” For some carriers, it’s 8pm to 8am. For others, it’s 10pm to 6am.

If several people in your family have cell phones, consider family plans or joint minute plans, sometimes called “shared minute” plans. They could be cheaper.

Prepaid plans aren’t always the best choice. In the same vein, try to avoid signing long-term contracts, like for a year or more. Things change and if you’re stuck in a contract, you could end up paying for service you no longer want, need, or can afford.

If a new plan comes up, you should ask your carrier to switch you. There may be no fee or penalty involved.

Think about how you use the internet before you sign on. Many cell phone companies can add internet service to your cell phone for a small extra fee a month. But if you’re online for 60 minutes a day, you’ll burn up thousands of extra minutes a month. You may want to choose a separate DSL service for your online life. But make sure you know ahead of time.

How to Compare Cell Phone Plans and Prices

If you want to compare phone prices, try these sites:

Shopping for Cell Phone Deals Online

If you’re looking to lower your phone bill or change the services you buy, consider these sites as starting points. – (American Telecom Network, long distance) (federal trade commission, fraud info center) – (free voice mail) – (free voice mail) -(free voice mail) – (shop for long distance rates) – (shop for wireless rates) – (Understanding your phone bill) – (compare wireless phone plans) (compare wireless phone plans) – (Compare wireless phone plans)

Oct. 17, 2003.