AEEM Guide Cell Phone Plans River2u.com
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Cell phone plans can be complicated, expensive, or both. Here are some tips to help you choose the right plan:
  • Every plan has a “home calling area,” and the smaller the area, the lower your monthly fee should be. Pick a plan that covers your home, workplace, and travel in between because using your phone outside your home calling area may incur surcharges for “roaming.”
  • In many plans, calling a phone number that is outside your home calling area will generate “long distance” charges. Thus, it may pay to have a home calling area that includes those whom you will be calling (when calling another cellular phone, its “location” for billing purposes is the place that is registered as its “home,” rather than the actual place where it is when you call).
  • If you don't have a lot of need for daytime usage Monday through Friday, you can save a lot by selecting a plan that includes a minimal number of minutes during these peak-usage hours. Night and weekend usage usually is available at deep discounts or even for free.
  • Pay close attention to how your usage will be measured: to the second, rounded up to the next minute, or in even larger increments.
  • Some plans exempt certain categories of calls from your usage (e.g., incoming calls from cell phones belonging to other customers of the same cellular company).
  • If you use your phone near the boundary of your home calling area, the determinant of whether or not you are “roaming” probably will be the location of the tower that picks up your signal, rather than where you are.
  • Many plans offer more favorable terms if you sign a contract for a lengthy term of service. The downside is that canceling such a plan can incur hefty charges. When starting with a new service provider, it may be safer to start with the shortest contract term available, even if it costs more. That way, if you are dissatisfied with the quality of service, it's less costly if you decide to cancel.
  • Look to have voicemail included in your plan, because you cannot be sure that incoming calls will come through even if your phone is on and you are in the midst of your home calling area. Most plans offer voicemail at additional cost, but many cellular companies nonetheless will give it for free if you demand it.

Finally, pay close attention to other charges that you may incur. For example, instant messaging, photo sharing, music downloading, and Internet access are not normally covered in the basic monthly fee, and can be very expensive to use.

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