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Today’s cell phones are capable of doing much more than dialing a number. As cell phones become more complex, the types of cell phone plans offered continue to expand and can sometimes be difficult to decipher. While each plan might have something to offer, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you need from your cell phone service provider.

Since there are so many providers out there, start by developing an idea of what you want out of your plan before you commit to a provider. Here are a few things to consider as you begin your search for a service provider that fits your needs:

* How much do you talk? Choose a plan that will allow enough free minutes to accommodate your needs. Use the records on your current or past plans as your guide. If you don’t know how much you will use your phone, don’t want to risk going over your allotted minutes, or plan to use your phone sparingly, consider prepaid cell phones offered by providers like Cricket, that allow you to pay as you go.

* Will I have to sign a contract? If you’re thinking that you have to sign a two-year contract when you sign up for a plan, think again. Some providers, including Cricket, allow you to sign up for service with no signed contract. If you’re new to the provider and still a little unsure about what you want from your plan, this might be the way to go.

* Check out the extras. How many text messages do you need? Do you want Internet on your phone? Or GPS? It’s a good idea to figure this out before you browse through plans so you can do some comparison shopping.

* Will the plan work with your phone? If you have a Blackberry or other smartphone, you’ll want to make sure the provider offers services that are compatible before you get into what types of plans they offer.

* What’s your coverage area? You’ll want to make sure that you will get good reception from where you live, but another thing to consider is whether or not you will be charged extra when you call from outside your service area. If you travel a lot, you might want to avoid a plan that comes with roaming charges and opt for one with a national network.

By following these tips, you can save yourself time and headaches before choosing a plan while also ending up with the plan that fits you best.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

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