I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to pin myself down to one cell phone provider after my previous contract came to an end. I’m not one for fancy cell phones so all I was really looking for was something with a reasonable amount of airtime that wouldn’t leave me out of pocket. Here are some of the things I had to think long and hard over before choosing which provider to go with:

How much airtime I'll really use. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on my cell phone so I have no real need for a contract that offers 1000 minutes or unlimited texts. Several of my friends are tied into contracts of this nature and never manage to use up all of those minutes or texts, making me wonder exactly why they consider it good value for money! On the other hand, another friend repeatedly exceeds both the minutes and texts on her contract and gets hit with additional charges. On the face of it, none of them seem to be getting a good deal so I was keen to assess exactly how many minutes and texts I use on average and to choose a plan fits my needs. It’s common sense really but you’d be surprised how many people get sucked into a particular cell phone plan without thinking about how much it’ll actually benefit them.

Who I call most. If most of your calls are to people who live in your area, you might want to think twice about any long distance add-on that may be part of a contract. The same goes for an international add-on if you don’t tend to make calls to anyone outside of the US. As I rarely ever make international calls and the majority of my calls in general are to people who live near to me, I wasn’t in favor of having things like this bump up my monthly bill when I was barely ever going to use them.

What I chose in the end. After I compared a lot of contract plans, I ultimately rejected them all. I don’t spend much time at all talking on the cell phone and most of my communication with friends and extended family is through email and social networking sites. Because of that, I went with a pre-paid option, which I decided would give me more flexibility. I can buy a block of minutes that I know will correspond with what I’m actually going to use and there’s no leftover minutes down the drain. This kind of set-up probably wouldn’t suit those of you who use more airtime than me. For texts, it seemed as though they would be more expensive on the majority of pay-as-you-go plans so I’m sticking to instant messaging or social networking sites. Most of my friends (who are the people I’d usually send texts to) regularly check their Facebook through their cell phones so there’s a very good chance that they’ll read the message sooner rather than later even if it’s fairly urgent.

What to do if your contract doesn’t expire anytime soon. If you can’t get out of your current contract in the near future, it’s not a total disaster. Try calling your current provider and seeing whether they have any plans that better suit your situation. Also, don't forget to check out some of these other tips on getting the best deal on your cell phone plan.

Do you have any additional tips that I might have left out that people often gloss over when choosing their cell phone plan? I'd love to hear some great advice from you.


  1. KNS Financial // August 24, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

    It looks like you choose the best option. While I was reading this article, I kept thinking that you should just go with a prepaid phone.

  2. Joe Plemon // August 25, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

    I agree with KNS. I assume (showing my ignorance) that a prepaid phone will have no set contract time, thus allowing you to change whenever your might need to. Right?

  3. Sally // August 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM  

    Joe Plemon - As far as I'm aware, prepaid is much more flexible and you can just buy what you want and wait for it to run out.

  4. Parag // September 1, 2010 at 1:52 AM  

    Contracts cell phones are only for people who actually have its use. Otherwise a pre-paid connection is always a better option. Why unnecessarily run in to debt?
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  5. Opie // September 1, 2010 at 9:47 AM  

    I am so glad prepaid is coming mainstream because I wouldn't even know about it. I switched after finding out about it online and am happy about what I'm saving. I wasn't using half of my allotted minutes before and now I'm paying for exactly what I'm using.