Cellular Phone Plan Prepaid Shopping

by Jim
(Los Angeles)

I'm in the market for prepaid but there's so many options and details that I'm afraid to make a bad decision. There's so much information on this site, that I'm afraid I might miss reading something important. What should I focus on first?

Comments for Cellular Phone Plan Prepaid Shopping

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Jul 09, 2009
Best Prepaid Wireless - How to find it!
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Finding the best prepaid wireless plan can definitely be a time consuming and overwhelming process. One of the main objectives of this site is to help by consolidating the major plans for easier comparison.

Knowing the countless hours it took to initially compile the plan information, as well as the time it takes to keep up with changes and new plans, I don't expect many people will have the time to do the research themselves. It's arguably more work than buying a new car, which is worth a LOT more money!

You're also right in saying that there's so much information on this site that even reading and absorbing it can become overwhelming. At the time of writing this comment, there are over 150 pages all interlinked together; it's really a lot of information!

What I recommend is to take the following approach:

Step 1:
If you're still not sure that prepaid is right for you, read the "Why Prepaid" section.

Step 2:
Review the "Plan Types" section. This will give you a good idea about where your usage needs fit in. Despite all of the buzz and attention around prepaid unlimited plans, they're not necessarily the best deal for you, so don't get sucked in! After reading this section, you should have a good idea whether you fit into the classic PAYG plan, a daily plan, a monthly/hybrid plan, or a monthly unlimited plan.

Step 3:
Once you've narrowed down to one or two plan types that "feels right" for your needs and lifestyle, go to the "Compare Plans" section. There you'll be able to review the details of the one or two plan types that you're interested in (ex. Per Month vs. Unlimited).

Here you'll want to focus on the price and main features that you want. For example, how many minutes do you need? How many text messages do you send and receive? Do you call mostly during the day, or nights and weekends? Etc.

I think you'll find that you'll be able to quickly narrow it down to a few plans/providers.

Step 4:
Go to the carrier's site and review their available handsets (i.e. phones). All else being equal, this will often play a large role in your attraction to one wireless provider vs. another. You'll also want to look at their coverage maps to make sure that the phone will work in places where you live, work, and play. Asking your friends who are on the same network (ex. A friend's experience on Verizon postpaid is a good indication of what your experience will be with Verizon's Prepaid InPulse program).

Step 5:
Don't worry! After all, it's prepaid, so no contracts or commitments. If you use the plan and find it's not right for you, you can change plans or providers. The only challenge with changing providers is that you'll likely need to purchase a new phone, so keep that in mind. There's usually a return policy as well, so ask about that when you make your purchase, so if the plan, phone, or network just don't meet your needs, you can take it back and start again!

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