Prepaid cellphone services have come a long way from the days of TracFones, where users purchased blocks of minutes for their TracFones and could talk until they ran out of minutes. While TracFones still exist, newer prepaid cellphone plans offer service plans similar to contract cellphone providers and phones ranging from basic and inexpensive to feature-rich and expensive. If you are considering a prepaid cell phone service there are a few things you need to consider before picking one.
Buying a phone through a prepaid cell phone company is typically more expensive than buying a comparable model through a contract company. This is because contract providers offer rebates and discounts for signing a contract. Prepaid providers sometimes offer rebates too, and many have begun lowering the cost of their phones to be more competitive with the contract companies. Most prepaid providers now offer phones with limited features for as little as $20 as well as more expensive, feature-rich models to appeal to a wide range of users.
Prepaid cell phone providers sometimes have a more limited coverage area than contract companies. Check the coverage maps for any provider you are considering to make sure you’ll get service in your area. If you spend a lot of time traveling to another region, find out if you’ll get coverage there as well. If you drive to that destination, you’ll also want to check your route to make sure its covered if you find yourself in need of emergency services and no cell phone service. If your provide does not provide coverage in a specific area, you may still be able to use your cell phone on roaming, so check with the provider to find out the details.
Decide whether you want an unlimited plan or a specific amount of minutes. If you’re using your cell phone for emergency purposes and occasional calls only, you may want to opt for the cheapest plan the provider offers, which may be a limited amount of minutes. Some providers offer unlimited talk, text and Web for as little as $50 per month, which may appeal to people who use their cellphones frequently but are on a limited budget.
If you’re looking for specific features or added services, be sure to find out which prepaid providers offer them before selecting a provider. Some prepaid providers offer users a 4G network and a selection of 4G phones, for example, or allow users with friends overseas is to have unlimited international texting. Many prepaid companies have even started offering insurance plans on their phones. If you’re planning on purchasing an expensive phone, an insurance plan could save you a lot of money if your phone is broken or damaged. Make sure to find out how much the deductible is and what type of damage is covered before selecting the insurance.
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