More than two-thirds of Americans own smartphones today. Clearly, people are willing to spend money on the convenience of this technology.
Buying a phone, however, is only part of the expense. You also need a mobile phone carrier that provides services for talking, texting and browsing the internet.
There are several things to consider when choosing a mobile phone carrier. Most people’s needs, however, fall under three categories. Knowing which category best suits you will help you choose a carrier.
Verizon for the Widest Coverage
With the country’s largest network, Verizon is the best option for anyone concerned about coverage. This is especially true for people who live in rural areas, where many mobile phone carriers don’t even offer service.
Verizon, however, often costs more than other major carriers. Expect to spend at least $40 for basic access. If you want to add people to your plan, the price will go up quickly.
Verizon is also problematic for people who travel internationally. The company’s massive network is built on CDMA (code division multiple access) technology. While a few of its phones work on GSM (global system for mobile communications) networks, most of them do not, so your phone won’t work outside of the U.S.
Sprint for the Lowest Prices
If you are primarily concerned with cost, then you will probably want to give Sprint your business.
Sprint’s Family Share Pack is usually the most affordable plan for families. A family of four using 5GB each will typically spend about $160 per month. That’s at least $40 cheaper than Verizon.
The only downside to Sprint is that it has a smaller network than Verizon and AT&T. That shouldn’t matter if live in an urban area. Those outside of major cities, though, may get spotty service.
AT&T for Compromise
AT&T doesn’t have the biggest network. It also doesn’t have the cheapest plans. It does, however, offer the country’s second-largest network at prices that most families can afford.
These qualities make AT&T a good compromise for people who want good coverage and don’t want to spend a lot of money. It’s not the best in either category, but it is a good option.
AT&T also gives you the advantage of using a GSM network. No matter where you go, your mobile device should work on the local network. Keep in mind that international calling rates may apply outside of North America.
Plans from carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint can seem confusing at first, but they are usually designed to meet the needs of certain consumers. Once you know your priorities, you can choose the one that best fits your needs.