Choosing the Right Cell Phone Plan: Some Things to Consider
BY SAURABH KALRA, MACINSIDERS
Soon it will be the time of the year when you start getting ready for back to school. Getting a new cell phone plan is one of the things many first years will be looking for. It is very important to make the right choice in selecting a cell phone plan as many postpaid cell phone plans come with a 2-3 year contract and there is a huge penalty fees if you wish to cancel your plan before the end of your contract. I got my first cell phone in the beginning of my first year and had to do some research and shop around to get the best plan that met my requirements.
In this article, Iím going to mention some of the tips for choosing a cell phone plan from my own shopping experiences. This can be used as a starting guide for getting the right plan, and I highly recommend doing some further research and understand your needs before selecting your cell phone plan.
Before I go on the tips, Iím going to describe the plan that I chose, as Iíll be referring back to this in the tips. After doing some research and talking to my parents and friends, I got a plan from Koodo Mobile and here are the details of the plan:
- 100 local minutes, 50 text messages, 7pm Evenings & Weekends. Also including Call Waiting, Conference Calling, 911 and Per-Second Billing- $ 20.00/month
- Additional add on of unlimited incoming calls- $ 10.00/month
There were no other system access fee or any additional fees that I have to pay and my monthly bill always comes out to be $33.90 (including taxes). Moreover, thereís no fixed term contract involved.
OK, so now Iím going to discuss some things that should be considered before selecting the perfect cell phone plan for you.
1. Pricing of the plan:
You will have to decide what is your affordable pricing plan and the purpose of your phone calls. Will you make most of your calls during the week or on the weekend? Will you be calling long distances? All of these factors are important, because you can choose plans based on which situation best fits your needs. This can help you determine which plans are suitable for your needs and save on your phone bills.
Personally, I was commuting from Mississauga to Mac everyday in my first year. I have an Oakville number as a result of which I did not have to pay any roaming charges on incoming calls whether I am in Hamilton or Mississauga. Furthermore by having an Oakville number, if I am at Mac and someone calls from Mississauga, it is a local call for the caller and they donít have to pay any long distance charges (this is one of the benefits few people know about). Note that the opposite is not true- I have to pay long distance charges if I am calling to Mississauga from Hamilton (or from Mississauga to Hamilton) from my cell phone with an Oakville number (I know its weird but hopefully it makes sense). The same is true for Toronto as well if you have an Oakville number.
So if any of you are from Mississauga/Toronto , the best bet is to get an Oakville number with any cell phone plan you choose as youíll have to pay no incoming charges. Having an Oakville number will also be beneficial for the callers in Mississauga/Toronto to call you in Hamilton as they donít have to pay any long distance charges.
2. Calling and other features:
You may wish to consider the various calling features that come with the plan. Do you prefer calling your friends/family or rather texting? Are you expecting a lot of incoming calls? If everyone in your family use a cell phone, then a family plan may be a good option. Also if there are some particular numbers you will be calling a lot, you can choose My5 or My10 plans from Rogers or similar plans from other cell phone providers. If you are only using the phone to contact your overseas friends, additional features such as voice mail or call forwarding are obviously redundant for you.
Thus, you should look for a plan that offers limited calling features as such plans may be cheaper than those with additional features. Also if you like calling friends in night time, having free evenings and weekends in your plan is a good option. Personally, I was expecting a lot of incoming calls from my family and friends, so I chose the unlimited incoming calls option in my plan. I do not use much of text messaging, but by having 50 free text messages in my plan, I could text my dad in Mississauga asking him to call me if I wanted to talk to my family (as then nobody would have to pay any long distance charges-explained in point 1).
3. Contracting Period:
This is one important area that you would not wish to miss out. This is because majority of the mobile phone plans will require you to sign a contract for a certain time period. In other words, you will be contracted to the service provider for a specified length of time. You must also remember to read everything in the fine print and understand the terms of the contract. If you are unhappy with any of the conditions of the contract, such as the payment terms, it is advisable to find another service provider. Once you sign a contract, you are stuck with that cell phone provider for that specific time and the penalty fees are very high if you choose to cancel you contract in between. I was never a fan of these contracts, so I chose a cell phone provider with no contract.
Taking time to do some research before you visit the stores should prepare you properly. Bring along any questions that you might have about the plans. This will help you to find the best deal for a student phone plan and save the worries of incurring high phone bills.
You may also consider looking into prepaid cell phone plans if you do not call or text a lot.
Good Luck in searching for the right cell phone plan
Remember to try your best to make the right decision in choosing your new cell phone plan so there are no regrets later.