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Go prepaid if a mobile phone plan is required


So friends have cell phones, and you want one in order to connect through radio waves to meet friends at a nightclub. That's alright, but before jumping in head first into a shiny new one fresh from a plastics factory, lets go over some things.

Have an Income to make a budget on

The first thing that needs to be done before running wildly into a cell phone provider store is check your income. Without an income, a budget can't be made and therefore a cell phone will hinder your current situation. Instead, seek employment and read no further. If there is an income, then figure out all mandatory expenses and if they are too high, then re-evaluate income.

Define needs

Reseach. Go visit multiple cell phone providers in store or online and collect all brochures and information from each one.Next, determine why having one is mandatory. Friends might need one for different reasons. Only your needs should determinethe plan, not just friends needs. For instance, if friends use a cell phone solely for talking and you only want it for intenet, then any cell phone plan thatfriends are on might not be the best plan for you. Once the requirements are figured out, then get all brochures out and evaluate prices to see if any match your budget.

Match budget to a plan

Go through the brochures and read everything. Look at the prices again and again. To find the best plan within a low budget, figure out intricate details of your predicted cell phone usage such as predicted answers to the following questions:

  1. How many text messages under 140 characters will be sent or received each month?
  2. Will photos be sent? how many?
  3. Will internet (data) be needed? Will lots of stuff be downloaded?
  4. Will provider assistance be required with feature installation and/or services?
  5. How long will any of the services above be expected to be used?

If most of those questions above are difficult to answer or your budget is super tight, then going prepaid is best because registration iseasy and the worst case that can happen is disconnection of cell phone service and no phone calls from creditors.

Once the details are known, create a worst case scenario and pick a plan that matches that. Let's say you think 100 textmessages will be sent monthly and it happens where 1000 could be sent, then select a plan that includes 1000 text messages at a lower rate to fit within the budget. Companies oftenadd small print to their brochures that outlines all fees that can incur for going beyond the limits of any service outlined in a plan as well as other miscellaneous fees.

Finally, do the math. Add up the total price of all needed features. If a plan that lasts more than one month is chosen, then multiply the monthly rate times the number of months.For example, if a cell phone plan that costs $25/month with taxes on a 3-year term is used, then $900 needs to be earned over the course of the three years, or there will be a risk ofpaying extra money such as cancellation and late fees.

Understanding a Plan by Example

Take a look at this plan. This counts as a brochure that can be picked up from a cell phone company in person because it has all needed information including the fine print.

cell phone plan example

First, look for all number related items and the prices.

It offers 500 local minutes and the "2" means calls can only be made from within canada without being charged extra.

It offers 500MB of canada wide data. This means up to 500MB of anything including websites can be downloaded via a connection fromthe provider at no extra cost but only in Canada. Extra usage is 5 cents a MB. $5/MB is charged for outside of Canada regardless of overage, if any.

Other things are mentioned as well. The idea is to read all details as well as the fine print.

The superscript numbers after each feature name go to the most important small print details regarding that feature.

The verdict

If you are on a very limited budget and/or a host of features are not needed, then choose a prepaid plan. The drawback to prepaid is that without using a credit card, prepaid cardshave to be purchased and funds loaded onto the cell phone and unused funds expire within a certain time period which is usually 30 days or more from loading date. If streaming incomeis lost (for example, loss of job), then there are no worries because the prepaid balance will become zero, the cell phone will be disconnected, and there won't be outstanding charges.

If a bunch of features are required, then research plans that fit in your budget. The plan example above works for those who can afford $70 or more per month.

For further assistance, ask any cell phone provider directly for plan ideas and tell them the most important reasons for your need for a cell phone and mention the features to eliminate. This is important if your budget is very tight.Do not let them offer features that will never be used. Excercise long term plans with extreme caution because some companies might have you in a legally binding irreversable contract as part of the plan which will likelycause your budget needs to fail, especially if cell phone usage is terminated early.

This information above is provided for educational purposes only. Data taken from the company above may become inaccurate at any time.We are not responsible for your budget, any cell phone plan you choose or any additional costs applied to it.

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