Cellular service plans offer many perks to try to attract new customers and keep old ones. One of the best of these benefits is a new phone. Policies differ depending on what service provider you’re dealing with, but typically, you can land yourself a new phone for free, or a cutting-edge new phone at a steep discount. Of course, this leaves the question: how can you tell if you’re getting the right phone in this bargain.
That’s the trick. Many cell phone service providers dump their oldest models in this free swap, while the best picture phones, color models, and video flip phones will cost your big bucks. Plus, anytime you get a new phone, you have to worry if you’re getting the latest digital technology to best match up with your provider’s cellular system.
Sound too complicated? It doesn’t have to be if you know the few simple things to look for in a new phone. First, you need to know the two types of networks that cellular service plans run on. There is the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network and the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) network. The main difference in these phones is that GSM networks are the worldwide standard, so you could conceivable use a GSM phone anywhere on the planet.
The other main difference is that CDMA phones can still also pick up an analog signal. Most service plans now run on a digital signal, but believe it or not, if you’ve been a longtime subscriber to one provider, and you own an older phone, you may still be on analog. What’s the big deal? Analog phones tend to burn through batteries faster, and cost a pretty penny in roaming charges.
Besides your free phone, you should also take into consideration your service provider’s customer service. If you’ve used them before, are you satisfied with the service you received in the past? Or if you are new, have you ever heard one of your friends or family members complain about the provider’s service? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask when signing up for cellular service plans.