The best phone plan for you depends on your needs, including network coverage in your area.
MVNOs, which operate on one or more major networks, are another option for lower-cost cell phones. These providers usually don't require credit checks and offer prepaid plans.
MVNOs are carriers that don't own their network but piggyback off another carrier's. This usually means better speeds and connections and slower traffic during peak hours as parent networks prioritize their subscribers. Still, this lack of their network enables these carriers to offer cheap cell phone plans. These carriers typically provide a great selection of smartphones, and many works with third-party financiers to offer their consumers monthly payment plans.
Other MVNOs are less well-known and often operated by an organization called a mobile virtual network enabler, which handles marketing and sales. They may also use another company to manage their infrastructure and customer service. This allows the MVNO to save money and pass the savings on to their customers.
Contracts are one of the most significant factors when choosing a service provider. Service providers may offer monthly contracts that bundle the cost of a phone with the cost of service, or they may charge on a pay-as-you-go basis. Service providers may subsidize new phone purchases, lease phones, or only offer bring-your-own-phone services. The type of network available in your area is another factor to consider when choosing a provider. For example, while 5G quickly catches on, 4G coverage still exists in many areas. Be sure to check the provider's website for details about their network coverage before making a final decision.
Phone service providers like South Dakota Service can sell various smartphones that connect to their networks via WiFi or cellular data. They can also subsidize new phones and lease them or offer bring-your-own devices. They can charge a monthly subscription or offer pay-as-you-go plans. Some require a contract and a credit check. Others do not and instead offer prepaid contracts.
Choosing the right phone service provider depends on your area's coverage and connectivity needs. For example, if you're interested in 5G, ensure the carrier you choose offers it in your ZIP code. You can check this by calling your cellular carrier or checking its website.
Other essential factors to consider are discounts, taxes, and plan features. For instance, some carriers offer a discount program through specific workplaces, and AARP members can get a 5% discount on monthly charges. Others offer trade-ins or switching deals, which can snag you a free phone. In addition, some MVNOs piggyback on the major carriers' networks and provide lower-priced plans for those with modest data needs.
When choosing a provider, consider its monthly cost, how many lines you want, how much data you want, and whether additional fees or taxes exist. You should also ensure that the network is available in your area.
Larger carriers offer postpaid and prepaid plans with competitive pricing. They also tend to have the most extensive coverage options for cellular devices like smartwatches and tablets. They can also offer trade-in and switching deals to snag you a new phone for free.
Smaller prepaid and pay-as-you-go providers provide good value for people with modest data needs. These providers often offer prepaid plans that let you build your allowance of minutes, texts, and data. These can save usage-conscious customers a lot of money compared to an unlimited everything plan from the big three.