So, you’ve decided to switch wireless carriers. Maybe you’ve decided to get off that family plan or you finally realized that you’ve been overpaying for wireless since, like, forever. Congratulations, oh wise one, but where should you start to find your next plan?
With so many different plans out there to choose from, it’s important to do your research. Don’t get caught up in all the “unlimited”* options and new phone offers. Search for a plan that works best for your needs so you’re not paying extra for what you’re not using!
The most important things you need to consider when choosing a wireless plan are phone compatibility, price, coverage, and network speed. We’ve put together a cheat sheet to make sure you make the right choice when you switch.
Does Your Phone Work on Any Carrier?
The short answer is no. There are two main things you need to look at when deciding if your phone is going to work on a potential new carrier.
1) Is your phone unlocked?
The first thing on your to-do list: make sure your phone is unlocked. You’ll need an unlocked phone for it to work on a new carrier. A general rule is that if you purchased your phone without a contract, then it is most likely unlocked. If you’re not sure, you can always check by calling your current carrier. If your phone is locked, then your carrier will be able to unlock it for you if the phone is fully paid for and not under financing obligations.
2) Is your phone compatible with the network?
Your future carrier will run on one of two networks; CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles). The easiest and most important difference is GSM uses a SIM card and CDMA does not. Your phone will need to be compatible with the network you are moving onto. Carries like Mint run on GSM, and means it is easier to switch – you just pop out our current SIM card and pop in ours.
Is There Coverage Where You Work, Live, and Play?
If your new wireless carrier doesn’t have coverage where you need it, then it isn’t going to work for you. Most wireless carriers provide a coverage map on their website to give you an idea of coverage in your area. This provides a good indication but is never 100% accurate, as there are several things that affect coverage.
Look for a wireless company that allows you to try out their network before you commit to a full plan. Here at Mint, we have a 7-Day Risk-Free Trial for just $5 that allows you test coverage before committing. We also back that up with a 7-day, money-back guarantee on any of our plans.
How fast is YouTube going to load?
Network speed is important to avoid slow downloads and buffering browsers, you know, that annoying spinning thing in the corner. Who doesn’t hate waiting for content to load?
Do you conduct research to see what people are saying in reviews about network speed? Or should you look for a carrier that allows you to try before you buy? It is always better to try it out yourself to see what works for you. With Mint’s 7-Day Risk-Free Trial, you can run your own speeds by using Speedtest by Ookla, to test out our service before you commit.
How Much Data Do You Need?
Don’t give into the hype that you need an unlimited plan. What are you doing, running a server farm from your phone? The first thing you need to do is check your monthly data usage in your current carrier account. Studies have shown that most people use less than 5GB per month, and if you are clever and sign into WiFi regularly, you can save that data and money!
How Much Does it Cost Per Month?
Arguably the most important factor to consider when it comes to choosing a wireless plan is how much you will be paying each month. Once you know how much data you need shop around the different carriers as pricing varies greatly and you can save yourself a fox-ton of money by doing a bit of research. Check to see if there are any additional charges like activation fees, monthly fees and taxes, plus the one that catches most people out – overages!
MVNOs like Mint offer a great, affordable alternative to the big wireless plans and include all you need – monthly 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, and (best of all!) no overages. All this for $15 & up per month.
Check if your future plan will charge you if you go over your data limit. At Mint, when you hit your monthly 4G LTE data limit, we will let you know and you can either upgrade your plan or purchase additional data. We will slow your data, but you won’t be hit with any extra surprises – the beauty of bulk savings, baby!
Mint Mobile gives you the best way to try our service with our $5 7-Day Risk-Free Trial before you commit to a full plan. You can check phone compatibility, coverage, and network speeds, and you can’t beat the price. Plus, make sure you take advantage of our 7-day money back guarantee on all our plans. That way, if it’s not working for you, a full refund is all yours (minus taxes and shipping). The $5 you spent to try us out is credited to your plan purchase when you are ready to switch, so you won’t lose a dollar in your search for a new carrier. At least not on our watch!
Are you ready to choose a new plan? What’s the most important thing you look for in a wireless plan in the comments below!