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What the best phone carrier is

With so many options to choose from, it can be tough deciding which phone carrier is right for you. The “best” carrier comes down to your individual needs and preferences. Here are some tips for choosing the top phone carrier for your situation:

Network Coverage The most important factor is coverage in your area. A carrier could offer amazing deals and perks, but spotty coverage makes service frustrating. Ask neighbors and check carrier coverage maps for your home, office, and frequent locations. Stick with major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint if you need national coverage. Regional carriers like MetroPCS may work if you stay in urban areas.

Data Usage Consider how much high-speed data you need each month. Heavy data users should look for unlimited or high-data plans. Light users can save with prepaid, basic, or shared data plans. Compare throttling policies after you hit a monthly data cap. Prioritize carriers that offer the data allowances you’re likely to use each billing cycle.

Plan Flexibility Some carriers offer greater flexibility to change plans or services. T-Mobile lets you adjust data amounts monthly. Sprint and Verizon prorate bills when you change plans mid-cycle. Try to avoid carriers with long-term contracts or early termination fees. Consider prepaid or month-to-month plans if you want flexibility.

Family Discounts Most major carriers offer discounted family plans or bundling incentives. If you need multiple lines, calculate total costs for different carriers. For example, T-Mobile charges extra per line while Verizon includes taxes and fees in its family plan pricing. See which offers the best deal for your whole family.

Device Selection Make sure your desired phones and devices are available through the carrier. Verizon has exclusives on certain phones like Google Pixel. AT&T may be best for Apple fans who want new iPhones ASAP. Compare phone options and upgrade policies. Carriers that let you bring your own device can save you money.

Perks & Extras Review any other incentives or perks offered. T-Mobile offers free Netflix with family plans. Verizon includes Disney+ and other streaming subscriptions. AT&T provides HBO Max access. While not necessary, these extras can provide added value.

Customer Service Reputation Check reviews and ratings for each carrier’s customer service. You want support reps who are friendly, knowledgeable and can help when problems arise. Customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought – you’ll want a carrier who responds quickly if you need account or technical help.

Price & Affordability Of course, price matters when picking a carrier. Calculate the total monthly cost across individual or shared plans including fees, taxes, phone installment plans, etc. Avoid choosing the cheapest carrier if coverage is subpar. But finding the best value can save you money long-term.

No single carrier will be best for every consumer. Prioritize the factors most important to you whether that’s data usage, network coverage, plan flexibility or price. Doing your research ensures you select a carrier that matches your wireless needs instead of just going with the popular name brands. Keep assessing new promotions and plans as they are introduced for opportunities to switch and save.

Updated: November 13, 2023 — 6:05 pm

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