What You Need to Know After Selecting a Cell Phone Carrier

January 1, 2015
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Cell Phone CarrierTo go along with our last article on cell phone carrier comparisons, we’d like to also discuss some of the important things you need to know after you select a carrier. There are so many options today when it comes to types of cell phones, cell phone brands, plan options and even operating systems. Once you choose which cell phone carrier to go with, you need to be informed about the equipment and service you need. That will change for everyone, depending on your needs, finances and even geographic location.

In order to get you started, we’ve narrowed it down to what we think are the five most important topics you need to think about. If you have more specific needs, always ask your potential new carrier, and do a bit of research. A well-informed customer will usually find they get the most bang for their buck!

Phone Type

Here is where you need to decide if you are satisfied with a basic phone, i.e. one that makes calls and texts only, or if you are in need of a smartphone, which will do almost as much as your home computer. Basic phones are much cheaper in initial cost than smartphones, as are their plans. Today they often do come with decent cameras, and a few can even browse the internet. In general though they are meant for calls and texts, and to keep phone plans cheap.

A smartphone, on the other hand, can do just about as much as a PC. You can email, Skype, peruse the web and connect on social networks. If you use your phone for work, a smartphone is likely your best option. The plans are a bit pricier than basic phones, but the relative uses are exponentially better.

Phone Brand

A few top phone brands today are Apple, Samsung, Motorola and HTC. There are many more, and most top carriers offer many options even within brands themselves. A few carriers only sell certain brands, so if you have your heart set on a specific phone, make sure the carrier you pick has that phone. If you go with a prepaid phone plan, or a smaller carrier, your phone options will be more limited.


The phone you choose may come with an optional SD card that can be swapped out for a larger one down the road if needed. iPhones do not come with such cards, but instead have different levels of internal memory storage for their devices. In addition, Cloud options are also available for Apple and Android operating systems. These do cost extra on top of the price of your phone. Remember that the more pictures and apps you have on your phone, the more space is being taken up on your phone’s memory. Clear out things periodically, and free up space when needed.

Plan Features and Price

Once you have decided on what type and brand of phone you want, you can get into plan features. Do you have a basic phone and only need a calling and texting plan? Or do you have a smartphone that needs a data plan, or do travel internationally and need minutes for overseas? The more options you select to have, the higher your monthly fee will be. In addition to calling, texting, and data features, plans also have options like call forwarding and voicemail services.

Camera and Video Options

Few people today even use point and shoot cameras anymore, but instead use their smartphone. The pixel count for many phone cameras is just as high as typical point and shoots, and can also do relatively high quality video as well. Phones are typically always with us, so no need to worry about having your camera with you, and are also easier to carry around.


If you go with a smartphone, most will have multiple options for music. Many apps, such as Pandora and Spotify, allow you to stream music on your phone for free (there are paid versions that allow for more fluid music options) while internal apps, like iTunes, allows you to buy the specific songs or albums you want and download them on your phone. Many of these phones also link up to your PC or tablet, and music can be shared to those devices for easy listening as well.

Remember to keep in mind that most phone plans can be changed at any time, but cell phone contracts are tough to get out of, and are required by many carriers. So study up and choose wisely. Along with our article on choosing a cell phone provider, we hope this blog will help you in making an informed decision on what phone, plan and features you need.

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