I don't consider myself an expert in too many things,
at least outside of baseball history, state capitals
and having a tendency to attract strange females. But
after extensive research on determining the best cell
phone service, maybe I have found my calling.
calling! Get it? Anyway, I figured the least I could
do with this newfound ability is to report
my findings. The four major companies I reviewed were,
in alphabetical order, AT&T Wireless, Cingular,
SprintPCS and Verizon.
Wireless -- I
purchased this service almost two months ago, and so
far, I think
I made the
right decision. The plan I purchased for $29.99 includes
3000 Night/Weekend minutes and 300 Anytime minutes,
although 100 of those were "bonus" minutes,
like I was playing one of those lottery game shows.
My plan's service allows me to use my minutes within
a Home Calling Area, which stretches about 150-200
miles around me. Additionally this plan came with a
free Nokia phone, three months free roadside assistance
and a $50 gift certificate to a selection of stores
That's the good news. Unfortunately,
the calling area is missing one main area I travel
regularly, and due
to latitude changes and trees, my service isn't even
available throughout the area shaded on the map. I
have been extremely disappointed at the lack of coverage
in my parents' neighborhood, considering other providers
work fine. I thought text messaging was included, but
apparently it is 10 cents a message. And up to this
point, I cannot access my account online or pay my
bill there, either.
Overall, this plan is good for the
money, especially considering I'm saving $5-20 a month
my home phone in favor of a cell phone. Once I'm able
to pay online and view my calls online, I'll feel a
The other guys in the office have this service, and
seem pretty satisfied
The newest plan includes 1000 Anytime minutes for $39.99,
and with a two-year contract, you can also receive
a free Motorola C331. All unused minutes rollover into
the next month, plus you can receive text messaging
free for the first two months. The home calling coverage
area is twice as large as the AT&T wireless plan
This plan looks really good if you make a good
deal of calls during regular business hours, but if
plan on chatting forever like I do at night, you really
miss out on additional night and weekend minutes. The
coverage will more than likely run into similar problems
as with AT&T Wireless, especially because some
of the area shaded is most likely without well-equipped
towers. Although the two-year contract will net you
a phone, I was advised by a friend to look only at
one-year contracts, mainly because if you get screwed,
at least it lasts only 12 months. Additionally, I was
not offered a free phone as a new customer, but it
is possible you might be able to receive one.
Cingular offers a competitive plan, especially for
my colleagues, but this particular deal doesn't
give me nearly enough nightly talk time. The guys I
work with all have hard lines at home, so they probably
don't need that additional talk time anyway. At the
very least I thought this company could have thrown
in a gift certificate or at least a party hat.
PCS -- Many of my friends have this service,
and it appears to be just as good, if not better, than
the others. The PCS Free and Clear Plan is 300 Anytime
minutes and unlimited Nights & Weekend minutes
for $30, which is comparable to AT&T. For $5 more,
you can purchase unlimited PCS to PCS calling, which
means you can call anyone else with a Sprint phone
and it won't count against your minutes. A free phone
is also available to those who sign up.
problem I've noticed with Sprint is a weaker coverage
area. Main highways are serviced, but at least
one travel path I regularly take is not. I had originally
planned on going with Sprint, but the smaller service
area would have been a major hinderance in having a
Sprint is probably the best plan for the
money in major cities. The service also works well
if you're traveling
a great deal through major cities and such. If many
of your friends also have Sprint, paying $5 extra will
allow you to talk to them until your ears fall off.
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO TALK ON CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING:
First off, it frustrates me to see people
holding a cell phone while driving. How can you hold
a burger AND a cell phone and drive? I've done this
a few times, but I avoid it with the use of an earpiece.
I would guess this will become standard, and quite
possibly, holding a cell phone while driving could
be banned in the near future. So you might want to
get used to the earpiece now.
Verizon — My
sister, dad and stepmom use Verizon, and they seem
with it. Again, the plans
seem comparable to the others, but more so to Cingular's
primary plan: $39.99 gets you 300 Anytime minutes,
unlimited Night & Weekend minutes, plus a bonus
100 Anytime minutes and 1000 Mobile to Mobile minutes.
The key to this plan is some of the minutes can be
shared with other plans, so in the case of my family,
they can actually share their minutes and not have
to purchase separate plans. Additional phone lines
are $20 a month.
One drawback to this plan is having
to pay for a phone. With any of the phone services,
you would have to pay
for a top-of-the-line phone, but with most, a free
basic phone is available.
If you have a group of people
who want cell phone service, and who can share minutes,
this would be
a pretty good
You may have additional cell phone services,
like Nextel, in your area, but more than likely,
they are just resellers
of these services. Each company appears to have
similar plans, yet each also has unique benefits.
urge you to keep track of your usage minutes
so that you
do not go over your alloted time. Extra minutes
are expensive, and if you think you may go over,
should be able to purchase another 100 or so.
Also, most phones
are set up to track night minutes depending on
your current time zone, not the time zone in
service was purchased. This can be seen on your
Good luck on making your purchase.
I'm not really advocating any particular service,
so pick your
favorite. As far
as I can tell, strange females appear to use
all of the above types of service. BEWARE!