Cell Phone and Service Buying Guide If you haven’t changed your cell phone plan in a while, you might be incurring high costs due to your loyalty, or even your inertia. According to a survey that included 103,000 Consumer Reports members, more than half the people who changed their data plans noticed a drop in their monthly bills. And if that was good news, several people also said they got better coverage, a bigger data allowance, and top-notch customer service. Now if you want a new plan, you might just think of buying a new phone. Have you always wished to buy your favorite Apple iPhone or a top-of-the-line Samsung model? Earlier, consumers felt trapped with multi-year contracts which had several financial disadvantages, but today, there are no such concerns. Leasing a phone today is easy – you can pay it off in interest-free installments, or directly buy it in one go and enjoy lower monthly bills. When it comes to data plans, people don’t realize that they actually choose plans that are expensive, mainly because they think they will need more data. If that’s the case, or if you are someone who enjoys streaming movies and music, go for an unlimited plan, instead of a fixed one. Service Providers Here’s a tip – prepaid services from small carriers, including Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, Ting are great for people with modest data needs. Those who want to use more data, and have three or more phone lines, need to go for the big carriers like AT & T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Check The Coverage In the case of large carriers, you will generally not face coverage issues, since you have the country well-covered with high-speed 4G internet service. Try and use the providers’ zip code maps to check coverage, in case you want 5G availability. Also, make sure to check if there’s a possibility for you to cancel service and return any phone that you might have bought if a coverage issue crops up. For some, the grace period is 14 days. Count Your Phone Lines It isn’t too tough – count yourself and your immediate family. It’s okay to cover people who don’t live with you. Do The Math For smartphone users, the biggest expense is usually related to data use. How much data you will use is dependent on your Wi-Fi access, and how much you stream.