If you’re like most people, your cell phone is your lifeline.
You can’t go anywhere without it, and if you accidentally leave it at home or in the car, you feel like you’re missing a limb.
Our phones keep us connected 24/7. When we’re bored, they give us a way to pass the time. Not to mention, they help us manage our lives and improve our health, finances, and more.
Since your phone is so important, your phone plan must be doubly important. After all, it’s what enables your phone to do all the cool stuff of which it’s capable.
So, what do you need in a phone plan? Do you need unlimited data? Do you need the ability to call, text, and browse the web no matter where you travel? Or do you need something more streamlined?
To help you make a good choice, let’s look at two different companies offering two standard plans. We’ll examine the pros/cons of each so you can make a smart purchase decision – and not be locked into a contract you hate.
How to Choose a Phone Plan: T-Mobile vs. Verizon
1. Look at Phones and Phone Pricing
Do you need a new phone, or are you ready to upgrade?
This should be one of the first things you consider when looking at plans. If you need a new device, check the prices of the phones available and see if anything is within your budget. Many carriers now offer deals where you pay a down payment, then complete your purchase in monthly installments.
Most carriers now allow you to bring your old phone when you switch to their service, too. If your phone is still relatively new or you like it just fine, see if you can keep using it on a new plan and save some cash.
- This carrier allows you to bring your old phone and phone number when you switch to their service. According to their guide, your old phone just needs to be compatible with their network and unlocked so you can make the transfer.
- T-Mobile has all the latest phones from the most popular brands, like the iPhone X from Apple and the Galaxy S9 from Samsung.
- On Verizon’s network, you can bring your own phone. Before you dive in, you can check your phone’s compatibility with their service on their website.
- The Verizon Store has all the latest smartphones, plus cheaper options from LG, Motorola, ASUS, and Kyocera. They also have trade-in deals, where you get a discount if you trade in your old phone for a new one.
2. Check Coverage and Service Areas
If you live in a large metropolitan or suburban area and don’t travel much, you probably don’t need to worry about network coverage.
However, if you’re rural, travel a lot, or in-between the two, coverage for talk, text, and data will be important to consider. Make sure you check coverage maps for each service you’re considering, then look at their roaming stipulations.
- This carrier has 4G LTE coverage in most urban and suburban In rural areas, they have partnered with local service to provide coverage.
- Verizon has 4G LTE coverage that is slightly more robust than what T-Mobile offers.
3. Consider Monthly Rates for Cell Service/Mobile Data Usage
To make sure you’re getting a plan that will work for you, choose your data limits wisely. Shoot too low, and you’ll be paying overage fees for the extra data you use. Aim too high, and you’ll be paying for more data than you can use each month.
The sweet spot will net you the best price for the amount of data you actually need and use.
Buyer beware: most “unlimited” plans are not actually unlimited. Instead, after you use a certain amount of data, the carrier will cap your data speeds.
- T-Mobile has plans with unlimited data starting at $70/month for one line, and all of them already include taxes and fees. They also offer pre-paid plans.
- This network caps your data usage on unlimited plans at 50GB/month. Once you use up 50GB, you’ll be subject to much slower data speeds.
- Verizon has standard plans based on how much data you need (“S,” “M,” and “L”). For example, on the “S” plan, you can get 2GB of data for $35/month.
- They offer more plans than the average carrier. For example, if you don’t have a smartphone, they have single device plans for hooking up your basic phone. They also offer data-only plans for tablets and pre-paid plans with no contracts.
- Verizon caps unlimited data usage at 22GB/month. After that, you’ll be in the slow lane.
Pay for Your Cell Phone Wisely
Your phone is an extension of you. To stay on-the-go with uninterrupted service wherever you need to be, make sure you get the plan that’s right for you.