10 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Wireless Carrier

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-03-28 Print this article Print

5. Plan simplicity

It's important to choose a carrier that has plans that can be readily understood. Verizon, for example, has a convoluted plan structure that requires users to match up the number and type of devices they have, how much data they want and how many text messages per month they need. It can get unwieldy for large families.

6. GSM or CDMA?

Do you often travel overseas? Are you looking for the option to switch from one carrier to another? If so, GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile might be the way to go. If none of that matters, then opting for a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) carrier like Verizon or Sprint might make sense. Think seriously about the back-end technology.

7. What about regional carriers?

All of this talk of carriers has focused on the major carriers. However, there are a host of regional carriers that are delivering really great services for people in certain parts of the country. Check those companies out and decide if that matters.

8. Does prepaid matter?

Although the majority of customers in the wireless industry are so-called "postpaid subscribers," which means they pay for the amount of service they use each month. There's also the option to go with prepaid services on smaller networks or on major carriers. But if you are looking for a prepaid service, your choices might be limited.

9. Customer service

Each year, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power rate the carriers on their customer service. And each year, they all perform quite poorly. Still, some are better than others when it comes to different kinds of service like phone, email, chat and product support. So do your research, and figure out which of those might be most important for you.

10. An eye to the future

The wireless industry might be one of the most innovative from a product-design perspective, but when it comes to carriers, it falls short in a big way. So, think about the carriers' desire to do something special or unexpected in the future. Are they innovative and have an eye on the future, or do they want to keep things the same? If you're one of the more innovative types, choosing a company that eschews outdated ideas might be a good idea.

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