Many consumers today prefer to go prepaid rather than subscribe with a post paid cell phone plan. If you are planning to get a prepaid cellular phone, what are the factors that you must consider before choosing a prepaid cell phone service provider?
Cost per call. When you buy a prepaid phone kit, it is often pre-loaded with minutes of calls and text messages. Once you used up your available balance, you must reload your phone to make new calls and send more texts.
You need to be aware of how much you will be charged for every call or text you send as some carriers may offer lower per call rates than others. Sometimes the cost per call or text will vary depending on to which network you send it to. Compared to a post paid plan, keep in mind that prepaid phone service providers may charge a higher rate on calls, especially if calls are made to other networks.
Extra Features. Unlike post paid phone packages, certain features such as call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, call conferencing, voice mail, and wireless web may not be included in a prepaid plan. If you want to use these functions, you must first send a request to your service provider and pay a separate cost for each feature.
Load Expiration. Take note that when you reload your phone, your balance can expire when not used within a specific time period. Prepaid call cards are available in various denominations, depending on the amount you load.
For instance, you may be able to buy a call card that’s worth $20 but it may come with a shorter expiration period than cards with higher denominations. Once expired, your account will have a zero balance whether or not you consumed your last load.
Some carriers enable their prepaid phone users to carry over their unused balance, as long as they reload their accounts before the old load expires. Meanwhile, if you fail to reload after a month or 2, your account may be automatically deactivated and you will need to buy a new prepaid SIM card.
Coverage. Some prepaid cell phone service providers offer coverage to specific States or areas only. Thus, if you are a frequent traveler, you may want to check which service provider offers a wider range of coverage, particularly in the places you often visit.
If you have friends or relatives overseas that you must get in touch with on a regular basis, try to find a prepaid phone service company that not only offer reasonable long distance charges but reliable coverage as well.
Personal choice on handsets. With prepaid plans, phone unit will sometimes depend on the carrier that promotes it. For instance, the phones used for TracFone may not be the same as the handsets available with Net10 or Verizon. Hence, if you like a particular style or unit that is exclusively offered with that prepaid cell phone service provider, carefully review the provisions of the plan before making the purchase.
About the Author
Tara Tiemann is a credit analyst for Go-prepaid.com which has been a resource site for people who want to live debt free. If you are on a budget using prepaid debit cards,prepaid credit cards and prepaid cell phone service can save you big money!