Prepaid Cell Phone Plans

For many consumers, prepaid cell phone plans are a great alternative to signing up for a multi-year contract with postpaid service. The only way to know for sure is to examine one's current monthly bills to determine the average number of minutes used each billing period and then comparing those figures with the per-minute charges of the plans offered by several different service providers. With prepaid service, the customer purchases minutes before using them. However, it should be noted that some plans sell units instead of minutes. For some calls, such as those made to international recipients, a certain number of units may be deducted for each minute of talk-time. Most companies offer the choice of minutes (or units) in several different increments, such as ten, fifty, and a hundred. Generally speaking, the cost per minute or unit decreases with the purchase of a higher increment. For example, a ten-minute purchase may average twenty cents per minute while a hundred-minute purchase may average five cents per minute. The consumer then purchases additional minutes as needed. In addition, the consumer will need to purchase and activate a telephone from the selected prepaid cell phone service provider.

Providers of prepaid plans advertise their services to several target audience segments. Someone who is on a strict budget or who has a poor credit history can carefully monitor his usage and control his costs. In addition, few if any of the prepaid cell phone service providers require a credit check. Someone who is denied postpaid cell phone service from one of the major carriers because of poor credit has the option of purchasing a prepaid plan instead. Advertising also encourages parents to purchase such plans for their children. Parents can monitor the child's usage and avoid the ugly surprise of receiving a budget-busting bill because of a too-talkative teen. These providers target yet another niche: those who only want a cell phone in case of an emergency. These customers don't talk much, but want to have a telephone with them for just-in-case circumstances. An inexpensive telephone with very low usage costs fits their needs just fine. Anyone who fits one of these target audience segments will want to carefully review the different options and make a wise decision when selecting a vendor and plan.

Postpaid plans may come with a contract, hidden fees, and early cancellation penalties. But prepaid cell phone plans avoid these provisions. For this reason, a consumer who isn't tied into a contract is able to change providers more easily and take advantage of special offers designed to attract new customers. However, prospective customers need to familiarize themselves with the small print in the provider's contract to avoid any unpleasant surprises. In some plans, the minutes can expire after a certain time, in some cases, as few as thirty or sixty days. This hardly seems fair since the minutes were bought and paid for ahead of time. The prepaid cell phone service provider may use this expiration policy as an incentive for customers to purchase larger increments. For example, once a certain threshold is reached, perhaps one hundred minutes, these will not expire. Because of this type of provision and the typically lower cost-per-minute of buying larger increments, these can be a good value. However, the consumer will want to be sure to have a clear understanding of all these policies and provisions ahead of time. It just may be that a monthly plan with a postpaid provider, despite its disadvantages, will be less expensive. Solomon once wrote: "For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it." (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

Different prepaid providers also offer various ways of replenishing minutes and keeping an account active. The purchases may be made online through the provider's website or over the phone. Some major providers have prepaid cards available at major retailers such as gas stations and convenience stores. The customer purchases the card and then follows the instructions for adding the purchased minutes to her account. With some providers of prepaid cell phone plans, regular monthly purchases can be authorized on the customer's credit card. This keeps the account active and ensures additional minutes are regularly added. The cell phones sold by prepaid providers are usually inexpensive and lack many of the extra features included on more expensive phones. The cell phone may not have Internet or email capability, or perhaps it won't have a camera. If these features aren't important, however, inexpensive telephone can be a true bargain.

When evaluating a prepaid cell phone service provider, the prospective consumer also needs to look at the coverage map. In fact, this may be the most important criteria when selecting a provider. It doesn't do any good to save money on a telephone and a plan only to find out that calls can't be made to far-away family and friends because of coverage gaps in the network. Most providers of prepaid cell phone service piggy-back on the giants, but it's important to know this information before selecting a company. Information on the coverage area should be available on the company's website. If not, the company should probably be crossed off the short list of possible contenders for providing one's service. For help in choosing the best provider, consumers can consult one of the many websites that provide comparison charts of various prepaid cell phone plans and their costs. But other factors, such as expiration policies, reliability, and convenience, also need to be considered.

Wireless Phone Providers

Eighty six million customers of wireless phone providers grace this country and that is about one out of every four people in America including the very young and the very aged. Two thirds of all adults in the United States have cell phones, and the number one reason most people have given in the past for the purchase was to have some security when dangerous situations arose. Perhaps the number one reason has now been bypassed by another because has anyone listened to the slightly innocuous conversations that many have on a minute by minute basis throughout the day on cellular devices? Wireless phone companies have definitely brought down the cost of owning a cellular telecommunications device over the past five years. So now with the advances in the capabilities of cellular phones now allow those thirty and under going around sending text messages like IBWISI, which means" I'll believe it when I see it."

If this reader is among the three out of four people who haven't yet needed one of the wireless phone companies, perhaps there needs to be more persuasion about getting a cell phone. America is rife with stories of cellular telecommunications devices having kept people from being separated in large crowds, averted interstate caravans from being split up, helped rescuers find lost and freezing skiers and brought emergency help within minutes of an accident and if the movies are right, wireless phones have brought many singles together through wrong numbers! The competition for consumer's interest is fierce among the many wireless phone providers which means that slowly over time, the cost of a monthly plan is dropping. Most of the companies ask for a contract to be signed. Typically these contracts are twenty four months in length, with a penalty of about two hundred dollars for discontinuing. But there is an alternative to signing long term contracts, and this would be to purchase a prepaid wireless device. Typically, this is more expensive on a per minute basis, but a consumer can buy 100 or 500 minute packages and then pay for more when those minutes are used up.

Typically, many different calling programs are offered by the various cellular businesses. Wireless providers often try to find niche markets, because one size does not always fit all users. For those who have a lot of disposable income each month, there are unlimited calling, unlimited text and unlimited email capabilities. These plans are, of course, more expensive and are usually per phone. Family plans with two or more cells on the plan can split a bank of minutes, but that is assuming that the children or teens will take all the minutes from the parents! Many parents in the past have been genuinely shocked over the amount of minutes their children used for a prior month sending cell phone bills into the range of a thousand dollars or more. But many wireless companies have figured out ways to help parents keep track of the minutes other phones on family plans have been used. Some plans allow the banking of unused minutes from one month to be used in another future month; this option is called rolling over minutes.

Each cell provider tries to get an advantage over another by touting the most reliable service. The most debilitating characteristic of cellular phone use is the dreaded dropped call. Wireless phone companies are continually adding more relay towers and other technological tools to make the dropped call a less frequent occurrence. In addition, most cellular businesses are now adding the ability to surf the Internet, catch television shows, employ GPS for finding one's way through roadblocks and detours and monitor the stock market and so much more all provided at, of course, a premium price. It appears that wireless phone providers will have a long and very prosperous future. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

If a person has ever missed a job interview because of an accident or couldn't cancel an appointment because of a mandatory meeting or gotten a flat on a lonely road in the middle of the night, the convenience versus the luxury of using the services of wireless phone providers is inarguable. Even car manufacturers are using factory installed wireless communication devices so that customers can ask for help in an emergency. For less than fifty dollars a month area specific wireless phone companies are offering unlimited texting and calling within the boundaries of their services which can be an entire state or portions of two or three states. Recent television ads have had certain companies allowing customers to choose which five, ten or twenty most frequently called numbers will be put on a "no charge" list meaning calls to those numbers are not charged towards the total minutes allowed per month on that account.

No individual wants to be ignored; wives want their husbands to talk, husbands want sportscasters to talk, babies love to hear their mothers talk, mothers wish their teenagers would talk, and teenagers have to talk or life dries up for them. Wireless phone providers have provided a way for people to stay in touch with one another and thankfully to often stay clear of danger. If a person has put their full trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God loves to talk to him/her. Unlike wireless phone companies, there is no charge for speaking to the Creator of the Universe. Instead, prayer is just an open line to share life's deepest secrets, greatest fears, worst sins and most wonderful moments. Best of all, prayer doesn't have to be recharged every three days.

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