How to choose the right wireless phone and plan
Choosing a wireless/cell service provider
Before you buy a wireless/cell phone, consider your service provider. Service providers determine which phone models work on their networks. So when you're replacing your phone, keep this in mind to help you decide whether you'll stay with your current cellular service carrier or switch to a new one.
Major carriers rely heavily on two incompatible digital networks. Sprint and Verizon networks use mainly Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, while AT&T and T-Mobile use Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) technology. All of these carriers also support high-speed data networks. The network plays a big part in the capabilities your phone will have and, to some extent, its performance.
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Choosing a wireless/cell phone
Choose a conventional cell phone if you mainly need voice and text-messaging capability, and perhaps a music player and camera. Smart phones, with their advanced operating systems, larger displays, QWERTY keyboards, and other computer-like features, are a better choice for people who need frequent access to multiple e-mail accounts, a sophisticated organizer for appointments and contacts, the ability to open Office documents, and Internet-based services. One compelling advantage of most smart phones is their ability to access a host of applications consisting of productivity tools, shopping, multimedia, games, travel, news, weather, social, finance, references, etc.
Get more ConsumerReports.org tips about choosing the right phone for your personal needs and preferences.
Choosing a wireless/cell plan
Get help choosing a calling or data plan using information found here for the top 70 U.S. markets. If you live in or near one of these markets, you can base your search on your zip code. (Comparison tool powered by TeleBright.com)
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