My cell phone contract is about to expire, so I thought I’d do some research to see if it was time to trade in my trusted BlackBerry for an iPhone or another touch screen phone with a larger display and faster Internet access. But the options, price plans and hidden fees boggle the mind.
For me, reliable email is as important as reliable phone service, and I need a QWERTY keyboard. Better Internet access would be a big plus. I don’t need or want to pay extra for cameras, MP3s or videos/TV programs on my phone…but some phones come with that stuff anyway.
iPhones may be the bomb, but they’re pretty expensive. I couldn’t find any AT&T bundle discounts, or worse, figure out what my actual bill would be if I went with them, and their plans seem high. But I can get a 10% discount through an organization I belong to. US Cellular may not have cutting edge phones, but you get free incoming minutes, which is pretty nice. Verizon has all those commercials about how reliable their network is, but I read BlackBerry Storm reviews and wasn’t all that impressed. And Sprint…I remember some sort of black and white commercials featuring a building with a yellow Sprint sign…but
I can’t keep straight who has rollover minutes or favorite 5 or mobile-to-mobile or whoever you can call as much as you want for free options. So I searched “spreadsheet comparing cell phone plans” and found myrateplan.com, which at first seemed like an amazing solution but then made things even more confusing because though they offer a TruBill Estimate, they want you to buy from them. Trying to figure out which site to buy from, with all the free this and bonus that made me dizzy. Who can you trust?
More helpful is the CNET compare plan site. You enter your zip code and choose plans to compare side by side…then move on to the phone options. Except the Verizon plan I picked didn’t say anything about its Wireless Internet fee, but it includes free SMS (texting). The chart says in one place that US Celluar has unlimited free weekends, then in another that it has none and you have to pay extra. So I can’t rely on that site either.
I guess I’m going to have to go into each carrier’s store to find out how much what I want will actually cost…in writing.