Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Birmingham, AL at Wirefly. Which cell phone carrier has the best coverage in your area? Click the carrier logos below to launch their coverage maps. Then, use our tool below to compare the price and features of each carrier’s plans. Smaller carriers and MVNOs typically run on the networks of one of the big four carriers you see below.
How to choose the best cell phone plan in Birmingham, AL
Nowadays, the different cell phone plans available are abundant. You don't really have to search for a plan that will keep you connected to family and friends while not destroying your budget. However, it is still important to understand just exactly what you need and how much it will cost before choosing a cell phone plan. You may think that one plan is the best, but you may be paying more for the same features than you would if you chose a similar carrier. When you do come across a cell phone plan that you are happy with, you'll want to compare it to other plans before making the switch. You can save both time and money by viewing many different cell phone carriers and features right here at Wirefly. We'll help you find the plan that is best for you and your wallet.
Birmingham, AL cell phone coverage and reception
Coverage varies across the country, so a key factor in your decision making should be finding a cell phone plan that offers the best coverage for Birmingham, AL. You may really love the features, benefits and price of a plan, but it's important to make sure you're going to get great coverage in Birmingham, AL. Everyone has encountered the frustrating experience of bad connections, so be sure to avoid those experiences by comparing each carrier's coverage map. Most carriers now have coverage everywhere, but the maps tell you how reliable that coverage will be.
Types of wireless service plans
Typically, many of the people in Birmingham, AL prefer a cell phone plan where they receive the right amount of minutes, receive text messages and use data on the go. Choosing a wireless service depends on the quality of coverage for each of these factors.
This is particularly true for people whose cell phone is their primary or only communication device. Having a wireless plan that suits their needs becomes much more important. Using the Wirefly service, users can look up plan details for multiple carriers to see how much they can actually save compared to their current wireless plan.
Basically, three categories exist for wireless plans: family plans, individual plans, and no contract plans.
Family plans give customers a phone line for each family member. With some carriers, devices and plan offerings are provided based on individual need although each line is part of one plan. Family plans come with a higher price tag, obviously, but it is still the best deal for a person who has more than one line. Comparing the total cost per phone is much cheaper than single plan pricing. With some family plans, calls, text messages and data are shared, which means the plan will need to cover everyone's individual needs.
An individual plan is a one line, one rate cell phone plan that does not include other devices or phones. People who are not married or do not have children should choose this type of cell phone plan.
No contract plans, also known as pay-as-you-go, prepaid or month-to-month provide flexible pricing and payment options. This type of cell phone plan has evolved from its original prepaid cell phone card days. Typically, prepaid phones can be picked up from any department store in Birmingham, AL. These phones do not require activation; they are ready for immediate use.
Although customers who get the no contract plan only pays for what they want to use, there are usually additional fees for this type of convenience. Additionally, prices for cell phones under this type of plan might be much higher than a family or individual plan unless a simple style is chosen.
Prepaid plans are attractive to people who do not want the obligation of a contract. A person must sign up for cell phone service with a specific carrier for at least one or two years. Monthly payments are made, but there is also an early termination fee if the customer cancels before the term of the agreement ends.
Which cell phone plan is the right one for you?
When choosing the right plan for use in Birmingham, AL, you should think about how many people will be on the plan and what types of services you want to include. Most carriers factor the points below into your plan.
Before committing to a plan you need to know who will be on it, how they will use it and how much. Cell phone plans are comprised of three elements: talk, text and data. Talk refers to how many minutes you spend speaking to someone on your phone. Text is the volume of text messages you send or receive, and data is the megabytes or gigabytes of information that your phone uploads or downloads using the internet.
To reduce costs on a contract plan you can limit your texts and talk to under 400 minutes or messages combined. If you are a heavy talker, you may fare better with an unlimited plan. The same is true if you tend to send a lot of texts.
If you are using a pay-as-you-go plan, you would simply reload your phone to pay for services. When you purchase minutes you can choose to buy them one at a time or pay for a package. For example, you could choose to buy 1000 minutes at once for a flat payment of $400.
With the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, data is more important than ever before. In Birmingham, AL data can cost a lot of money, and nearly all carriers force you to adhere to a limit. Unlimited data plans are hard to find, but they exist. Data is often charged per megabyte and gigabyte and is subject to expensive fees for overages. This is why it is of the utmost importance to select a data plan that covers you typical data needs. In fact, it is a good idea to allow for more than you will need.
Texts, minutes, and data: which option is best for you?
Now that you know which type of plan you'll be shopping for, it's time to make another important consideration: What do you need each month in terms of voice minutes, texts and data? While this used to be a pretty complex decision to make, especially for family plan members who were splitting each of these three things, that's no longer the case due to shifts in the industry. Current wireless industry plans have almost all dropped limits on voice minutes and texts. Postpaid family plans and individual plans at Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, all include unlimited talking and texting. Only a select number of no-commitment prepaid plans still enforce limits on these use cases.
The good news is that you can focus only on the amount of data that you need on a monthly basis. Two carriers make this decision easy, while two others will require a bit of careful consideration before selecting a plan. Here's what to know when selecting a cell phone plan in Birmingham, AL:
The Un-Carrier, as it's known, recently made a bold push toward unlimited data for all. The company replaced its Simple Choice plan lineup with T-Mobile ONE, an all-unlimited, single plan that it offers to individuals and families alike. The company's Simple Choice plans, which feature 2GB, 6GB, or 10GB of data, are still available for customers who prefer them, however. These plans feature 12-month data rollover and no overages, so there's no extra cost added to the bill based on usage.
Like T-Mobile, Sprint recently unveiled a flat-rate, all-unlimited mobile plan for new and existing subscribers. Customers who prefer not to get an unlimited plan can opt for a 'shared' amount of data that can be used by all lines attached to the account. By default, data speeds on limited plans slow down after all data has been used. Customers can buy a high-speed pass if they wish to have more full-speed data until the end of the month, however.
AT&T offers unlimited data only to customers who also have its DirecTV satellite television service or U-Verse IPTV service. Otherwise, customers will be sharing data buckets with every line on their account. In 2016, AT&T introduced a no-overages policy that slows data to 2G speeds when a data bucket is exhausted. The company also has its 'Stream Saver' service in 2016, which reduces the quality of all streaming video and uses data more slowly as a result.
Verizon eliminated overages early in 2016 and, later in the year, introduced rollover data for its shared data buckets. The company's plans mirror AT&T's, though an unlimited data option is not available to new customers at all.
Smaller prepaid carriers, called MVNOs, typically use one of the four above networks and resell services to no-commitment customers. These plans cover Birmingham, AL and change very frequently, but they do often represent a significant savings each month.
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