Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Alaska 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.
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If you've lived in Alaska long enough, you'll remember a time where all of the major carriers had some big holes in their coverage. This made it particularly difficult to shop for a mobile service plan, especially if you lived outside the city itself. Many suburbs suffered from particularly poor coverage well into the 21st century. Thankfully, the industry has righted its coverage wrongs in the United States over the last decade. Now, coverage is roughly equal between all four of America's major wireless carriers in Alaska and the surrounding areas. With that in mind, what should you know before setting out for a new wireless plan or service provider? There are some tips that can make this process quite a bit easier.
Alaska cell phone service coverage
Before signing up for cellphone service, people need to confirm that local coverage is available. The best provider may differ depending on where a person works, lives and shops in Alaska. You can also benefit from finding out if service is offered in other areas that they frequently visit. A plan may cost relatively little, but it isn't worth the expense if 'no signal' errors frequently appear.
The good news is that major cellphone services generally provide thorough coverage in nearly all U.S. cities. Nonetheless, it makes sense to compare multiple companies' coverage areas and find out if they serve the entire region. This is a more important consideration for people who frequently travel to different parts of the United States. 'Dead zones' remain more widespread in small towns and rural areas.
Understanding the different types of cell phone plans
When searching for a cell phone plan in Alaska, you're looking for one that gives you enough minutes, text messages and data to fit your needs. These features are broken down in plans by: minutes covered, text messages available and data limits.
Most people rely on cell phones for the majority, if not all, of their communication needs. You'll need to make sure the plan you choose has enough talk, text and data for you and anyone else you choose to carry on your plan.
Each cell phone plan has its own limitations, so deciding the most important features for you and your family is key to discovering the perfect plan. To help you out, here's a breakdown of the 3 main categories of cell phone plans:
Individual plans offer services for one line on one phone. All of the minutes, data and text available in the plan can only be used by that phone. If you don't want to add anyone else to your plan, then this could be a great choice.
Family plans spread out the data, minutes and text over several lines and phones. The number of lines and phones is up to you and some plans offer discounts for adding additional lines. If you want service for your entire family, these plans are the best deal because they are cheaper than buying individual plans for each person.
With no contract plans, you pay for service without the obligation of a contract. Often called pay-as-you-go, these plans offer the same features and benefits of individual and family plans, but often with additional fees. Most plans now allow you to use the same smart phones available for other plans, but at a higher price. Payments can be made each month and some carriers offer online or phone payments by credit card, bank account or prepaid cards that you can find in most Alaska department stores.
The biggest advantage of the monthly plans is the absence of a contract. With family and individual plans you are bound by a contract that is typically no less than 2 years. This contract obligates you to pay for service through the end of the contract, and early termination comes with fees, penalties and extra charges.
Which cell phone plan is the right one for you?
When choosing the right plan for use in Alaska, 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 Alaska 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.
Different carriers to choose from in Alaska
You can choose from many different carriers when you live in Alaska, as they all offer coverage in this area. Lesser known carriers, or MVNOs, still operate under a main carrier network, so it is still a good chance your city is covered by them.
AT&T has a number of plan types available with their company. Their plans include contract, family, individual and pay-as-you-go.
Sprint is one of the few wireless companies that offers unlimited 4G LTE data and is a good choice when you don't want to worry about overages. They also offer a new option called the Better Choice Plan.
Verizon is one of the leading cell phone carriers that offer individual, family and no contract cell phone plans. Shared plans can include unlimited texting and talk, along with different amounts of data coverage.
The “uncarrier”, as T-Mobile is known, offers plans that do not require a contract ever. T-Mobile sells family plans as well as individual ones, and T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice are two plans that give consumers unlimited data, talk and text for one price.
Our tools here on Wirefly will help you find the best cell phone plan for you and your family. Compare rates and find the best coverage when you live in the Alaska area today.
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