Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Garfield, AR 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.
For a long time, the technology in smartphones was evolving faster than the 'Big Four' wireless carriers in the United States. As phones grew into robust, pocket-sized computers, carriers enforced small data plans, limits on minutes, and expensive charges for exceeding a monthly allotment of text messages. That is no longer the case, thankfully. Over the past four years or so, the industry has gotten far more competitive and innovative. The result is that there has never been a better time to shop for a new wireless plan, or an entirely new wireless carrier, in Garfield, AR. If you're in the market for a better plan that can fit with your unique usage patterns, there is much to consider before heading out to shop and make a commitment.
Coverage is still king: a few things to keep in mind
Coverage has gotten dramatically better for all carriers in the last few years, especially for Sprint and T-Mobile. While the country's two smallest carriers often had their coverage compared to Swiss cheese in the early 2000s, their LTE networks today are fully modernized, dense, and ready to perform well even during times of peak demand. With that said, it's a good idea to take a look at independent test results that show the strengths of each network. These tests, performed by RootMetrics, will help clarify which carrier is best for clear calls, fast data, or consistent texting.
Best for Calls: For the third time in two years, RootMetrics testing found that all four major carriers are almost the same in Garfield, AR when it comes to 'call performance.' This indicates that all four carriers have crystal clear calls, and that all four carriers rarely drop a call that has been initiated. That's great news if your main area of usage each month is wireless minutes.
Best for Texting: During the second half of 2016, RootMetrics testing found that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile were tied for first place in overall texting performance. All three carriers had a near-100-percent success rate in sending and delivering texts. Sprint's texting performance was just a bit shy of making this metric a four-way tie.
Best for Data-Heavy Usage: This category is a bit more nuanced than the others. Overall, Verizon's LTE network delivered both the fastest speeds and the most reliable connections to customers in Garfield, AR. T-Mobile's average data speed increased dramatically in 2016, however, and AT&T showed improvement in average speeds as well.
Breadth of Coverage: All four carriers have an extremely broad network in Garfield, AR, with coverage almost everywhere. Sprint, which is still expanding its LTE network, has slightly less high-speed coverage. Even so, it has the high-density city and suburban areas covered very well.
Comparing cell phone plans
When you are searching for the best cell phone plan for your needs, you'll definitely need the very basics of cell phone coverage. This includes talk, text and data, which vary according to each carrier. Different wireless services offer different plans concerning these three factors: individual, family, and no-contract.
We offer an easy way to search through different cell phone carriers and plans in Garfield, AR. You can check out who has the best deals that will help you make a smart, educated decision. You'll be looking at three different categories concerning wireless plans.
An individual plan is also called a single line plan. There will be only one phone plan to pay for, which is perfect if you don't have any children or a spouse.
Family plans are the best choice when you need to pay for multiple devices in your family. These plans typically offer two or more lines and do cost a bit more. However, the cost is comparable to having multiple single plans within one household and much easier to keep track of. Everyone in the plan with a phone will share data, minutes and texts.
Pay-as-you-go phones were once very popular and then faded away for a bit. However, these no contract, prepaid phones are making a huge comeback, especially since most national carriers now offer them. You can even purchase most newer smartphone models and simply buy a prepaid card with minutes. You add this to the phone plan and once it runs out, you simply buy another. Many plans offer huge savings for bulk minutes, such as 1000 minutes for $50. This plan is perfect if you need a phone, but don't use it often enough to need unlimited data, text or calls.
Many wireless carriers offer contract plans to new customers, meaning you will need to sign a contract for at least one year, usually two. This is a good idea when you don't have the cash to pay for the latest smartphone, as you can spread the payments out over the contract period, bundled with your actual monthly phone bill. These plans often allow you to upgrade your phone to the newest model after a year if you wish to have the latest phone. However, you cannot get out of a contract unless you pay an early termination fee, as well as pay off your existing phone model. This could mean hundreds of dollars in fees, so be sure your plan is the right one before signing any contract.
The elements of a cell phone plan
The biggest difference between cell phone plans, outside of price and coverage, is the amount of features available to you. Most plans come with some kind of talk, text and data availability, but the amount and price of those features varies.
The majority of contract plans offer unlimited talk and text, but if you don't need that many minutes or messages, you can save some money by choosing a limited plan. With no-contract plans, you can buy minutes and messages individually or in grouped packages to use as you need them.
You'll definitely want to consider the data packages available when choosing a cell phone plan in Garfield, AR. The more data you need, the bigger your price tag will be. Going over your data limits will typically cost you overage charges, so be sure to pick a plan that offers enough data for you. Most plans are priced by the megabyte of gigabyte, but a small amount of plans do offer unlimited data plans. The unlimited plans typically allow you to use a certain amount of data at high speeds and then limit you to using unlimited data at very low speeds.
Finding the best cell phone plan for your needs
Now that you know which kind of cell phone plan you want, it's now time to make another important decision: what do you need each month in terms of minutes, text messages, and data? This used to be a slightly complex decision to have to make, but that is no longer the case due to changes in the wireless industry. Current cell phone plans have almost all dropped limits on calling minutes and texts messages. Postpaid family plans and individual plans at Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, all include unlimited talk and text. Only a small number of no contract prepaid plans still enforce limits.
The good news is that you can choose to look at only the amount of data that you need on a monthly basis. Two of the major carriers make this decision pretty simple, while two of the other major carriers require a bit more decision making before choosing a plan. Here's what to keep in mind when selecting a cell phone plan in Garfield, AR:
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.
The Un-Carrier, as T-Mobile has dubbed itself, recently made a move toward unlimited data for all. The company added to its Simple Choice plan lineup with T-Mobile ONE, an unlimited, single plan for individuals or families. T-Mobile Simple Choice plans are still available for customers who prefer them, however. These plans feature data rollover and no overage charges, so there's no extra fees added to the bill based on your usage.
Verizon got rid of overages early in 2016 and started offering rollover data for its shared data plans. Verizon's plans are similar to AT&T's, however an unlimited data option is not available to new customers at all.
AT&T offers unlimited data only to customers who also have DIRECTV or AT&T Internet. Otherwise, customers have shared data plans with every line on their account. In 2016, AT&T introduced a no-overages policy that throttles 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.
Smaller prepaid carriers, called Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), usually operate on one of the four above networks and resell services to no-commitment customers. These plans cover Garfield, AR and change very frequently, but they do often represent a good savings each month.
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