Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Irvine, CA 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.
Choosing the cell phone plan that's best for Irvine, CA
There are a multitude of cell phone plans available to everyone nowadays, as well as the different wireless carriers who provide them. Figuring out which one is best for yourself or your family can be difficult, but not impossible if you know what you are looking for going in. You need to know exactly what you need in a phone before you sign up for a plan, especially if you are signing a one or two-year contract. While many plans are very similar, a few differences can make the difference between saving money and wasting it. You may be paying more for one feature with one carrier that is exactly the same with another when you don't need to. Use Wirefly to view and compare all the different rates and plans that are available from different carriers. We are here to make sure you don't find yourself trapped in a one to two-year plan that isn't satisfactory.
Cellular phone reception in Irvine, CA
A primary component to consider when choosing which mobile phone plan to enroll in Irvine, CA is the reception quality. Identify the mobile phone company with the strongest reception throughout Irvine, CA before you make your ultimate choice. You might not have to pay much for a particular cellular phone package, but that won't help you much if your reception is limited in your location. Fortunately, most countrywide services have strong signal strength in nearly all major cities in the United States, so it's likely that their reception will be strong in Irvine, CA too. Review the provider's coverage maps to estimate how far their reception reaches.
Types of cell phone plans
The hallmark of a great plan is flexibility. Most cellphone users want a customizable plan that will allow them to pay for only the data they need, the texts they send and the minutes they use. All cell phone plans include some combination of talk time, texts and data. Some offer a la carte options as well.
If you're like thousands of other Americans, you rely on your cell phone for nearly all of your communication needs. This is why it is imperative to select a plan that's perfect for you and your usage needs in Irvine, CA. Use Wirefly to compare a wide variety of carriers and plan types and learn how much you can expect to spend. You may even same some money over the plan you currently use. Cell phone plans generally fall into one of these three categories: individual, family and no-contract.
Individual plans have a single line item that reflects the total charges for voice, text and data for a single phone. This plan is best for single people with no children or spouse.
If you do have a family and want everyone to be on the same wireless plan, consider a family. These offer family members to have their own device and unique coverage allowances. These can be pricey, but are worth it if you have multiple phone lines. They allow families to share data, text messages and minutes. Choose a plan that can adequately meet the needs of everyone in your family.
No-contract plans give you the benefit of great coverage without the hassle of being locked in. Also known as pay-as-you-go, no-contract plans used to mean buying a pre-paid card and loading it onto your phone. Now, phones themselves are pre-paid. You can purchase a prepaid phone in most major department stores in Irvine, CA. The cost of the phone covers the data, texts and minutes you use. You may be charged additional fees if you exceed your limits. Most of these phones are fairly expensive so that all your usage can be covered. You can typically find the latest smartphones in pre-paid versions.
Most phone contracts last a minimum of 24 months, but there are some you can get for just 12 months. Payment is due on a month-to-month basis, but you have to pay for the whole life of the contract. You cannot break the contract early unless you pay a hefty termination fee. This fee includes a percentage of the outstanding amount on your contract plus penalties.
Choosing a Suitable Plan
There are several factors to think about while comparing service providers and specific plans. You need to consider the number of individuals or separate mobile devices in your home. It's also important to look at non-voice communication features, such as data access and texting. Internet downloads are measured in gigabytes. Many cell phone providers no longer apply separate limits to texts or voice minutes, especially if users sign multi-year contracts.
Prepaid plans let users buy specific numbers of minutes. For instance, a person might pay $20 to talk for eight hours. The phone stops working after this time runs out. Inexpensive contracts may limit subscribers to less than 500 texts and/or minutes. An unlimited plan is typically more affordable for anyone who repeatedly communicates on a cellphone throughout the day.
Data bandwidth has become an important consideration for Irvine, CA smartphone users. People use it to browse the mobile Web and use online apps. Cell phone companies usually demand considerable monthly fees for plans with high data caps. Substantial extra charges may apply if a person exceeds the limit. It's wise to choose a service that provides more than enough bandwidth. Few providers allow subscribers to download unlimited amounts of data.
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 Irvine, CA:
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 Irvine, CA and change very frequently, but they do often represent a significant savings each month.
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