Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Wheeling, IL 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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Sprint Unlimited BasicNo ContractFeatured This is a featured placement from an advertiser where their product matches your search
Deal: Get up to $650 per line when you switch to Sprint
Stream DVD-quality video at 480p, no overage charges
500MB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot
Unlimited international texts from US to 185+ countries
Unlimited MinutesTalk & Text (to/from US, Canada & Mexico)
Unlimited 4G LTE Data (may be slowed after 50GB of usage per month)
With the wealth of cell phone plans on the market today, you're almost certain to find a plan that suits your needs perfectly. However, this wide selection can sometimes be overwhelming. You must go into the search with a clear idea of exactly what your budget is and what level of service you need out of your plan. For example, you may see a plan that provides all the text, data and minutes you need, but the price is a huge strain on your budget. Meanwhile, there's a plan somewhere else with the exact same service level at a fraction of the price. What you need is the ability to compare several different prices and plans in Wheeling, IL side-by-side for a more accurate overview of what's available. Fortunately, you can do just that here at Wirefly.
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 Wheeling, IL 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 Wheeling, IL. 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 Wheeling, IL, 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.
Different cell phone plans
Typical cell phone users in Wheeling, IL look for a plan that will allow them the basics- to send and receive text messages, make calls and use their data when needed. A wireless service depends on factors such as minutes offered, text message limits, and data limits.
Depending on how much you plan to use your cell phone, choose a plan that you are certain will meet your needs. We allow you to search different carriers and their plan types with our service and you will see the savings you could get by choosing that particular plan. You'll choose from three categories for wireless plans.
These plans are: individual plans, family plans, and no contract plans.
Individual plans, or single line plans, only include one line per plan. The line includes talk, text and data usage and will not include any other device or phone. When you don't have children or a spouse, a single line may be the best cell phone plan for your needs.
A family plan is the best choice when you have multiple phone users in your family, as it mixes up plan offers and devices. If you are in need of two or more lines, this plan is probably the best choice, even though it will cost a bit more. Everyone who has a phone in these plans will share minutes, data and text messages, so it is important to choose a plan that will cover the needs of absolutely everyone in your family.
A prepaid, or pay-as-you-go, month-to-month cell phone plan is also known as a no contract plan. These are generally flexible by way of pricing and payments. Pay-as-you-go phones offer way more options nowadays than when they first came out for sale. Most Wheeling, IL department stores offer prepaid phones that you can purchase and start using right away. Simply pay for the features you want. However, you may be required to pay additional fees and the price of the actual phone may be higher, unless you pick a very cheap model. Many pay-as-you-go companies now offer the latest smartphones as well, and you will never be bound to a contract with this type.
When you choose a carrier that offers contract plans, you are typically being asked to sign up for a minimum of one year, but more than likely you'll be bound by contract for two years. This is a good choice if you want the newest smartphone but can't afford to pay for it upfront, as you can pay in monthly installments as part of your actual phone bill. When you wish to cancel, you either have to wait until the contract is up or pay an early termination fee, which could be hundreds of dollars, depending on the amount of months that you have left.
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 Wheeling, IL. 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.
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 Wheeling, IL:
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 Wheeling, IL and change very frequently, but they do often represent a significant savings each month.
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