Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Bristol, ME 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 high-powered, pocket-sized computing devices, carriers enacted limited data plans, limits on voice minutes, and costly charges for exceeding a monthly limit of text messages. Now, this is no longer the case. Over the past few years, the wireless industry has gotten far more competitive and the end result is good for the consumer. Due to the price wars between carriers, there has never been a better time to shop for a new cell phone plan plan, or an entirely new carrier in Bristol, ME. If you want to find the best plan for you, there is a lot to think about before purchasing a new plan.
Bristol, ME 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 Bristol, ME. 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.
Types of wireless service plans
Typically, many of the people in Bristol, ME 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 Bristol, ME. 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.
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 Bristol, ME. 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 Bristol, ME:
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 Bristol, ME and change very frequently, but they do often represent a significant savings each month.
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