Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Columbia, MD 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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How to choose the best cell phone plan in Columbia, MD
Nowadays, the different cell phone plans available are abundant. You don't really have to search for a plan that will keep you connected to family and friends while not destroying your budget. However, it is still important to understand just exactly what you need and how much it will cost before choosing a cell phone plan. You may think that one plan is the best, but you may be paying more for the same features than you would if you chose a similar carrier. When you do come across a cell phone plan that you are happy with, you'll want to compare it to other plans before making the switch. You can save both time and money by viewing many different cell phone carriers and features right here at Wirefly. We'll help you find the plan that is best for you and your wallet.
Cell phone coverage in Columbia, MD is good
No matter how good the features or price on a cell phone plan look, it makes no sense to purchase that plan if it doesn't work in Columbia, MD, or where you live or work. To that end, most of the country has become a hub of very fast and robust LTE coverage on all major carriers and MVNOs in the past few years. While AT&T and Verizon have had broad coverage and fast LTE networks in Columbia, MD, carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint had often lagged behind in terms of coverage, LTE technology, and overall speed. This is not the case any longer.
Now, all four major carriers have the city and its entire suburban area covered with fast LTE technology. In fact, all four carriers score within just a few points of each other in tests of speed, quality of calls, text message reliability and delivery rates, and depth of coverage, in Columbia, MD. This means that you now have more options to choose from, more features to benefit from, and more price points available than ever before. There is no need to compromise on any one metric, and you can really find the best plan for your needs.
Major cell phone plan types
Many Columbia, MD residents use cellphones for several different purposes. They often make voice calls, access the Internet and engage in texting. When people select cellular plans, they need to consider several different limits. Separate caps may pertain to voice minutes, text messages and data transfers. Different limits often apply to international communications, especially when subscribers make calls to people in countries outside of North America.
Individuals who completely or mostly rely on cellphones must find plans with enough data and minutes to fully meet their communication needs. Users who have home Internet connections and/or landline phones may be satisfied with the most basic cell phone services. Either way, Wirefly enables people to find affordable plans that have what they need. Most cell phone plans fit into one of three types: family, individual or no contract.
A family plan is more expensive than individual wireless service, but it costs less per line. All of the subscriber's mobile devices share the same amount of bandwidth and minutes. It's crucial to choose a plan with limits that accommodate the total cellphone usage of all family members. Alternately, a single-line plan only provides service for one phone. It's the most economical option for people who don't live with any other cellphone users.
A no contract plan offers the greatest flexibility and helps keep costs under control. Some providers call it a pay-as-you-go, prepaid or month-to-month plan. This type of service has become more convenient than it was in the past. Locals can visit department stores in Columbia, MD and purchase prepaid cell phones. It's normally possible to begin using the phones immediately. However, extra fees may apply and high-end cell phones tend to cost more than usual.
No contract plans let people spend just as much as they want, and it's easy to switch providers at any time. On the other hand, individual and family contracts usually remain in effect for at least 12 months. Subscribers pay monthly fees and the contract requires them to keep paying until it expires. A substantial fee must be paid to cancel early; it includes a fine and a portion of the unpaid amount.
Which cell phone plan is the right one for you?
When choosing the right plan for use in Columbia, MD, 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 Columbia, MD 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.
Columbia, MD cell phone carrier comparison
There are 4 major cell phone carriers in Columbia, MD. Other smaller carriers, called MVNOs operate using the larger carrier's networks. The big networks offer a lot of coverage, so you will likely find coverage for your area.
AT&T offers an array of plans to fit your needs. From individual and family plans to pay-as-you go plans with unlimited data, there are many options for individuals and families from this carrier. Plans from AT&T are reasonably priced, but their overage charges can be expensive. To combat this, some plans offer rollover options.
Verizon is the largest carrier in the U.S., offering coverage in remote areas where service can be spotty. This probably won't be an issue for you in Columbia, MD, but it's reassuring for travel. Verizon has a large selection of plans and phones, but they do not offer unlimited data, and their plans can be pricey.
Sprint offers a number of budget-friendly plans, including ones that give you unlimited talk, text and data. These affordable plans are excellent for families, but not great for anyone that requires fast, consistent service. Sprint coverage is not the best and the data speeds can be slow. However, the price is often unbeatable.
T-Mobile, who call themselves the “Uncarrier,” only offer no-contract plans. Their plans are affordable and most give you unlimited everything, including data. The downside to T-Mobile is their network. T-Mobile does not perform well in some areas, so if you want to consider one of their plans, be sure to check the coverage maps to make sure you'll have peak performance in your area.
MVNOs and other carriers
There are a variety of other carriers out there and some of them have some great deals. Using our cell phone comparison tool, you can find a plan that works for you and then see what's available from smaller carriers.
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