Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Sterling, MA 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 Sterling, MA. 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.
Finding cell phone coverage in Sterling, MA
You want a cell phone that offers you good coverage in Sterling, MA, so that should be one of the top features to look for. Consider which cell phone carrier offers the best coverage in the area before making your final choice. Just because you find a plan that is cheap doesn't mean that it is good, because what good is a phone if you barely get any service where you live? However, one bright spot is the fact that almost every national carrier offers coverage for all cities in the country, so there is a really good chance your city will also be covered. Check out the carriers' coverage maps that most offer to determine if your city will be covered reliably.
Choosing a plan structure: three compelling options available
Even though the mobile industry has changed in dramatic ways since the turn of the century, the basic plan structure offered by all major carriers remains roughly the same. In fact, this structure hasn't changed in more than two decades. Currently, there are three ways to get wireless service in Sterling, MA. Plan types include: individual plans, family plans, and no-commitment prepaid plans.
So, what separates each plan type from the pack? First and foremost, the big choice to make when selecting a new plan or carrier is whether to opt for an individual or family plan. Family plans are easily the most popular option at all four major carriers, and they're even an increasingly popular offering at no-commitment MVNO carriers. A family plan's popularity largely comes from its distribution of the cost. By bringing more lines together under a single account, you're able to cut the per-line cost of talk, text, and data services. Carriers also like these plans because they're 'stickier.' It's simply harder to move multiple lines to a new carrier than it is to move just one.
Individual plans still have their merits. First and foremost, they're the only option available to people who don't have multiple family members that want to split the cost of mobile service. They're also a great option for people who don't want to be the 'bill collector' in a group of friends or family members, collecting each person's monthly portion of shared service. Individual plans are typically much more expensive than family plans, which is important to keep in mind when comparison shopping.
No-commitment prepaid plans offer you the ability to get a more affordable plan, with even more data, either as an individual or with up to four additional family members. The main draw of these plans, which some people consider a drawback, is that they don't offer device financing plans. On the other hand, they also have no explicit or implied service contract, which makes it easy to hop between prepaid carriers for the best combination of price and features.
Which cell phone plan should you choose?
During the process of selecting a plan, you'll need to consider the number of people who will be covered and what kinds of features they'll need to have. Most service providers divide these plan features into one of these three categories: minutes, texts, and data usage.
Inexpensive contract plans restrict the number of minutes and/or texts to around 400 or fewer. Unrestricted plans are more cost-efficient if you text or talk frequently throughout the day and can't abide any limitations. With prepaid plans, you usually fund your phone card with cash to purchase minutes, which are available per minute or in a bundle, like 500 minutes for 20 dollars. After you've used up your minutes, you must buy more.
How much data you use is an important consideration when selecting plans these days. Many Sterling, MA providers charge a lot for heavy data usage, and there aren't many unlimited wireless data packages on the market. Plans are usually charged according to MB and GB usage. Sometimes, exceeding your data capacity can result in costly penalty fees. To avoid these unwanted charges, choose a data package that can handle the amount of data you use.
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 Sterling, MA:
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 Sterling, MA and change very frequently, but they do often represent a good savings each month.
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