Find and compare the best cell phone plans in New York 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 best cell phone plan in New York
Welcome to the financial capital of America, New York. The leader in the publishing and advertising industries, home to historical figures, and a wild urban metropolis with 8.5 million of only the most diverse people.
Owning a cell phone these days is standard, so it's no surprise that 96% of New York's population own one, with 80% of that figure owning a smartphone. Clearly, NYC is one of the world's most connected places.
It's also not surprising that New York gets superb network coverage from the nation's four major carrier networks. While coverage can be tricky due to physical skyscrapers, the infrastructure of the network itself is rock solid. You should be able to enjoy cellphone data usage from the Queens to Coney Island without an issue.
If you've lived in New York long enough, you'll remember a time where all of the major carriers had some big holes in their coverage. This made it particularly difficult to shop for a mobile service plan, especially if you lived outside the city itself. Many suburbs suffered from particularly poor coverage well into the 21st century. Thankfully, the industry has righted its coverage wrongs in the United States over the last decade. Now, coverage is roughly equal between all four of America's major wireless carriers in New York and the surrounding areas. With that in mind, what should you know before setting out for a new wireless plan or service provider? There are some tips that can make this process quite a bit easier.
Even better for New York citizens, 32 cellphone service providers offer plans in the area, from major to minor organizations. Keep on reading to learn more about the different cell phone plans and what to keep in mind when looking for one.
Cell phone coverage in New York is great
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 New York, 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 New York, 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 New York. 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.
While no cell carrier's network is perfect, metro areas are still well covered by all four major networks. You'll rarely find yourself in an area with low reception, with the exception being tunnels or deserted areas. Some low budget carriers are usually sub-organizations that originate from larger carriers, meaning they utilize the same service towers. This means you can use a low cost plan and get service almost or just as good as premium plans.
New York has a plethora of carrier options with good coverage. 4G LTE is a standard, and even smaller carriers run on 4G LTE.
Types of wireless service plans in New York
Typically, many of the people in New York 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 New York. 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.
It's true that carriers will often claim to be the best of them all in their advertisements, so it's important to compare coverage areas and data rates beforehand. Just turn on the TV in New York and see millions of dollars worth of local cell phone carrier advertisements claiming to be the latest and greatest at the lowest price.
Cell phone plans in New York: better than ever before
Renewed competition in the American wireless industry means good things for consumers. In 2016, the price for a gigabyte of data declined drastically and unlimited data plans made a big comeback at major carriers and MVNOs alike. Now that coverage is relatively equal throughout the New York area, you can shop in entirely new ways, including by price, features, data buckets, or the availability of totally unlimited service.
When shopping for new plans, make sure to fully understand the terms and conditions associated with any offer, including promotional terms, billing credits, device financing restrictions, and other carrier-specific policies that may be in place. While these restrictions are uncommon, it's always better to understand their impact while shopping instead of when the 30-day buyer's remorse period has concluded.
Different carriers to choose from in New York
You can choose from many different carriers when you live in New York, as they all offer coverage in this area. Lesser known carriers, or MVNOs, still operate under a main carrier network, so it is still a good chance your city is covered by them.
AT&T has a number of plan types available with their company. Their plans include contract, family, individual and pay-as-you-go.
Sprint is one of the few wireless companies that offers unlimited 4G LTE data and is a good choice when you don't want to worry about overages. They also offer a new option called the Better Choice Plan.
Verizon is one of the leading cell phone carriers that offer individual, family and no contract cell phone plans. Shared plans can include unlimited texting and talk, along with different amounts of data coverage.
The “uncarrier”, as T-Mobile is known, offers plans that do not require a contract ever. T-Mobile sells family plans as well as individual ones, and T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice are two plans that give consumers unlimited data, talk and text for one price.
Our tools here on Wirefly will help you find the best cell phone plan for you and your family. Compare rates and find the best coverage when you live in the New York area today.
Are There Really Only Four Carriers in New York?
No. However, most people usually think of one of these four carriers: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Dozens of other smaller carriers offer excellent plans and valuable incentives worth looking into. As mentioned before, while some providers are smaller, they still utilize major networks' cell towers. In other words, you'll still get premium coverage. Choose one of these smaller plans for a similar experience at a lower price.
If you insist on going with a mainstream carrier, take one more minute to consider if you could go on with a lesser-known carrier. If your budget allows for it, go for it, but still compare plans between premium networks. Finally, verify coverage is available in your area and compare prices to choose your carrier.
Most areas of New York State are well covered by major networks. 4G LTE, the best connection for mobile devices, is also widely accessible across New York. Again, smaller carriers may use the same towers, resulting in offering the same network service the big guys do. Research different carriers to figure out if a smaller sub-organization of a top four carrier exists.
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