Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Philadelphia, PA 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
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)
Unlimited 4G LTE Data (may be slowed after 75GB of usage per month)
$95/mo+ $30 Upfront
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Things to consider when choosing the best cell phone plan in Philadelphia, PA
The market is flooded with many different options for cell phone plans. Few people are hard pressed to find a service and reasonable monthly price that fits into their budget. They can stay connected and take advantage of a host of features and services.
However, with the buffet of cell phone selections, how many people actually pay for what the truly need? Are more people paying for extras that they will never use? The answer to each of these questions is most likely yes and yes. While one deal may seem like it is the best, especially if a free phone is offered, it could end up draining a person's wallet when compared to a plan that does not include a free gimmick.
Once a person finds a good cell phone plan with the right amount of talk, text and data limits for their needs, it does not hurt to compare it with other plans. Viewing a wide variety of selections is easy to do in one place: Wirefly. This website offers the best cell phone plan pricing to help consumers save time and money shopping for the best price.
Cellular phone reception in Philadelphia, PA
A primary component to consider when choosing which mobile phone plan to enroll in Philadelphia, PA is the reception quality. Identify the mobile phone company with the strongest reception throughout Philadelphia, PA before you make your ultimate choice. You might not have to pay much for a particular cellular phone package, but that won't help you much if your reception is limited in your location. Fortunately, most countrywide services have strong signal strength in nearly all major cities in the United States, so it's likely that their reception will be strong in Philadelphia, PA too. Review the provider's coverage maps to estimate how far their reception reaches.
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 Philadelphia, PA. 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.
Choosing a wireless plan that works best for you
When you are searching for a wireless plan, you will need to consider who will all be using the plan and the different services that you will need to include. Almost all cell phone carriers factor three things into each plan: minutes, text messages, data usage in MB or GB.
When you choose a cheaper plan, you can set a limit on how many minutes and text messages you can use to about 400 or less. But if you talk on the phone a lot and send multiple text messages, an unlimited plan will be the best bet. When you choose a no contract plan, you'll be loading your wireless card with cash that will pay for the minutes. These can be purchased by the minute or bought as a package. For example, 1,000 minutes for a flat rate of $40 is a typical purchase. When your minutes are used up, you'll need to add more to your plan.
The amount of data you use is another big factor in how to pick a cell phone plan. Almost all carriers in the Philadelphia, PA area charge higher amounts for high data usage, and there are basically no plans that allow for unlimited data. Cell phone plans are usually priced per gigabyte and megabyte. With many plans, going over the data limit per month can occur and will cost you in overages. To avoid this, choose a data plan that will be enough for yours or your family's needs.
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 Philadelphia, PA:
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 Philadelphia, PA and change very frequently, but they do often represent a good savings each month.
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