Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Ararat, VA 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 Ararat, VA. If you want to find the best plan for you, there is a lot to think about before purchasing a new plan.
Coverage is still king: a few things to keep in mind
Coverage has gotten dramatically better for all carriers in the last few years, especially for Sprint and T-Mobile. While the country's two smallest carriers often had their coverage compared to Swiss cheese in the early 2000s, their LTE networks today are fully modernized, dense, and ready to perform well even during times of peak demand. With that said, it's a good idea to take a look at independent test results that show the strengths of each network. These tests, performed by RootMetrics, will help clarify which carrier is best for clear calls, fast data, or consistent texting.
Best for Calls: For the third time in two years, RootMetrics testing found that all four major carriers are almost the same in Ararat, VA when it comes to 'call performance.' This indicates that all four carriers have crystal clear calls, and that all four carriers rarely drop a call that has been initiated. That's great news if your main area of usage each month is wireless minutes.
Best for Texting: During the second half of 2016, RootMetrics testing found that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile were tied for first place in overall texting performance. All three carriers had a near-100-percent success rate in sending and delivering texts. Sprint's texting performance was just a bit shy of making this metric a four-way tie.
Best for Data-Heavy Usage: This category is a bit more nuanced than the others. Overall, Verizon's LTE network delivered both the fastest speeds and the most reliable connections to customers in Ararat, VA. T-Mobile's average data speed increased dramatically in 2016, however, and AT&T showed improvement in average speeds as well.
Breadth of Coverage: All four carriers have an extremely broad network in Ararat, VA, with coverage almost everywhere. Sprint, which is still expanding its LTE network, has slightly less high-speed coverage. Even so, it has the high-density city and suburban areas covered very well.
Getting started: what types of cell phone plans are out there?
While the American wireless industry is changing rapidly and becoming exceedingly competitive, the basic structure of wireless plans remains the same. In Ararat, VA, you'll be able to choose from a multi-line family plan, a single post-paid line, or prepaid options that present no long-term contractual or device financing requirement. Here's a primer on each type of plan:
By far the most popular type of plan in the United States, family plans allow multiple people to 'share' a single account, splitting line and data fees across several different people in order to get a lower monthly cost of service for each person. Most carriers offer significant discounts on the price of a gigabyte of data for multi-line accounts, making it the economical way of signing up for service. Of course, multi-line accounts are also hard to move between carriers due to different device payment plans and coverage concerns.
Quite the opposite of a family plan, individual plans allow a single person to pick the amount of data they need each month without splitting the bill. Though more expensive than family plans, individual accounts are easier to manage and are perfect for people who don't want to split expenses and device upgrades with friends or family members.
Once a strong draw because they lacked contracts, today no-commitment plans are a more affordable alternative to individual plans. Most prepaid plans offer more data at a lower cost than an individual plan at a major carrier. Furthermore, prepaid family plans offer a lower cost for multi-line accounts than some traditional family plans at the 'Big 4.' These plans are ineligible for device financing, however, which means you'll have to pay full price to buy a new phone upon release.
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 Ararat, VA 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.
Comparing cell phone carriers in Ararat, VA
These carriers all cover Ararat, VA. Odds are good that your area is covered. Should you choose to go with a smaller carrier called Even most of the smaller carriers, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, they are usually attached to one of these larger carriers and share the same coverage area.
One of the most well-known wireless companies in the country, and they offer an array of plans. These plans include family, single line, contract and prepaid.
This company also offers plans for families and individuals with or without a contract. You can pre-pay or share and unlimited text and talk plans are available.
With Sprint, even your friends can get in on the deal. With their Better Choice Plan, you can have friends and family members on the plan with you. They may be the place for you if you have large data needs. They are one of the few companies who offer truly unlimited 4G LTE data.
T-Mobile offers no-contract plans exclusively, hence their moniker, the 'uncarrier.' If you want unlimited talk, text and data, go with their T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice plans. All three services are throttled at various levels and you pay once a month. Plans are available for tho individuals and families.
Other cell phone carriers and MVNOs
Use our comparison tool to compare major carrier plans against those of smaller companies and MVNOs that also have coverage in Ararat, VA. They can be an effective way to save money while still getting great coverage.
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