Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Columbia, 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.
Choosing the cell phone plan that's best for Columbia, VA
There are a multitude of cell phone plans available to everyone nowadays, as well as the different wireless carriers who provide them. Figuring out which one is best for yourself or your family can be difficult, but not impossible if you know what you are looking for going in. You need to know exactly what you need in a phone before you sign up for a plan, especially if you are signing a one or two-year contract. While many plans are very similar, a few differences can make the difference between saving money and wasting it. You may be paying more for one feature with one carrier that is exactly the same with another when you don't need to. Use Wirefly to view and compare all the different rates and plans that are available from different carriers. We are here to make sure you don't find yourself trapped in a one to two-year plan that isn't satisfactory.
Cell phone coverage in Columbia, VA 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, VA, 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, VA, 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, VA. 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.
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 Columbia, VA. 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.
Deciding which cell phone plan is best in Columbia, VA
Choosing the right plan requires consideration of the types of services a person really needs. As mentioned previously, most carriers offer three primary services: minutes, text messaging and data usage.
The cheapest plans often limit the amount of minutes and text messages used on a phone line. Some are 400 or less; others might be as high as 1,000 minutes per month. For the person who talks extensively on his or her cell phone, an unlimited plan is the better selection.
No contract plans require loading the cell phone with a certain number of paid minutes. More time is added once the prepaid amount has been used.
Most carriers in Columbia, VA charge a lot for huge amounts of data usage since this has become a major factor in the way customers choose their cell phone plans. With plans often priced per megabyte and gigabyte, going over data limits can become very expensive when overages start adding up. Choosing a plan that covers data usage needs will help customers avoid overly expensive cell phone bills.
Columbia, VA cell phone carrier comparison
There are 4 major cell phone carriers in Columbia, VA. 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, VA, 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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