Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Oyster, 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.
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You want to find the perfect cell phone plan for your budget, that will give you all the features and connectivity you need, but sorting through the options can be a bit overwhelming. At Wirefly, we take the confusion out of picking a cell phone plan by helping you compare the features and benefits you're looking for. By breaking down exactly what you need and what you're willing to spend for it, you can sort through the options and find the perfect pick for you. Once you've discovered a plan that has what you need, you can compare it to all the other available plans on the market to make sure you're getting those features for the best price. Our cell phone plan comparisons help you save time and money, all while finding the perfect plan at a price that works for you.
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 Oyster, 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 Oyster, 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 Oyster, 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 different kinds of cell phone plans exist?
While the American wireless industry is changing rapidly and becoming exceedingly competitive, the overall premise of wireless plans remains the same. In Oyster, VA, you'll be able to choose from a family plan, an individual postpaid line, or prepaid plans that present no long-term contract or device financing requirements. Here's the basics on each type of plan available:
Family plans are the most popular type of cell phone plan in the United States. Family plans enable multiple people in a family or small business to share a single account, dividing line and data fees across several different people in order to get a less expensive monthly cost of service for each person on the plan. Most carriers offer deep discounts on the price of a GB of data for multi-line accounts, making it cheaper for everyone. However, multi-line accounts are also hard to move between carriers due to different device payment plans and coverage concerns.
Individual plans enable a single person to pick the amount of data they need each month for themselves. Though these plans are typically more expensive than family plans, individual plans are simpler to manage and are geared towards people who do not want to share expenses and device upgrades with friends or members of their family.
Prepaid plans have become far more ubiquitous these days. The majority of prepaid plans offer more data at a lower cost than an individual plan at a major carrier, but still offer many of the most popular phones. In addition, prepaid family plans offer more inexpensive costs for multi-line accounts than some traditional family plans at the 'Big 4' carriers. These plans are usually ineligible for device financing, which means you'll likely have to pay full price to buy a new smartphone.
Which cell phone plan is the right one for you?
When choosing the right plan for use in Oyster, VA, you should think about how many people will be on the plan and what types of services you want to include. Most carriers factor the points below into your plan.
Before committing to a plan you need to know who will be on it, how they will use it and how much. Cell phone plans are comprised of three elements: talk, text and data. Talk refers to how many minutes you spend speaking to someone on your phone. Text is the volume of text messages you send or receive, and data is the megabytes or gigabytes of information that your phone uploads or downloads using the internet.
To reduce costs on a contract plan you can limit your texts and talk to under 400 minutes or messages combined. If you are a heavy talker, you may fare better with an unlimited plan. The same is true if you tend to send a lot of texts.
If you are using a pay-as-you-go plan, you would simply reload your phone to pay for services. When you purchase minutes you can choose to buy them one at a time or pay for a package. For example, you could choose to buy 1000 minutes at once for a flat payment of $400.
With the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, data is more important than ever before. In Oyster, VA data can cost a lot of money, and nearly all carriers force you to adhere to a limit. Unlimited data plans are hard to find, but they exist. Data is often charged per megabyte and gigabyte and is subject to expensive fees for overages. This is why it is of the utmost importance to select a data plan that covers you typical data needs. In fact, it is a good idea to allow for more than you will need.
Texts, minutes, and data: which option is best for you?
Now that you know which type of plan you'll be shopping for, it's time to make another important consideration: What do you need each month in terms of voice minutes, texts and data? While this used to be a pretty complex decision to make, especially for family plan members who were splitting each of these three things, that's no longer the case due to shifts in the industry. Current wireless industry plans have almost all dropped limits on voice minutes and texts. Postpaid family plans and individual plans at Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, all include unlimited talking and texting. Only a select number of no-commitment prepaid plans still enforce limits on these use cases.
The good news is that you can focus only on the amount of data that you need on a monthly basis. Two carriers make this decision easy, while two others will require a bit of careful consideration before selecting a plan. Here's what to know when selecting a cell phone plan in Oyster, VA:
The Un-Carrier, as it's known, recently made a bold push toward unlimited data for all. The company replaced its Simple Choice plan lineup with T-Mobile ONE, an all-unlimited, single plan that it offers to individuals and families alike. The company's Simple Choice plans, which feature 2GB, 6GB, or 10GB of data, are still available for customers who prefer them, however. These plans feature 12-month data rollover and no overages, so there's no extra cost added to the bill based on usage.
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.
AT&T offers unlimited data only to customers who also have its DirecTV satellite television service or U-Verse IPTV service. Otherwise, customers will be sharing data buckets with every line on their account. In 2016, AT&T introduced a no-overages policy that slows 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.
Verizon eliminated overages early in 2016 and, later in the year, introduced rollover data for its shared data buckets. The company's plans mirror AT&T's, though an unlimited data option is not available to new customers at all.
Smaller prepaid carriers, called MVNOs, typically use one of the four above networks and resell services to no-commitment customers. These plans cover Oyster, VA and change very frequently, but they do often represent a significant savings each month.
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