Find and compare the best cell phone plans in Sterling, 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.
Unlimited 4G LTE Data (may be slowed after 75GB of usage per month)
$95/mo+ $30 Upfront
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The best cell phone plan for you in Sterling, VA
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 Sterling, 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 Sterling, 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 Sterling, 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 Sterling, 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.
Which cell phone plan should you choose?
During the process of selecting a plan, you'll need to consider the number of people who will be covered and what kinds of features they'll need to have. Most service providers divide these plan features into one of these three categories: minutes, texts, and data usage.
Inexpensive contract plans restrict the number of minutes and/or texts to around 400 or fewer. Unrestricted plans are more cost-efficient if you text or talk frequently throughout the day and can't abide any limitations. With prepaid plans, you usually fund your phone card with cash to purchase minutes, which are available per minute or in a bundle, like 500 minutes for 20 dollars. After you've used up your minutes, you must buy more.
How much data you use is an important consideration when selecting plans these days. Many Sterling, VA providers charge a lot for heavy data usage, and there aren't many unlimited wireless data packages on the market. Plans are usually charged according to MB and GB usage. Sometimes, exceeding your data capacity can result in costly penalty fees. To avoid these unwanted charges, choose a data package that can handle the amount of data you use.
Comparing carriers in Sterling, VA
There are a number of carriers found in Sterling, VA, and the following all have coverage in this area. Most smaller carriers, known as MVNOs, still operate under one or more of the main carrier networks, so chances are, your particular city will be covered.
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 Sterling, VA:
AT&T offers a multitude of plan types and is one of the most well-known. They offer individual, contract, family, and pay-as-you-go wireless cell phone plans.
Sprint offers different cell phone plans including a new one called the Better Choice Plan. Sprint also offers completely unlimited 4G LTE data, one of the only major cell phone companies to do so.
Verizon offers different plans, such as individual and family sharing plans, and no contract plans. When you choose Verizon, you can purchase a prepaid or shared data plan. A shared plan can be used either by an individual or for a family and includes unlimited text and talk, as well as a pre-determined amount of data.
T-Mobile is known for being an “uncarrier”, because they offer plans that are all no contract. T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice plans offer unlimited text, talk, and data for one monthly price. T-Mobile also sells individual and family plans.
MVNOs and Other Carriers
Using our cell phone plan comparison tool, you can learn more about the other quality cell phone carriers that operate in the Sterling, VA area to choose the one that is best for you or your family.
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