How To Video: Pick a cell phone plan
About Video Comments (0 ) Transcript

How To Video: Pick a cell phone plan

2:27 /

If you want to avoid excess charges and penalty fees, it's essential to understand your cell phone bill. Donald Bell shares a breakdown of your bill along with some helpful tips on paying for only what you need.

-Unless you have money to burn or someone??s paying your bill for you, you should probably understand how your monthly plan is gonna work before you buy a new phone. This really is good to know before you get your hopes up on any particular phone. So, any plan breaks down into 3 basic buckets. You get your call time, your text messaging, and data. Your bottom to your plans will likely put a cap on all 3. And if you go over your allotment, you??re going to be charged a fee and it??s always going to be more than you think. At the top tier, you??re gonna find your unlimited plan, but even here, data has capped a certain amount when you read the fine print. Now, there??s enough jargon and mysterious charges included on every cellphone bill that they deserve a master class on their own, but a lot of that stuff is gonna be there no matter what kind of phone you buy. There are some exceptions though. So, here is what you need to know. If you buy a smartphone like an iPhone, or android, or Windows phone, in many cases, you??ll be contractually obligated to buy a data and message plan. It makes sense since the whole point of this phone is to stay online and stay connected. But if you??re just shopping for a basic phone and you??re tempted at the idea of a smartphone that??s being offered for a penny, just know that these mandatory and messaging plans are going to potentially double or triple the amount that you??re paying each month. If the idea of a 2-year contract scares you, consider a prepaid phone. Every carrier has a contract-free pay-as-you-go option. Typically, they??re limited to just a few models and you often pay more upfront, but this can be a great solution if you need something right now and you??ll put off finding the perfect phone for another time. You can dish this phone whenever a better option comes along. If you need a phone that can be used internationally, let the sales person know that up front. They may point you to a cellphone plan that includes international use or phone that can be used on multiple networks, but the price of ignorance is steep as international roaming charges are insane. Finally, if you??re buying a phone for a child, you should know that there are phones and plans made specifically for them and for parents who want to be able to control how that phone is used. On the other hand, there are phones and plans made specifically for seniors, so don??t be coy about who the phone is for. It will help you find the right phone and the right plan. Of course, before signing any contract, you should read the fine print and take a look out for any hidden fees. You can visit our CNET cellphone buying guide for more information including what to expect when leaving a contract early. For cnet.com, I??m Donald Bell.
  • This is the interactive sidebar!

    Click any icon for more information as they appear--don't worry, we'll pause the video and wait for you to come back.

  • Links Polls Galleries
  • Video Review

New releases

Samsung's Ativ Book 9 2014 Edition...
1:51 July 29, 2014
For anyone tired of working day-to-day on a small screen, but still wants a high-end, thin-and-light with...
Play video
OKCupid plays with our hearts without...
2:58 July 29, 2014
The dating site conducted an experiment that falsified compatibility matches without telling users. When the...
Play video
Track your run and rides with your...
2:35 July 29, 2014
Using your iPhone or Android, this app helps you monitor your fitness activity while biking on the backro...
Play video
Record your golf swing and then...
4:17 July 29, 2014
If you have limited time but enjoy getting out on the green, this app will help improve your golf swing by...
Play video
Why Android Wear is worth watc...
4:16 July 29, 2014
Brian Cooley discusses the emergence of Google's Android Wear OS in the nascent smartwatch market and tells...
Play video
Memorize these Fire Phone gest...
2:01 July 28, 2014
Tilt and swivel your way around the Amazon Fire Phone with a few handy gestures.
Play video
Tomorrow Daily 025: Our Comic-Con...
23:14 July 28, 2014
Ashley and Rich tackle all the best news that came from San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, including the...
Play video
Exploring with tech outdoors
12:21 July 28, 2014
This week The Fix takes fitness to a whole new level with the help of our smartphones. Try golfing, biking,...
Play video
 

Video discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre