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Q &A Column - From
our January 2001 Newsletter
DECIDING WHICH CELLULAR PHONE IS RIGHT?
am having trouble deciding which cellar phone company and plan is
right for my
business. Do you have advice on how to choose the right plan?
are so many cellular service companies out there, and each with
of plans. So how is one to pick and choose? Before picking a cellular
service plan, what are the factors that you must consider?
Here are a
few that you should ponder:
usage, that is how many minutes a month will
you use your phone?
features you must have. For example: caller
ID, paging with or without text messages, voice mail, free
long distance, and wireless web service.
you can tolerate. There are rates that range from
$9.99 to $399.00 a month.
of service where you live or do business.
Is the phone
for business or personal use?
Based on the
above factors, you can determine which service plan meets your
needs best. There are websites that can help you make that choice.
www.point.com/plans offers a point-and-click method of determining
service that meets your criteria from about 80 qualifying plans.
If you dont have
access to the Web, you can check the daily paper for advertisements
give you rates and the cost of features.
Here are some
sample rates from various service providers:
For at least
150 minutes a month with free long distance, here are some typical
Free & Clear 180 $29.99
GTE) DigitalChoice FamilyNet Share Plan 250 $34.99
Special Holiday Plan 1500 $34.99
GTE)DigitalChoice 250 $34.99
(formerly CellularOne SF) California 200 $39.99
As for the
type of phone, there are analog (in which the phone sends a
continuous stream or signal), and digital PCS (in which the phone
sends bursts of
digitized signals) to choose from. In either case the phones send
their signals to
a cell that is a geographic region that contains a radio transmitter
equipment, thus the derivation of the term "cellular"
phone. From there the signal
is connected to a regular phone exchange where your call is routed
destination by various means.
were first to come on the scene
over 20 years ago, and now there are different digital systems out
competing for your business. The trend is for digital systems to
because these systems are more secure, and can handle a higher number
per cell. Your best choice for a higher quality of service is to
choose a phone that
combines both analog and digital technologies. That way if you are
where only one or the other exists, you can still communicate.
you purchase a phone, you should check with the service provider
that you have selected to make sure that it is compatible with the
technology that is built into that phone. It is also prudent to
select the service
provider that provides as many "cells" as possible near
your place of business or
home so that you avoid "dead" spots where cellular service
is not available. Also
check with various service providers to see if they have special
deals where you
can get a free or low-cost cellular phone when you sign up for activation.
that activation often involves payment of a small fee as well.