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So, you’re looking at jumping into the ultra high tech world of cellular phones. That shouldn’t be a big deal, practically everybody has one these days. But, before you go out and sign up for your shiny new phone, there a few things you may want to consider.

This guide is meant to help you in choosing your cell phone, along with your service provider. As I write this, I am currently a customer service representative for a very large, reputable phone company. It may sound like an interesting job, but the term “helldesk” is a more accurate description . Throughout my time spent talking to lots of interesting/infuriated people, I have come up with a few thoughts on getting a cell phone.

See what’s available in your area - Chances are, if you live in a farmhouse thirty-four miles out of town, your choices are limited. However, if you are an urban city dweller, you probably have quite a few companies to choose from. Make sure you’ve found every provider in you area.

Check their reputation - Since everybody and their dog has a cell phone, you’ll want to know how they like it. So ask them, and ask their dog too, if they are happy with the coverage, prices, customer service, and overall product they have received. If you get a lot of negative feedback about one company, you will most likely want to avoid them.

Look at their offers - The best prices on equipment and rate plans are available only to new customers. This is your golden opportunity to get your free phone and sweet deals. After six months, another phone of the exact same make and model could cost you $100 or more. Find out how much each phone would cost to an existing customer. It may be worthwhile to pay $50 for a $200 phone, rather than get a $100 phone for free, a difference in quality which you will eventually notice.

Know the rate plans available, and understand your rate plan - This is very important. You will want a map of your coverage area, which tells you what calls will cost you in roaming and long distance. This is important, and is the cause of a large portion of complaints with cell phones. Cell companies can be very unforgiving if you have a four hundred dollar phone bill because you didn’t know Point Pleasant wasn’t in your calling area.

Anticipate the future - If you already have a cell phone, this refers to all those things you wished you would’ve known when you signed up. For example, the warranty on the phone. You’ll want to find out how long it lasts, and what is covered, so that if you phone stops working a month later, you won’t be surprised at the fifty dollars you’ll have to pay to have it replaced.

Read your contract - This is also very important. Most companies won’t hold themselves responsible if you can’t get your phone to work in your office, and they will not let you out of your contract for that reason. So, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into, so that you don’t end up paying a hundred and fifty bucks to cancel it later.

There you have it. This may be a little bit of overkill for something like a cell phone, but I’ve talked to enough pissed off people that rushed into getting a phone and paid the price later. So take your time, ignore the pushy salespeople, and be sure about your decision.

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