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Certain carriers such as Verizon USA have an "approved list" of devices. This means that although the phone is compatible with the carrier's network frequencies, the device is blocked. Device is compatible with the network carrier. Device is compatible with some of the network carriers frequencies. It may work. Device is not compatible with the network carrier. Will My Phone Work. Follow Us. Device Brand not listed? Need help finding your Model?

Device Model not listed? Limited data options currently come in 1, 3 and 9GB a month at full speed. Once that runs out your data gets slowed down, rather than stopped entirely. Unused data in one month gets rolled over to the next month. Its prices are lower, and it has more plan options than T-Mobile.

Best cell phone plans: families

Music Unlimited lets you stream music from over 40 services, including Pandora and Spotify, without deducting from your data allotment. It can also help you stay under the unlimited plans' 35GB high-speed data threshold. However, its unlimited plans have a max video streaming resolution of p. DVD-quality streaming is fine and consumes less data than HD streaming, but it would be nice to have the higher-quality option, especially since phone screens now support high resolutions. US Mobile is an MVNO that lets you customize nearly every aspect of your plan, from the network down to the amount of talk, text and data.

It uses Verizon and T-Mobile networks, two of the best and fastest networks in the U. These networks span both types of cellular technologies used in the U. This approach can save usage-conscious customers a lot of money compared to an unlimited everything plan from a Big Four cell phone company. You can also always add minutes, texts or data onto your account, should your needs change.

It allows you to stay in touch via voice calls and text without paying extra for data service you don't want. The talk-and-text plan, which offers unlimited minutes and texts but no data access, is the cheapest option. So, for example, a family of four could add two lines of Unlimited Extra, a line with 5GB of high-speed data and a talk-and-text line. Cricket is generally a good value, with prices on a par with those of other carrier-owned prepaid services and much lower than the prices of similar plans on its parent network. The carrier often features new-customer promotions, such as discounted or free smartphones when you switch from another carrier.

The Unlimited plan caps download speeds at 3 Mbps, while all other plans cap download speeds at 8 Mbps, up to the data allotment. But overall, Cricket is one of the best choices for plans with little or no data access. Our goal is to help you find the best cell phone plan for the least amount of money. We spoke with Doug King from RootMetrics and representatives from three of the Big Four mobile networks, including Allan Samson, the senior vice president of customer acquisition for Sprint. We started with a list of 45 companies and quickly narrowed it to 15 services based on the availability of unlimited data plans.

We performed in-depth research into these 15 companies, judging their networks, plans and extras. Price is also an important factor. We compared plan prices for individuals and families and considered what you get for that price, noting things like high-speed data threshold and hotspot allowance.

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Finally, we looked at smaller things like the selection of phones you can buy from the provider, whether it lets you add a tablet or wearable to your plan, and how many lines you can add on a single plan. Here are some key considerations to make to help you choose the right cell phone provider for your individual needs Cell phone plan prices vary depending on the amount of data and number of lines you add.

In many cases, however, family unlimited plans are a better value, as many carriers offer discounts for multiple lines. Cellular are the only providers that operate their own networks.

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These excluding U. Cellular, which is a regional provider are known as the Big Four. All other cell phone providers in the U.

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Big Four companies are more expensive but usually include more features and extras in their plans. MVNOs tend to be prepaid services that cater to budget shoppers, offering cheaper plans and device options than the Big Four. Big Four direct customers get priority when networks are congested, whereas MVNO customers may see slower speeds. Though Verizon Wireless has the best-performing network across the U. When you shop for a new plan, you should first check which carriers perform well in your area. The competition between cell phone providers is fierce, and services are constantly changing their plans and prices in attempts to one up each other — something comparison shoppers can take advantage of.

Every year, more people get smartphones, smartphones get smarter and, no surprise, we use more data. In , Ericsson published its annual Mobility Report , which found that North Americans use an average of 5. Some use much more, but most people only need about 3 to 5 gigabytes, accounting for Wi-Fi use. If you have a family plan, do this for everyone on the account, as some plans count your data in aggregate, while others count data per phone line.

If you use less than 5GB per line on average, you can probably find a better deal that fits your needs. If you often use your data plan to stream content, especially at high resolutions, you probably need an unlimited plan, as streaming applications are notorious data hogs.

You can also turn off Wi-Fi assist for iPhones and background data usage for Android, use free public Wi-Fi and disable video autoplay on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Usually, you can keep your own phone even if you switch carriers, as most cell phone companies allow you to bring your own device to a new plan. There are a few things that could impede this, however, including carrier-locked devices and different cellular technologies.

Some carrier-purchased smartphones have a software lock in place that prevents them from working with any other carrier. Factory unlocked phones do not have this problem, nor do many phones from Verizon. Your phone may have a lock if it was purchased through your carrier or if you chose a specific carrier when purchasing your phone from the manufacturer.

To unlock your phone to use with a different carrier, you may need to wait a set amount of time after buying your cell or pay off the phone in full. After unlocking your phone, make sure your device is compatible with the network you want to switch to. Within the U. Traditional cell phone plans operate on a postpay basis: You use your cellular service for the month and are billed for how many minutes and messages you racked up and how much data you used during the billing cycle.

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Prepaid plans, offered by carriers such as Metro by T-Mobile and Google Fi, have customers pay their bills prior to receiving service for the month. Some do this through prepaid service cards, while others operate online or through stores, similar to their postpaid counterparts. Both styles of cellular service have their strengths. For example, traditional service offers better deals and payment options for new phones. Also, postpaid plans tend to have extras or freebies, while prepaid plans rarely have perks. Still, prepaid plans can save you money compared to plans from the Big Four, and they give you the benefit of knowing exactly how much your phone service costs each month without bill-time surprises.

Prepaid plans prevent any unexpected data overage charges. Mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs, also offer cheaper service by buying network service wholesale from the Big Four carriers. Cellular networks all have a threshold for how much data they can handle at any given time. If there are too many people on the same network in the same place, it causes network congestion.

Think of your data as a car merging onto a freeway; when the network is acting normally, there is little traffic, and the car can merge directly without slowing down. Congestion is like a traffic jam, where more people are trying to get the same amount of data through the network at the same time.