How to find the best cell phone plan for you

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM

When it comes to picking a cell phone plan, there are hundreds of options.  So how do you know if you're making the right choice?  Jesse Jones gives us some tips on the best way to navigate the sea of options.

Talk and text are cheap but what you spend on data will make a big difference.

"Your kids are using more data than you because they love YouTube videos, they are posting to Facebook daily, many times, but they're not making a lot of phone calls, they're not doing as much texting as they did two, three, four years ago," explained Scott Charlston.

Data costs are measured by megs or gigs.  The more you can get the better.

"It's a measure of how much video, how much email, how much music you're downloading, how many pictures you may be uploading to Facebook.  So it measures that and you're getting a read out on your smart phone," said Charlston.

When shopping a plan, look for the deal and the catch.  T-Mobile charges $50 for unlimited data.   Here's the catch.

"After you use up that bucket of 500 megs of data, with which you can do all sorts of different things, your speed just decreases.  So there's no hidden fees, no overages, etc. It's truly unlimited," explained Jason Young with T-Mobile.

500 megs are about 140 minutes of video streaming or about 1000 minutes of music.  For an extra $20 per month, you can skip the slow downs and have truly unlimited data.

"We really favor unlimited; being able to use unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited data," said Young.

At Verizon it's $40 per smart phone, per month.  You can share data.  The data runs $50 for a gigabyte.  That equals about 4 1/2 hours of streaming video.  The catch is, if you go over your limit, you'll pay more but won't experience a slowdown.

"That's what people need to get their arms around. We call it share everything.  But it's really all about how much data between your two or three or four smart phones in the family and maybe a couple of tablets as well," said Charlston.  

AT&T charges by the smart phone and also offers data sharing.  Probably the best deal is pre-paid plans.  You'll have to pay full price for the phone but the plans can be cheaper.  Just remember, shop around and go no contract if you can.  That way, if the price goes up you can hang up and find another provider.

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