Before you go to purchase that new phone, it’s essential to assess whether you should also get a new wireless plan. The vast amount of mobile services available in most countries can be very overwhelming if you’re approaching this for the first time. Remember that it’s important not to just pick the cheapest plan with the most minutes. Consider what might suit your needs best over the next year or so before making your choice. Here’s what to consider when comparing plans.

Make Coverage a Priority

The most crucial factor in delving into is your cell phone carrier’s network coverage in the region you call home. If you wish to make calls or check email when you are on your daily commute or tucked away in a rural cabin, it’s crucial to find a carrier with solid coverage in your neighborhood. You can do this by checking out coverage maps on each network’s website or checking out independent crowdsourced surveys.

Assess Your Data Consumption

Examine your phone bill to determine how much data you are currently consuming. Then, go to each of the carriers’ websites to see what options they offer in terms of monthly allotments. Or simply ask your carrier what amount of data is recommended for your phone, and go from there.

There are a couple of factors to take into account when choosing your cell phone plan: How much data you will use and how many people will be sharing the plan. If you don’t care about high-definition streaming, unlimited data, etc., you might be able to downgrade to a cheaper plan.

Read the Fine Print

The most enticing promotions all come with fine print. How much exactly is the carrier willing to offer you for “free?” Will you really get unlimited talk and text? Are they just charging you ungodly fees for data usage? What’s the actual cost of running your phone overseas? Will they throttle your speeds or hit you with extra charges if you use too much data? For example, the free overseas data only applies to a handful of countries, and the “unlimited” data can be cut off if you use your phone too much. Always make sure to confirm what ‘unlimited’ means – for example, unlimited calls or unlimited internet access?