Unlimited! Unlimited! Unlimited! As consumers, the word “unlimited” saturates the cellular industry, hoping you’ll bite. Many switch to unlimited due to overages they have incurred in the past, they don’t want to worry, or they truly need a large amount of minutes.
So you ask, “How do I know that an unlimited calling plan will be best of me?” I think every person who has a cell phone has wondered if an unlimited plan will work for them. Some of us are able to answer “yes” or “no” right away, we know our habits and cell-phone usage traits. If you are in that gray area to where you are not certain what will work best for you!
Step one: Ask yourself why. Why do you REALLY want unlimited? Do you think you need it? Are you using more than 1000 minutes a month? Can you afford it?
Step two: Look at your bills. Most of us just pay our bills and not go over them unless the amount the company wants is significantly different. It’s always good to keep track of your bills to see how many minutes you are using, what your monthly costs are, when you are on the phone the most, etc., this way you become familiar with what your cellular habits are. The average person always under-estimates our usage and down-plays our habits because it is human nature to do so until we are forced to see the bitter truth.
Step three: Look at unlimited packages. Most unlimited packages start at around $70 a month, depending on the carrier. The price does vary depending on what is included with the plan and what network you are using. If you prefer a larger network with fewer dropped calls, expect that cost to be higher. If you are OK with not-so-great service and dropped calls, the costs may be lower. Most unlimited packages do not include data or texting so if you want those two features you should expect your costs to go up at least $30.
Step four: Compare the yearly costs. Let’s say you spend about $50 a month on your service. You had one month where you went over your minutes, causing $75 in airtime charges. So let’s estimate your yearly cell phone costs are around $675. Now look at the yearly cost of an unlimited plan. If you are on a $70 per month plan for a year, that is $840, over $165 more than what you are paying now.
At this point, you should have your answer.
Those that truly need it, believe it or not, the number is surprisingly small. Most of these users need more than 1000 minutes a month and are the definitive version of the term, “Chatty Cathy.” They are usually in high customer contact positions in their professional lives such as a real estate agent, lawyer, or sales executive. These are people who live on their phones, constantly placing and receiving calls.
A majority of the cell phone users really do not fall into the “needing unlimited” category. Doing your research and determining what is best for you instead of buying into the hype will probably save you hundreds of dollars a year!