Cell phone Users Top 5.6 Billion People Worldwide

In 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper made the first cell phone call while walking the streets of New York City. Since then, cell phones have spread across the planet, with users in all walks of life. Despite their genesis as devices weighing in at several pounds, mobile phones are now pocket-sized and able to provide all sorts of services that transcend basic telecommunications.

What’s more, mobile phones have transformed many daily activities and routines. This technology allows us to connect with others at all times, from almost anywhere. In many cultures, including our own, it’s almost unheard of to know someone who doesn’t have a mobile phone.

If you’re shopping around for a cell phone, there are plenty of carriers offering a variety of cell phone plans. Determine what your needs are and choosing the right cellphone plan is a snap.

The advent of smartphones

For the first 30 years of cellular technology, cell phones were used to make calls and later to send text messages, but in the early 2000s, all that changed. The third generation mobile network came to life, allowing mobile phones to perform other functions.

As data transfer speeds increased, cell phone manufacturers began designing devices that more closely resembled miniature computers than basic telephones. These new mobile devices were dubbed smartphones. Able to access the Internet remotely, smartphones allowed for new possibilities in the world of mobile communications.

Today, smartphones are as recognizable as any cell phone. The technology’s popularity continues to increase among consumers who commit to the necessary plans to support the higher levels of data usage smartphones require.

Selecting a cell phone plan

Even though smartphones are growing in popularity, there are still plenty of cell phone plans that do not require higher-level data packages. If you plan on using your mobile phone for phone calls and text messages only, there’s no need to purchase a smartphone or a corresponding mobile phone plan with a large data use allowance.

Most carriers still offer cell phone plans designed specifically for customers who want to use their mobile phones for traditional services. Cell phone plans without data packages are sometimes sold with a set number of calling minutes per month. If a subscriber uses more than that plan’s allocation of minutes each month, he or she could pay a hefty surcharge for each additional minute of talk time that they rack up.

In an effort to compete, many cell phone carriers have designed plans with perks to get around these surcharges for overuse. Some companies allow for unused minutes from each month to be tacked onto your next month’s limits. Others have discarded the minute-tracking aspect altogether and offer subscribers unlimited calling each month.

In network vs. out of network calling

Another aspect of mobile phone plans that consumers should pay attention to is each carrier’s coverage area. Some carriers have extensive coverage areas, while some local carriers are limited to regional networks. If you travel outside of your carrier’s coverage network, you are considered to be roaming, and you could be in a sticky situation.

Some carriers simply charge users more for placing a call or otherwise using your cellphone while in another carrier’s coverage area. Others don’t have sufficient contract agreements with other carriers to offer roaming access to subscribers. In these cases, you may not have service if you leave your carrier’s coverage area.

Similar to the limitations on minute use, some mobile carriers have done away with roaming fees to compete in the marketplace. If you’re on the road a lot, it’s definitely in your best interest to consider a plan that doesn’t include a surcharge for using your device outside your home network.

Choosing the right mobile phone doesn’t have to be hard, and it can even be pretty fun. Look at all your options and make the choice that fits your lifestyle best.