Rumor has it that Apple will release the iPhone 6 on September 9th, and if you are thinking that you might like to “upgrade” your old phone to the latest and greatest from Cupertino, then you are probably eagerly awaiting that date.
Me too! But, there are some caveats that I thought I’d share with you this week. And yes, they also apply to Android, Blackberry, Windows and even so called “feature” phones.
With all of the hoopla and hype that surrounds a new phone launch, it’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria and end up with a phone that doesn’t work well for you. Oh, the phone itself is probably just fine. The issue lies with the carrier – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile being the “big 4”.
Since we are less than a month away from the big day, the time remaining for you to do some research is dwindling, which is why I am writing this post now.
Most of us buy our phones with a two year contract. By doing so we guarantee to the carrier that they are going to get 24 months of monthly subscription fees from us. That allows them to “discount” the phone heavily (They build the “discount” into their monthly plan fees). It amounts to a loan to you, enabling you to pick up the new gadget at a reduced cost up front.
All well and good until you discover that your new phone doesn’t get good coverage in the key areas where you live or work. What can you do? You could cancel the contract (and pay a heavy cancellation fee) or “live” with the issue for two years and hope that the cell carrier can broaden it’s coverage areas. Neither is an acceptable solution in my opinion.
As an alternative, you could spend a little time now researching coverage areas to determine which carrier offers the best coverage in the areas that you frequently find yourself in! The first place to start is the carrier’s own websites. All of them have coverage maps. But, since they are bound to be self serving, I place little belief in what they say that they cover. I’d rather look at a neutral third party web site for that information.
As it turns out, there is a site that I think you should visit to see which carrier may be best for you. My favorite is http://webcoveragemap.rootmetrics.com/us Plug in your location and it will allow you to zoom to the street level and show you actual results from nearby cell towers in an easy to understand map. I suggest checking your home, your office, the areas where you normally work and do so for all 4 carriers. This will uncover “dead zones” or areas with weak coverage.
Another excellent resource is http://www.myrateplan.com/ which will help you determine the best rate plan for the way you use your phone.
If you do your homework now, when the big day comes you’ll be able to buy that new phone on the best network and with the best rate plan for you!