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Cellular Service - All about the Network

Is cellular service in the US really all about the network? In some cases, the answer is yes, it does. Any reliable on-line quote for service should come with detailed information on the vendors・ coverage area. Besides that, I'll take a rather high-level look at cellular providers starting with a bit of history.

Anyone remember the days of telephone company deregulation of the 80's? When this first occurred, I for one was not ready to switch my long distance carrier. After all, it WAS about the network. I wasn't about to leave a tried and true, big name provider for a company just starting out.

Fast forward to today. I've dumped my big name provider and went with a much smaller company. Why? Because the networks are far more advanced then they once were. Competition among carriers is fierce. I cannot tell any difference in quality between the big name and the company I chose. The cost, however, is much less than what I was paying.

The point?

The 'networks' are much more reliable and have to be in order for a company to stay competitive.

What does this have to do with cellular service? Well, it's the same thing. Most of my family and friends have cellular service. Between them, there are a number of different providers represented. When I ask any of them what they think of their service? Quality of calls, signal strength, picture taking, ring-tones, etc. they are all happy with the service they have. Apparently each of the different networks is just as good as the other.

So, is cellular service really all about the network? I would say no, it's all about the 'deal'. Because the industry is so competitive, I would look for free shipping, free phone and cash rebates along with the monthly rate. For the people I spoke to, these are the important factors. Now add in the ability for number porting (keeping your existing phone number when switching providers) and the competition for your business really heats up.

The biggest complaint I've heard from friends and family is that once they sign their contract, that's pretty much then end of it. Better deals are being offered all the time to 'new' customers but not to the 'existing' customer. Sure, they may get a newer phone, but not the same as what's being offered to 'new' customers. I expect this to change very soon especially considering number porting. If a vendor wants to keep their customer base, they better start to offer the same deals to 'existing' customers as they do new ones.

Until that time, take your phone number and shop for a better deal.

I would look online first, as the better deals tend to be online. Why? Cost. Not only is it cheaper to reach a large group of consumers online, it・s very cost effective.

When shopping for your next cellular calling plan, remember that・s it・s not just the network you should be concerned about. The consumer is in charge here. Whenever competition becomes fierce, the smart consumer generally comes out ahead!

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