Enhanced coverage: We recommend choosing a cell phone service that works in your neighborhood first. If all carriers have spotty coverage in your neighborhood and at your home we recommend selecting a provider that offers femtocells, microcells, UMA phones, SIP phones you can use to enhance your in home coverage. Most carriers do not currently offer these features because they fear it will cannibalize their voice minutes. The reality is carriers need to start subsiding voice minutes through location based advertising which will open up more VoIP features. After you have determined this selected a compatible phone and plan that also has the UMA, SIP or VoIP options. See related articles: Using Wifi to get Cell Phone Reception & UMA Phone + Wi-Fi = Home Cell Coverage
Voice usage: Estimate the number of minutes you need by taking an average of minutes from previous months. You can do this by simply calling customer service and ask them how many minutes on average do I use each month. Keep in mind that you will be using your minutes both on outgoing and incoming calls with most plans. If you make less than about 200 minutes of calls per month or use mostly test services, a prepaid cell phone plans will generally be the best choice. If you'll make more than 400 minutes of calls per month, a monthly plan is probably the best option.
Data usage. TXT messaging, browsing the internet, MMS messaging are hardly ever free, and fees can add up fast as people use these features more often. Especially if you are downloading lots of music, ring-tones and media. Most carriers offer both ala carte pricing: 10 to 25 cents per text message for instance as well as unlimited plans for $5 to $10 per month. Make sure you monitor your usage if you buy a package of text messages because going over can be costly.
Roll-over minutes: Before you select a prepaid plan, check the terms and conditions. Some prepay plans require minimum monthly or daily usage fees and minutes may expire after a certain period of time (30, 60, 90 or a full year). Minutes may have different prices depending upon which the times of the day, and some plans include free night, weekend and mobile-to-mobile minutes. The best plans let you roll over minutes by adding funds before existing minutes expire.
International travel: If you travel internationally frequently, be sure to choose a carrier that lets customers "roam" without additional charge. Some carriers may charge you a small fee to roam on another GSM network but it will cost you a lot to call home to the US. We recommend UMA, Wifi, VoIP phones in this case. Rates are very reaons able at 5 to 10 cents per minute from most SIP phone carriers.