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  • 1. Cell Phone Buyer’s Guide Tech-Connect Community [email_address] Presented by: Zeke Crater University Library
  • 2. Personal Versus UVa Phones
    • This session is aimed primarily at personal cell phone selection
    • For UVa cell phone selection, please see http://www.itc.virginia.edu/commserv/telephone/cell.html
  • 3. Cell Phone Buyers’ Guide
  • 4. Intended Use
    • Emergency only
    • Casual use
    • Land line replacement
    • Business phone replacement
    • Texting
    • Web browsing
    • Gaming
    • Email
  • 5. TCO over the term of the contract
    • Regarding price, concentrate on total cost of ownership, not initial cost
    • If purchasing an extended warranty or insurance, know exactly what is covered and what are the deductibles
    • Trust not the sales representative. Get it in writing.
  • 6. Prepaid Cell Phones
    • For light use of 30 minutes or so per month, prepaid cell phones probably have the lowest total cost of ownership
    • Independent Prepaid / No Contract
      • Tracfone / Net10
      • Virgin Mobile
      • MetroPCS
    • Carrier Prepaid / No Contract
      • AT&T GoPhone
      • Verizon Prepaid
      • T-Mobile To Go
      • Sprint Boost Mobile
  • 7. Wireless Carrier
    • Carrier is almost always more important to your satisfaction than is the phone hardware
    • Coverage is carrier related
    • Some phones are carrier specific
    • However, no cell carrier is good at customer satisfaction
    • Some are less bad (Verizon and T-Mobile)
  • 8. Wireless Carrier Market Share Carrier Customers Verizon 91 Million AT&T 83 Million Sprint 48 Million T-Mobile 33 Million TracFone 14 Million US Cellular 6 Million
  • 9. Selecting Your Carrier and Plan
    • There are many websites to help select your carrier and plan
      • http://www.myrateplan.com/
      • http://www.letstalk.com/cell-phone-plans
    • Knowing your usage pattern (how many minutes during which hours at which locations) is key to getting the best price
  • 10. USA Versus World
    • USA cell phone monthly rates subsidize the cell phone purchase
    • One can purchase an unlocked cell phone and use on a carrier without a contract (often called “month to month”), but USA rates are high enough to make a $200 phone “free” every two years
    • GSM versus CDMA
      • Verizon and Sprint are CDMA
      • AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM
  • 11. USA Versus World II
    • Multi-band (dual, tri, quad) refers to frequencies supported by the phone
    • Multi-mode refers to type of transmission technology used on the frequency (1G AMPS, 2G TDMA, CDMA2000, UMTS)
      • For example, the iPhone and Nexus One both support quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), tri-band UMTS (I/II/V or 2100/1900/850MHz on iPhone, I/IV/VIII or 2100/1700/900MHz on Nexus One), single-band WiFi (2.4GHz) and single-band Bluetooth (2.4GHz), thus supporting four modes
  • 12. Handset differences
      • Great differences between phone manufacturers and phone models in:
      • Signal strength
      • Call quality
      • Microphone volume
      • Earpiece volume
    • Know and understand the no fault return policy
    • Test the phone during this brief period
    • Do not be afraid to return the phone for a full refund
  • 13. Dumb Phone Considerations
      • Carrier, carrier, carrier
      • Handset voice quality, both microphone and speaker
      • Are the buttons and display big and clear enough? In bright sunlight?
      • Signal and transmission strength
      • Camera and sending / receiving pictures
      • Battery life
      • Data security
  • 14. Smart Phone Expectations
    • Expect to miss several meetings per year because calendar synchronization is hard
    • Finger (ungloved) versus stylus touch screens
    • “ High” speed data coverage area is different than voice coverage area
  • 15. US Phone Operating Systems Source: ComScore survey   October 2009 Non-Smart Phone 196,773,054 RIM Blackberry 14,963,238 Apple iPhone 8,970,049 Microsoft Windows Mobile 7,131,797 PalmOS / WebOS 2,843,534 Symbian 1,297,965 Google Android 1,020,364
  • 16. Smart Phone Considerations
    • In addition to the dumb phone considerations
      • Do you need a data plan?
      • Will the phone sync to your email and calendar systems? With full feature support?
      • Do you need or want tethering?
      • Replace MP3 player?
      • What does “unlimited” legally mean?
      • Wi-Fi support
      • GPS and compass
  • 17. Picking The Monthly Calling Plan
    • The cost of exceeding your plan limits (prime time minutes, evening minutes, weekend minutes, calls out of network, text messages) are often high ($10-$1000)
    • Know whether you can increase or decrease to the next calling plan tier without penalty or restarting your contract length
    • Regional versus national versus international plans
    • With multiple cell phones, consider getting a family plan
  • 18. Carrier Store Versus Authorized Retailer
    • Phone price differences
    • Incentives / sales differences
    • Different warranty, extended warranty, and insurance offers
    • I would like to say expertise difference
    • Generally, a non-carrier seller will have little to no relationship with you after the sale
  • 19. Also buy…
    • Accessories
      • Car charger?
      • Second wall charger?
      • Holster?
      • Wired headset?
      • Wireless headset?
      • Faceplates?
      • Screen protectors?
      • Styli?
    • Consider buying these two weeks later, once you know your phone usage patterns
  • 20. Exercise Caution
    • Teenagers
      • Texting overages
      • Data overages
    • Ringtone or other purchases via phone can entail nasty ongoing charges – know and trust your vendor
    • Purchases are made in Europe and Japan with cell phones
      • Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate
  • 21. Exercise Your Rights
    • Telephone number portability – take your telephone numbers with you
    • Unlock a cell phone after the contract ends - use your phone on a different carrier’s network
  • 22. UVa Employee Discounts
    • Many if not all carriers give a discount off monthly charges to UVa employees
    • Often a salesperson tells you there is no UVa discount – this is untrue
    • Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all have UVa employee discounts
  • 23. Cell Phone Buyer’s Guide
    • Did we cover it all?
      • Prepaid or monthly?
      • Solo or family plan?
      • Smart Phone or FIYP (Fits In Your Pocket)?
      • Subsidized or unlocked?
      • Which cell phone company is least bad?
      • Do you even need a cell phone?
    • Questions?

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