When shopping for a deal on cellular service, the first thing to remember is that carriers set their monthly rate plan prices, and those prices don't change from dealer to dealer. Whether shopping online or at a local dealer, you will always pay the same monthly service fee for the rate plan. However, the initial phone cost can vary significantly depending on where the purchase is made. There are essentially three (3) different channels open to you when buying your phone and plan?
- Buying direct from the carrier's corporate store or website
The carrier almost always charges more for your initial phone purchase when compared to a local dealer or online website. Some consumers feel that the extra cost is worth the convenience and security of knowing they can take the phone back to the store should any problems arise.
- Find an independent local dealer
Local dealerships are located on almost every street corner in most larger towns and cities. You can expect the same or slightly better pricing on the phones compared to the carrier direct route. Independent dealers get paid by carriers for each new customer they sign up, so some dealers (particularly those in metropolitan or other competitive locales) will offer free or heavily discounted phones to entice customers to sign one or two year contracts.
- Shop at an online merchant
Online merchants usually offer the best pricing. While you may notice hundreds of websites claiming to sell phones directly, only four online merchants, Amazon, FonCentral, Lets Talk, Simply Wireless, and WireFly are authorized by the carriers to sell online. Every other site uses one of these merchants to ship the phone directly to you. ##SITENAMESHORT is the only site that lists all of these merchants using our unique Comparison Pricing Grid.