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Cell Phone Service Providers
If you purchase a cell phone, you are going to need a cell phone service provider and cell phone plan to go with it. Today, you can choose from a wide variety of wireless providers and plans. The great thing is that there are many choices for consumers that are educated. Make sure you know in advance the type of plan you are looking for, when possible avoid long term contracts, unless the price is truly outstanding and you want to lock in a log term rate.


Most cell providers offer 2 basic types of plans, contract plans and prepaid. Contract plans require you to sign a contract with the cell phone carrier. Most cell phone carriers make you sign 1 year or longer commitments, often times a contractual plan will offer a discount on the phone. Prepaid plans allow you to prepay for minutes and don't force you to sign a contract, however if you run out of minutes you have no service until you can add more.

Below are a list and brief description of some of the best cell phone service providers.

AT & T
AT & T is one of the largest cell phone carriers in the United States. They offer 4G speeds and a wide variety of cell phone plans, as well as the hottest new phones. AT & T boasts the nations largest Wi-Fi network, so if you require nationwide service, AT & T might be a good choice. Slogan: Rethink Possible.

Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile has been gaining traction with there no contract wireless plans. These plans allow you to prepay for minutes, without the hassle of signing a long term contract. Many of the new smart phones are supported on their network and they do offer 4G coverage as well. Known as a discount carrier, you will likely save some dough with Boost, but you may sacrifice a little bit of coverage areas. Slogan: Where you at?

Claro
Claro (which means "(of course) or (clearly)" is a popular cell phone service in many spanish speaking countries. They are very popular in South America, Central America and Puerto Rico. Pre-paid phones and longer term contracts are both available.

Metro PCS
Metro PCS became famous when they started offering unlimited minutes and text plans for a low monthly fee. Metro PCS has pretty good coverage in most urban areas nationwide and can offer pretty good discounts over some of the other major name brand service providers. Slogan: Wireless for all.

Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel is a leading wireless carrier in the United States and abroad. As of the first quarter of 2013, Sprint Nextel had more than 55 million customers. Sprint was the first wireless provider to offer 4G service in the United States. Sprint also received high rankings for being a "green company" as Newsweek ranked them #3 in it's Green Rankings for 2011 & 2012. Sprint also owns the Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless brands, which offer many pre-paid wireless plans.

T-Mobile

TracFone

Verizon

Virgin Mobile
Cell Phones For Kids
Sooner or later your child is going to want his or her own cell phone. These gadgets are all the rage today and they are highly prized by teens and preteens alike. Follow these tips when you feel that your child is ready for their own cell phone.


Make sure that you feel that the child is old enough and mature enough to handle the responsibility of a cell phone. Kids can't wait to grow up nowadays and to them that includes a cell phone. Talk about getting the phone in advance, discuss how they will use the phone and take care of it. If they receive an allowance or get money from chores or birthday's and want a cell phone. Discuss how they will save up for one, or how they will contribute to the cost and maintenance of a phone.

Be sure to monitor the usage of the phone, especially for younger kids. Make sure you know who they are calling and texting. You should be aware of who they are communicating with and how the phone is being used.

A cell phone is a good way for your children to keep in constant contact with you. They can immediately inform you of a any change in plans, make it known that this is one thing you now expect. Most of the new phones have built in GPS and using this feature you can monitor where your child is at all times. This is another good reason for your child to have a cell phone. They can also contact you or help in case of an emergency.

Older children like teenagers are likely going to want the coolest, most expensive new phones. If they want one of these phones, so be it, just make sure that they pay at least 50% of the cost associated with the phone. If they want an expensive gadget like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy they should have a job and be willing to contribute. If the child is getting excellent grades in school then a cool cell phone may be a way to reward them for working hard.

Just remember that you should discuss the pitfalls of kids and phones. No inappropriate texting or photos should ever be sent using their phones. They should never lend the phones to a friend or anyone else. Make sure that they know the type of plan that you have and the cost associated with it upfront. You don't want any large surprise bills later, say from your teenager sending thousands of text messages or pics.

If given the chance, most young people can handle the use of a cell phone. It is a great way for them to prove that they are responsible and trustworthy.

Bottom line is that a kid having a cell phone is not a bad thing, just a decision that should be made as a family.
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