Cell Phone Buying Guide from T-Mobile +GIVEAWAY!

Alright, I know I said I was done with giveaways, but when T-Mobile twists my arm, I am just so flattered that I had to say yes.  Plus it’s packed in with some fantabulous information, which is what I’m all about anyway.  So first the awesome information I learned when I attended an amazing event put on by my friend Stephanie and T-Mobile last week.

People are constantly asking me what phone to buy, which carrier to use, which operating system is the best, etc.  My personal bias aside, the real answer is that it really just depends.  So what is going to be the right answer for ME is not necessarily the right answer for you.  The trick is to ask the person who will be selling you the device specific questions to make sure that it’s going to end up being the right choice for you.

Tips for buying and giving a mobile device

Key questions to review with your sales associate:

  • What does my rate plan cover?  Basically  you are going to want to know if you will have unlimited text messages (essential these days I think), how many minutes you will be allowed if there are any overage fees for going over your plan limit, etc.
  • What kind of speeds/data am I getting?  Will it be important for you to get information to your phone at lightning fast speed?  Maybe you want to hook your laptop up to the phone, so you can use the internet wherever you are.  Speed will be very important for you in that case.  If you won’t be a heavy internet user on your phone, it will be less essential, obviously.  T-Mobile has a great calculator for you to check out http://www.t-mobile.com/Tools/MBCalculator.aspx
  • What is the exchange/return policy?  Sometimes a phone can be like getting married to someone you met on the internet.  You really don’t know the phone until you pick it up and actually use it.  Maybe after you’ve used it for a few days, it just doesn’t feel right in your phone, or the volume button keeps getting in your way.  Whatever it is, you should have an escape clause!
  • How much will my monthly payments/charges be?  You will for sure need to know if you are going to be able to pay your bill every month!
  • What are roaming charges?  Roaming charges can occur when you are out of range of your network.  Once (many years ago) I came to Utah for Thanksgiving, and my husband was still home, we chatted often on our cell phones, not realizing I was racking up some serious roaming charges.  A $500 bill later, you learn to ask about these things.
  • What are your warranty/insurance policies?  I’ve dropped many-a phone.  Sometimes in the toilet, sometimes in a parking lot, and sometimes the phone just doesn’t work right out of the box.  Whatever it is, even though sometimes you can get a phone for super cheap, the actual phone is much more expensive.  Buying one while you are still within your 2 year contract can be super expensive.  Cover yourself, and make sure you know what you can do when things go wrong.
T-Mobile has some great contract free plans as well.  I know my sister’s family has been on a pre-paid plan for YEARS, and they are incredibly happy with it.  So if you don’t want to get locked into a contract, T-Mobile has great options for you, but you may have to pay a bit more for a phone up front, but if you don’t use it much, you may end up saving BIG!
Are you buying your teenager their very first phone this year?  T-Mobile has some great tools for you and for them to help make sure they aren’t abusing the privilege.
  • DriveSmart Plus-Distracted driving is dangerous, especially with new drivers.  DriveSmart manages distractions by silencing incoming notifications, sending callers to voicemail and auto responding to text messages.  There is automatic driving detection and parents parental control options.  (including notification of cell phone use while driving)
  • FamilyWhere- It allows parents to track the location of any phone on their plan.  You can set reminders to check where your kids are and see activity up to 7 days back.
So, go into the store with an open mind, and allow the experts to direct you to exactly what you are looking for, either for yourself or for someone else!
In honor of these fabulous tips, I’m giving away a T-Mobile phone (service not included).  The prize will either be a myTouch by LG or myTouch Q.  Simply leave a comment on this post to enter, only one entry per person, and the giveaway will close on 12/16/2011 at 8 PM.  Good LUCK!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com


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