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What Service Should You Use as a Business Owner?

Apple® introduced the iPhone 5 at the end of September of 2012. Not surprisingly, devoted iPhone lovers and users flocked to cell phone providers to pre-order the new release. Initially, AT&T was the only cell phone provider to offer iPhone service with Verizon following, and Sprint later jumping on the bandwagon. It wasn't until March 27, 2013, that T-Mobile became a player with the other three major cell phone providers.

Important Things to Consider Before Deciding on a Provider

Price is always an important consideration, but you also want to look at what you get for the price. Even more important than the price, you will need to look at each cell phone provider's coverage area. People who live in major metropolitan areas won't need to be as concerned as people who live in smaller towns or rural communities. Most providers have fairly decent coverage in all of the big cities. According to a report by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News.com Technology, Verizon came out on top as the best city provider. The findings were based on a Consumer Reports subscriber survey to which 63,000 readers responded.

All of this being said, depending on your location, you may not have as much of a choice when it comes to choosing a cell phone provider, whether for business or personal use.

Consider The Purposes For Which You Use an iPhone

As a business owner, you may use your smartphone for many purposes. The iPhone 5 is the lightest iPhone to date, and it is arguably lighter and sleeker in design than any of the comparable Android, Windows, or Blackberry smartphones. With some providers you can actually talk on the phone and surf the Internet simultaneously.

The iPhone also has an excellent camera, so some business people may find the high quality of the camera and the ability to easily upload photos useful. The flip side of that is that doing so uses data, and with the exception of Sprint, all of the cell phone providers limit the amount of data subscribers can use, even on their most comprehensive plans.

Cost of the 16 GB iPhone With Each of Four Major Providers

Cost of 16 GB iPhone by Carrier

 

Length of Contract

In an attempt to lure users who don't want to be tied to a contract, T-Mobile has done away with the requirement that their subscribers lock themselves into a two-year contract. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all require a two-year contract commitment for subscribers who want to take advantage of their most cost-effective plans. It is also worth noting that Sprint and Verizon can charge subscribers up to $350 for terminating their contracts early. AT&T charges up to $325.

Cost of iPhone by Carrier

Other Considerations

When you break down the cost of the three providers who first carried the iPhone, Sprint charges the most. The caveat to that is that you don't have to worry about keeping track of the amount of data you use, and you don't risk being throttled (or having your Internet speeds slowed) if you go over the maximum amount of data use that the AT&T and Verizon allow. If you are a business user and you use your iPhone a lot – either when you're away from the office or not at home, then Sprint may be a viable option.

If you are a business user and your business frequently sends you to different locations for significant time periods, then you might not want to be locked into a contract with any provider – especially if you don't know which provider will offer the best service where you are. In that case, the flexibility of the T-Mobile plan may be better for you, but that won't take effect until after April 14, 2013.

Ultimately, your decision as to which provider to choose depends on where you are. Check the service area map for each provider before making a decision. Analyze the amount of data you use, and how much you think you'll need when using your iPhone as a mobile hotspot. Be proactive and look over each provider's website to see all of the possible options.

The best plan for a business user is the one that offers consistent reception and one that spells out everything that is included in the plan. Be sure you understand what additional charges you may incur for exceeding the data limits. Those extra charges can be pretty significant. Don't forget that you're locked into a two-year contract with every provider except T-Mobile, so you'll wind up paying between $325 and $350 to break the contract. Another consideration is that most providers have locked phones. This means that you won't be able to use the phone with a different provider should you decide to switch.