1. What Type of Plan are You Looking For?

Post-Paid Contracts: (The most popular type of plan for Americans) Although you typically get locked in a two-year contract with the carrier company of your choosing, you get certain deals such as discounts in your chosen phone and free calling/messaging between

Pre-Paid Contacts: These contracts let you pay by the minute you speak or by the amount you message. The best deals can be found with T-Mobile, Virgin, Net10, and TracFone.

Monthly-Paid Contracts: This is a slight spin off the Post-Paid Contract. You won’t get the special deals (such as a discounted phone price) of a post-paid contract, however, it will be a better deal compared to a pre-paid plan if you’re someone who uses their phone a lot.

2. Price

T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular are the less-costly of options out there. AT&T and Verizon tend to be more expensive due to their enforcement of two-year plans on most of their phones.

3. Coverage and Data

Although I previously stated that AT&T and Verizon were more costly options, there is a reason for that. AT&T and Verizon have better service and data coverage across the country (and even abroad) that other companies can’t compete with. However, this is only important if you have a smartphone. Otherwise, when comparing the benefits of cost vs coverage, other carriers will do just fine.

4. LTE

4G LTE offers the fastest internet coverage currently available. If you have a smartphone and are a frequent internet user, this is an important option to consider. The best LTE coverage to date is provided by AT&T. Sprint comes in second with its quickly spreading LTE presence across the country and large investments in the field.