Buying a Cell Phone – Complete Shopping Guide For Plans and Phones

Nothing in the history of human technology has gained as much popularity or necessity as the cell phone other than maybe the personal computer. They allow you to be in contact all of the time anywhere in the world (providing you have reception). You can do more than just talk these days. These phones let you surf the web, play games, text, and even send and read email. Digging through the many service plans and accessories can be a very difficult task for even most veteran users. Read on to learn how to get the perfect service plan and phone for your wireless needs.

Choosing to buy a cell phone and a service plan to match is going to take some research and some work, so do not expect to find your perfect match overnight. Cell phones are no longer just a convenient way to keep in touch audibly, they are a lot more since their first appearance in high tech culture. These days you may find yourself checking your e-mails, sending pictures and text messages, keeping track of your stocks or world news, editing and reading business documents, listening to your favorite MP3 songs, or adding new personal and business contacts via your laptop computer.

When shopping for a phone, your choice of wireless service can alter which type and model you will be using. A wise plan of action is to shop for your carrier first. Finding out the best coverage and monthly pricing plans for your area will make your experience with your phone more enjoyable. Remember, even the best phone will be worth squat to you if you do not have a good carrier. While some accessories will work with many models, most phones will work only with one mobile carrier due to the exclusivity of their networks. Most providers lock their phones so you are less likely to leave their wireless network so remember that the wireless network is your phone’s life support.


What is a smartphone? Basically it is a cell phone but with the added capability of running document type applications and comes with a alphabet keyboard style pad, usually it is the Qwerty. Aside from that, the smartphone has more memory and a larger screen for browsing the Internet and sending emails. As far as media goes, a smartphone is also a perfect way to watch movies, video, and listen to MP3s. Most smartphones are now also 3G phones.

3G Phones

3G cellular phones are basically third generation mobile technology phones that allow you to transmit data (Internet) in larger amounts at a much faster rate, 2 megabits to be exact. This is far faster than the original speeds previously available (19 kilobits per second). So if you have documents you need to send to your boss or associates, a large amount of email messages to send, need to surf the web for research, or need to send video or images often then this is the generation of phone you will be wanting to acquire.

While a 3G phone is a great technological advancement, a third generation phone is only going to be as good as the network it is on. As a matter of fact, some areas may not carry 3G services at all, so make sure to ask your dealer if your area can even take advantage of the data speeds.

Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all claim to carry the same data rates for their select 3G phones. The keyword spoken is “select”. Make sure you understand which phones will actually be compatible with the 3G networks and what speeds your actual phone can handle as well. You will want to ask if your phone is compatible with either the EvDO or HSDPA networks, if not, then you may want to seek out another phone that is.

GSM Phones

While there is a wireless standard for the United States, many countries will use additional wireless standards that can cause many problems for any US citizen traveling abroad with their US bought phone. GSM stands for the Global System for Mobile communications. If you plan to travel outside of the United States then you will want to entertain the possibility of owning a Quadband phone. Quadband means your phone runs off of four world frequencies being USA (850 Mhz and 1900 Mhz), Europe, and Asia.

If you plan to travel to rural areas within your own backyard (United States) then look into purchasing a tri-mode phone which can run off of an analog channel and two digital frequencies for additional coverage in in those low coverage areas.

Phone Body Styles

It is becoming where no one person has the same style of phone these days. They have different names such as the candy bar (phones that slide open from either the side, top, or bottom), the swivel (phones that twist to expose the phone functions), and the ever so common clamshell (flip phone). A quick tip to remember when choosing your phone style is that if your phone comes equipped with the keypad exposed on the outside, make sure it has a key lock. You do not want to be calling everyone under the sun while walking with your phone in your pocket.

Style vs. Function

Regardless of the newest trend or fad, make sure the style you choose is one that works for you. Testing the comfort of the phone against your ear is not commonly practiced, but you will find quickly you will have wished you had tested it once your ear gets sore and raw from your various hour long conversations. Also practice answering the phone to see how easy it is for you to operate and see the caller ID, having an easily accessible phone can help reduce unnecessary last minute stress when finding your phone in the first place. Although smartphones will add some bulkiness for talking, their keyboards are necessary for ease of many functions such as typing and web browsing. You may have to sacrifice some talking comfort. If you can find a medium between function and comfort, you may have found your match.


Newer phones can give you a lot of talk time compared to the cellular devices of the past. These days a phone can give you up to 4 hours of talk time and up to 14 days if used with a standby function. Remember, not all phones will have this lasting power but more and more are getting this power efficiency added to their battery life. It is important to remember though, that the higher the bandwidth your phone uses, the more battery life can be drained from your phone. Also remember that the more functions you use on your phone, the more battery life you can expect to use as well. Some phones have additional options such as larger capacity batteries for an additional charge, this may be an option you will need.

Phone Screens

Now if you plan to use your phone almost exclusively for phone calls then your screen shouldn’t be too much an issue. As long as you can see outgoing and incoming calls, you should be okay. If you plan on utilizing a 3G or higher device a larger screen will be necessary to properly view the web, emails, etc. Make sure you are able to tweak with the back light settings of your phone before you buy it to check it’s visibility under different lighting situations.

Touch Screens

While the concept of the touchscreen phone is relatively the same, not all touchscreens function the same. Some screens can register more than one touch activation at one time. This kind of screen is called a multi-touch. A multi-touch screen will let you manipulate an object while it is being touched such as swivel, twist, zoom, drag, etc. Single touch screens register one touch at a time with your finger and while it may seem less zesty, it can also help save you from accidentally doing more than you intended to. A good touchscreen phone should allow you to adjust sensitivity settings that work better with your own personal style, or should we say, personal touch.


If you are purchasing a smartphone then you will be running into what is called a Qwerty keyboard. These keyboards have the alphabet on them as well as punctuations to help type out emails and texts more efficiently. Qwerty usually comes as an addition to the dialing pad. Aside from smartphone keypads, make sure your numeric dialing pad is just as easy to use. Smaller buttons can tend to get in the way of each other causing miss dials. If you must sacrifice your dial pad for convenience of size, make sure your phone comes equipped with voice activated dialing. Obviously this will help you make calls easier, not to mention help you comply with local cell phone laws.

Operating Systems

If you are purchasing a smartphone then you will want to understand a little about the operating systems available. Just like your computer has an operating system, so does your phone. Here are the current operating systems: Windows Mobile OS, Palm OS, Symbian OS, Mac OS, Google Android

Palm OS: Good Productivity Software and Easy Learning Curve

Microsoft OS: Microsoft Office and Great Phone Compatibility

Symbian OS: Good Productivity Software but LessUser Friendly

Mac OS: Optional Paid Download Applications

Google Android: Optional Download Applications

Common Cellular Phone Features

Mobile phones come with all types of internal management features such as phone book, calendar, speed dial, call history, voice activated dialing, photo albums, dial pad lock, and more. As well, many phones come equipped with hardwired features such as speaker phone, cameras, and even walkie talkie features. As you can imagine, there are many additional options that you may want or need so pay close attention to features available with the phone you would like to buy and make sure it is going to perform all the tasks you require .


If you drive while using your phone or just prefer to not have your phone pressed up against your face throughout the day, a headset will be an accessory you will be wanting to have with yours. In many cases it will come with a headset, but if not you can pick up one for a fair price. Typical headsets are attached to a wire and in the case you don’t want wires make sure you get a bluetooth equipped phone for wireless conversations. Most smartphones come bluetooth equipped.

Choosing Your Cell Phone Provider

While many wireless carriers will boast in their commercials of their network reliability, only usage will tell. Ask friends and co-workers which networks they use for their phones and if you still are not sure go with a carrier that gives you a 30 day trial basis. The major carriers with the most vast networks are Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, and T-Mobile. It is suggested you go with one of these carriers for the best chance at getting reliable coverage.

Choosing Your Calling Plan

National calling plans are usually the best packaged deal, even if you use your phone locally. Always try to find a plan that offers free roaming, roaming charges can soar if you ever leave your network and many people don’t even know when they have so controlling roaming costs can be difficult. If you travel outside the country, international roaming is a package add-on must.

Choosing Your Data Plan

If you plan on using your phone for email and the web then a data plan is something you will want either bundled or added on to your monthly bill. Accessing the Internet without such a plan can run into the hundreds when charged by the minute and at a higher price.

Choosing Your Minutes

Free nights and weekends may have you thinking you need less minutes, but be warned, each carrier has their own definition of what “night time” is. Make sure you know when your calls are free and what time their weekends start and end. Pick a minute plan that goes over what you think you’ll use to spare yourself the bill of going over. Minutes go up in price once you max your limit. If the minute plans look to complex because of the amount of minutes, divide them by 60 to get the numerical equal in hours.

Your Contract

The best deals always come with the lengthier contract. 2-3 year contracts usually allow you to get the best calling plan as well as the best phones for less or free. While this may be the route you wish to go, remember that leaving earlier can be very costly when it comes to cancellation fees. If your phone is expensive, make sure to get a warranty and insurance plan for your phone so if anything happens to it, it can be replaced.

Replacing Your Home Phone?

If replacing your home phone then making sure your service will include E911 is going to be vital for obvious safety reasons. Ask your provider and inform them you are replacing you home phone.

How to Start a Mobile Phone Business – An Introduction

So your job seems to be going nowhere and this current recession has you worried. What are your options?

You could look for yet another position at yet another firm, with the hope that it will be marginally better than the one you have now and that you will actually move up the corporate ladder instead of sideways. Or you could start to build your own business on the side and have something to go to when you are ready.

Becoming self-employed has been the dream of many people for a very long time. After all, when there’s millions willing to join the rat race there must be an equally large group who want to leave it behind.

So how do you do that and what field do you choose? Which money making venture you chose depends on what you think you will do well at. There are almost as many different ways of starting your own business as there are people in the world.

Selling things online or through bricks and mortar businesses has often been the way many people choose to make money for themselves. One good product line to select could be the cell phone. In short, start a mobile phone business.

Why start a mobile phone business?

While the world is in recession right now and consumers aren’t buying as much as they used to consumer electronics have managed to buck this trend… handset sales will grow by 3% in the US and Europe next year with developing markets like South America, Asia and Africa achieving much stronger growth in wireless cell phone sales.

People still want to keep in touch with each other when times are tough and if you start a mobile phone business that is online or through eBay then phones are fairly easy to ship to different countries due to their small size and light weight and cellular phones will not incur the huge duties that some other, higher profile items attract.

How can I sell mobile phones?

You can sell cellular phones any number of ways. By opening up your very own bricks and mortar cell phone store, stocking GSM phones, CDMA phones and cell phone accessories or utilize the classified section in newspapers and magazine.

There are also a number of ways online to start a mobile phone business, including opening your own online cell phone shop, marketing cellular phones through online classified sites like or through online auction sites like eBay and Amazon.

How do I know which cell phones I should sell?

Selecting the unlocked cell phone to stock on your online store when you start a mobile phone business is a difficult job as there is such a wide range of unlocked mobiles available these days.

While I will talk about the different shapes and types of unlocked phone, their various benefits and problems and the types of people who buys each type of mobile in another article it very much depend on the types of people who use your service.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose to stock a bar phone, flip phone, clamshell phone, ladies phone, slide cellular phone, flip cell phone or PDA. And you will succeed just as well if you get a movie phone, a music phone or one that lets you watch videos on phone. There are two things to make sure of… that you get phones that will work in the markets that you are selling them to and you buy unlocked cell phones.

All cellular networks around the world work within the frequencies 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz with some networks operating on two or more frequencies. As a result most phones available wholesale operate on two, three or four bands.

Matching the ideal phone band to the market is essential for people who want to start a mobile phone business as it will be the difference between a phone that works and a phone that doesn’t. If you have people buying unlocked phones from all over the world you are better selling quad band cell phones as these international phones will give you the coverage you need.

What is the difference between a locked and unlocked phone and why should I buy unlocked cell phones?

A locked cell phone is one that is sold by a particular carrier and cannot be changed to another server unless the carrier themselves do it. For example, if you have an iPhone or a Blackberry, you are an AT&T customer and you want to use Verizon’s service then you have to call up AT&T and ask them to switch you to Verizon. Most locked cell phones are CDMA phones.

Unlocked cellphones don’t come attached to a carrier so you can select which carrier you use. These are almost always GSM phones as the GSM SIM can be removed from unlocked GSM phones allowing another to be put in.

So why choose to sell unlocked cell phones over locked cell phones? The simple answer is when you start a mobile phone business then you’re not going to have much money and you won’t want to pay the licensing fee necessary to buy network-approved phones. And with unlocked phones you’re able to buy phones wholesale which give you more profit and more freedom to run the business the way you want.

Where can I find cell phones to sell?

Sourcing products is one of the biggest headaches of anybody involved in e-commerce and buying unlocked cell phones is no different.

If you want to find unlocked cell phones you can look in several areas, from a local wholesale company, from a wholesale importer in bulk lots on sites like eBay and overstock or through wholesale dropship companies that stock China cellphones wholesale. As cellphones and most electronics come from China these days this would probably be a logical step. Thankfully many of these wholesale dropship firms are online these days.

It doesn’t matter if you want a bluetooth phone, music phone, WAP phone or a flip cell phone you will probably have to look through the same types of sources.

How can I get phones from my supplier to my customer?

When you want to start a mobile phone business online then you need to ask yourself one question which supply chain management method will I use, traditional bulk purchasing or dropshipping?

Both methods have their pluses and minuses but as you are unlikely to have little in working capital one good option might be to choose the dropshipping means of fulfillment.

Dropshipping is where you transfer the customer’s order directly to your supplier and they fill the order and you use their payment to pay for the phone after first taking off your profit.

While this may seem like an e-commerce retailer’s dream come true there are still some problems with this and you will need to source new phones carefully, make sure you have sturdy and active communications lines with your wholesale dropship supplier of China cellphones wholesale phones and have an excellent customer services system set up to make sure you don’t get left with unhappy customers.

What should I watch out for when I buy cell phones wholesale and then sell them?

One of the most important things to be sure of when you start a mobile phone business is that you have a reliable wholesale cellphone supplier that will fill orders on time with the phones you ordered. It often takes some time to find the right China cellphones wholesale supplier so it might pay to shop around and get several samples before you decide who to give your business to.

It is especially important to get a sample of the phones and test them for yourself for this very reason.

It is also important to make sure that you get the phones with the right frequencies to the right markets.

It doesn’t matter if you think you have found the coolest movie phone on the market with the best cell phone camera you have seen and incredible multimedia message functions.

If it is a dual band phone using the frequencies 900MHz and 1800MHz and you are trying to sell it in the US then you are just going to have a whole lot of unhappy customers.

This will end up with you getting many returns and a large number of multimedia phone paperweights on your hands.

This is why tri band phones and quad band phones work best for people who start a mobile phone business online as they are true international phones and will work anywhere.

Ready to start a mobile phone business and break away from the rat race? This is just the start of your journey which may very well lead you to China cellphone wholesale suppliers and dropship wholesale companies. Just be sure to do your home work for as Chinese General once said “the enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.”

The Cell Phone Mysteries – What Are Dual, Tri and Quad Band Cell Phones and Where Will They Work?

The world of the mobile phone is a confusing one these days, particularly for those wondering how to start a cell phone business. Few things are perhaps as confusing as GSM frequencies and GSM phones that seem to work in some parts of the world but not in others.

Multiple band cell phones and GSM frequencies can be especially confusing for anyone wondering how to start a cell phone business.

So what is the background behind the GSM network?

The GSM network was first suggested by a group of European technicians and policy makers in 1982 and it didn’t take long for consumers and phone makers to adopt the new network after it first emerged in 1991. It wasn’t long before there was growing GSM coverage in an increasing number of countries.

The GSM world grew quickly. There were more than one million subscribers spread over 70 carriers in 30 countries by the end of 1993.

Not only did the new GSM mobile network send and receive all of its information digitally, making it the first 2G mobile phone to be developed it also gave users a great deal of freedom on what they did with it. For the first time they were able to send short written messages to each other for a fraction of the price of a phone call, they could change their carrier and/or go to a different country without getting a new phone.

All they needed to do was to take one GSM SIM card out and replace it with another GSM card and they were in business.

But, as the unknown powers of the world decree, things shouldn’t be that easy and the GSM frequencies set by most of the GSM networks had already been assigned to other purposes by the powers that be.

So, in a situation very similar to TV watchers and people with surveillance systems, a phone that worked in Sussex England wouldn’t pick up anything in San Antonio in the US. Basically it wasn’t a case of one GSM frequency fits all.

As a result, many cell phone makers create cell phones that can work with more than one band with some working with as many as 4 bands.

Still this doesn’t mean there aren’t questions and people are often left asking:

  • What is GSM?
  • What are the GSM frequencies?
  • Why do GSM phones have more than one band?
  • Will different frequencies work in different areas?
  • How can I check if a phone will work in a particular area?
  • How are multiple band phones defined and where will they work?

We’re going to attempt to look at those questions in this article.

What is GSM? GSM, Global System for Mobile communications (or the Acronym formally known as Groupe Sp├ęcial Mobile) is a wireless transmission standard used for mobile phones and, recently wireless modems. GSM and CDMA differ because GSM networks use a SIM card to store all the necessary information to send and receive calls where with CDMA phones everything is kept on the phones.

If you are looking at how to start a cell phone business and you don’t have thousands in working capital GSM mobile phones will probably be a better option than CDMA as they won’t be attached to a particular carrier and don’t require you to be licensed to a particular provider to sell unlocked cell phones.

Another reason to select GSM over CDMA is that it will open up the potential customer base for each phone. As unlocked gsm phones can be used with any GSM networks. To date there is no such thing as an unlocked CDMA phone. When it comes to cell phone plans most providers (especially those in the states) love CDMA phones because it locks their consumers to them.

Why do GSM phones have more than one band? GSM Phones come with more than one band so that they will work in more than one country as there is more than one GSM frequency and they are not universally transmitted.

As a result, wholesale cellphone manufacturers make GSM and GPRS phones with multiple cell phone bands so that they can work in multiple countries. Most cell phones work on two, three or even four bands. Quad band phones are the most flexible as they can be used all over the world and are often called international phones as a result.

How are multiple band phones defined and where will they work? Multiple band phones are usually defined by how many GSM frequencies they can operate on and usually come in four different categories, dual band, tri band and quad band. If thinking about how to start a cell phone business it is important to remember the different type of bands as it could mean the difference between your customer getting a high performance phone that they’re happy with and can and them getting a shiny and costly paperweight.

Dual band phone works with two GSM frequencies and, depending on where the phone is made will probably work for the frequencies 900MHz and 1800MHz. These phones are usually less expensive than other types of cell phone and it can be a good way to get a cheap cell phone that will still send SMS MMS and act as a WAP cell phone.

The tri band phone runs on three frequencies and can be used in most countries. This unlocked GSM cell phone is a cheaper option than the quad band phone but safer than a dual band phone.

Quad band phones, or international phones as they are sometimes called, use four bands and can be used anywhere in the world. If you are looking to start a mobile phone business and you wonder what is an unlocked phone guaranteed to sell well and give you the least trouble with customers it will probably be this type of cellphone.

What Are The GSM Frequencies? Almost all of the world works on the frequencies 850Mhz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900Mhz and in some rare circumstances 400MHz although there are some other frequencies in other locations.

Thankfully too areas where each frequencies work is fairly easy to define in the very general sense (although it always pays to check). So when you’re looking for what areas a cellular phone will work in you should be able to follow a rough guide.

So which areas use GSM 900 and 1800 MHZ signals and which areas use the GSM 850Mhz and 1900MHz frequencies can usually be broken into two groups.

If you are traveling in with your cell phone in Oceania, Africa, Europe, Asia (except for Japan and Korea), the Middle East, Brazil and the Baltic region and looking for roaming networks then mobile network coverage will be either 900MHz, 1800MHz or 900MHz and 1800MHz.

If you are looking for a GSM world phone that will work in the US or South America then you’re better sticking with a wireless cell phone that’ll work on the 850Mhz and 1900MHz bands.

Will different frequencies work in different areas? With the majority of the GSM world being broken into two main groups (those that take Most of the GSM world is roughly broken up into four main frequencies 900MHz and/or 1800MHz and 850Mhz and/or 1900MHz most unlocked GSM phones will work on one, two or three of the GSM frequencies around the world giving you some level of international roaming on an unlocked phone.

However, you possibly won’t get any joy if for example you take a dual band phone designed for Europe and Asia and then try to use that bluetooth phone in the US.

How can I check if a phone will work in a particular area? There are two ways to check if a phone will work in a particular area; the first is to get the phone band, which can usually be found on the product description.

If you’re working through how to start a cell phone business and considering phones to stock, it doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about a multimedia mobile, WAP phone or GSM watch phone, the process should be the same. If you are sourcing cell phones from a wholesale supplier or wholesale dropship vendor put the ball into their court. They should have that information on their website or product advertising material for the unlocked cell phone.

Once you’ve got the GSM frequency the GSM phone worked on you can make sure it will work in your area.

If you are looking for a cellphone for yourself this could be as easy as calling your local service provider, or looking it up on sites like GSMworld dot com or worldtimezones dot com.

If you are wondering how to start a cell phone business then your best course of action is to list the frequencies on the description for the GSM cell phone, along with the phone’s other features (like if it is a music phone or it has a good cell phone camera) and tell the person who wants to buy unlocked cell phones from you which parts of the world it will probably work in.

So it looks like cell phone bands and GSM frequencies aren’t that scary after. It’s just a case of knowing where to look and ensuring you’ve got the right phone for the right location.