As a first time buyer, you have the choice of getting a “Pay-as-you-go” plan, where you buy a phone and a “bucket” of minutes. Let’s jus say that you basically pay for just the minutes you use and nothing else.
Minutes are typically $0.10 and with Cingular, there are basically two different Pay-as-you-Go plans – one where you get free mobile-to-mobile calls and rollover for $29.99 for 200 minutes (lowest plan) with no commitment (up to $69.99 for 600 minutes with unlimited nights and weekends and mobile-to-mobile. All of these plans have rollover minutes.
There is also another one where you just pay $1.00 a day for any day you use the phone and then $0.10 a minute for every minute you use. These are good types of plans for people who only need their phone for emergencies or the occasional call.
Verizon has EasyPay which is $50.00 a month for 300 minutes (lowest plan), and also does not have a commitment and does have unlimited nights and weekends. The EasyPay minutes can only be used in the EasyPay area and you pay roaming charges for any areas that are not part of the EasyPay territory. InPulse is the pay-as-you-go plan from Verizon and is $0.10 a minute, $0.99 a day for any day you
use the phone.
Basically, both carriers have a similar plan and both have a special plan for pay-as-you-go. Phones for Verizon for these plans range from $69.99 to $119.99 and there are three available. Cingular has several models to choose from ranging from $29.99. All of the models of phones from both carriers will be easy to use and there are “non-fancy” models available that should be very good for a brand new user.
The other type of service is the monthly type, where you buy or get a phone for no charge with a two-year commitment. The lowest Cingular and Verizon plan is $39.99 for 450 minutes, 5,000 minutes for nights and weekends and free mobile-to-mobile calls. Nights with Verizon start at 9:01pm and go to 5:59am the next time.
Cingular’s nights are 9:00pm to 7:00am the next day. Weekends with Verizon are 12:00am Saturday to 11:59pm Sunday. Cingular’s are Friday at 9:00pm to Monday at 7:00am. Cingular has rollover minutes (if you don’t use your minutes, they roll over to the next month and add to your minute bucket), Verizon does not have a rollover plan.
If most of your family and friends have Verizon, you probably won’t benefit from the free mobile-to-mobile with them if you choose Cingular, but you would with your work peers if they take advantage of the Cingular discount and have Cingular service. The employee discount is only available on the monthly plans and is not available for the pay-as-you-go plans.
If you decide on Cingular, you can contact Cingular directly; they can give you the name of the person responsible for your company’s account, who can help you with the Premier web site. You will get special on-line discounts with both companies, if you decide to purchase on-line.
As far as coverage goes, both Verizon and Cingular have coverage, but it appears that the Cingular coverage is better (this is not an original Verizon territory, so they may not have built up the area as well as Cingular, perhaps). Verizon definitely has decent coverage (as I’m sure your friends will attest to, so don’t rule out Verizon based on coverage).