What's Your Usage?
Before you sign up for a cell phone, think about how you plan to use it so you can work out the best deal for you:
- How many calls will you make per month?
- How many text messages will you send?
- Will you use the phone for the internet? If so, how much time will you spend on surfing the net per month?
- Will you be calling locally only?
- Will you be calling other Caribbean countries?
- Will you be calling the United States or the United Kingdom?
- Will you be traveling a lot?
Look at your usual landline or cell phone usage and add up the call costs to see how much a typical bill will be each month. Compare this to other phone deals and call charges offered by other companies.
Are you a long-meter who stays on the phone and talks for hours? Perhaps you need an unlimited calling plan. Do you use your phone just for texting and checking information on the internet? Perhaps you need an unlimited data plan. If you will be calling frequently to another Caribbean country, the United States or the United Kingdom, determine which phone company has the best plan for your calling needs. If you are a regular traveler to certain destinations, see which company offers the best roaming plan to where you’re going.
When you look at your phone usage and needs, you might prefer to pay for your phone and your phone calls up front. This is a pre-paid plan.
If you buy the phone handset and you own it, you can just pay for $20 or $50 of recharge or top-up calls. Once you have used up your credit, you can't make any more calls until you get another top-up. This is a good way to stay out of phone debt.
Look out for specials, such as “double top up” days when you can buy extra phone time for the same money.
Read the contract for yourself - don’t just rely on the salesperson to tell you what is in the contract.
If you are signing a contract, read it before you sign it. Your signature on the contract means you are agreeing to everything that is written in it.
Look out for these things in the contract:
- Monthly fees.
- Call and text charges.
- Charges if you go over your monthly minutes.
- Contract length and costs of ending the contract early.
- Warranty (if a handset is included).
- Costs if you pay bills late.
You should take a copy of the contract home to read.
Paying your bills
Check your bills when you get them to make sure they are correct.
Call your cell phone provider if you:
- Get a big bill and don't know why.
- Think there are calls on the bill you didn't make.
- Don't receive a bill.
- Have trouble paying your bills.
If you are having problems paying your bills, call your phone company as soon as possible. Talk to them about working out a new payment plan that you can manage.
If you need help settling disputes with your cell phone provider and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with your queries, you can contact the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.
Keeping track of your bills
A good way to keep track of your bills is to call your phone company to check on your bill before it comes in the mail, text or dial a certain number to get account information, or check it on your online account.
If your phone is lost or stolen, you should contact the phone company immediately to stop the phone service so no one else can use it. If you are on a cell phone plan, you will still need to pay the monthly fee.