ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — If a wireless phone is on your holiday shopping list this year -- whether it's for someone you love or a gift to yourself -- knowing what to look for can make your shopping experience easier and help you make the right selection.
With dozens of choices available in phones, features and pricing, Bell Atlantic Mobile offers five simple tips to help consumers understand what's most important when buying a wireless phone. Before heading out to the nearest mall, read the tips below and you'll be a savvy shopper armed with all the information you need to make the wireless purchase that's right for you this holiday season.
Know How The Phone Will Be Used
How you'll use the phone is important because it will determine all the other decisions you'll need to make about pricing plans, equipment and special features. Will you rely on the phone to keep in touch with the kids while you're at work? Will the phone be used mostly for emergencies?
Will it be the backbone of a mobile office that you use with a laptop computer or mobile fax machine?
Whatever your wireless communications needs may be, it's important to think about the phone's purpose right from the start.
Ask About Coverage
Coverage is the geographic area where a wireless carrier provides service. Look for a provider with the most expansive coverage over a high quality network to be sure the phone will work wherever you need it. Bottom line: Make sure the carrier you choose provides reliable service in all the areas where you will make and receive calls.
Choose A Price Plan Based On Your Usage
Shoppers should discuss how and where the phone will be used with a sales representative to select a price plan that matches their needs. Also, be sure to ask about additional charges. Does the plan include a detailed bill? How much does it cost to use the phone when roaming outside the home area? Do charges vary based on whether calls are made during peak and off-peak hours?
Bell Atlantic Mobile uses a simple chart to help customers choose a price plan that will best fit their needs. And, if their usage differs from what they initially expected, the company's 'round the clock Customer Service Department can help them change to a plan that is better suited for their usage.
At the top of many gift lists this year will be the company's newest product, MobileMinutesSM, a phone and wireless calling card that lets you pay for wireless calls in advance. The wireless phone and service can be purchased all-in-one and are ready to use instantly.
Many shoppers this season will find Bell Atlantic Mobile's EZ MAXSM service a perfect gift . Price plans begin at just $18.99 per month and include free caller ID, free voice-activated dialing and the first minute free for all incoming calls in New York and New Jersey.
DigitalChoiceSM is another popular service for those who want superior call quality, dramatically increased battery life and lots of high-tech features. DigitalChoice plans start at $24.99 per month. What's more, if you sign up for DigitalChoice or other select price plans through December 31, 1997, you'll receive 100 anytime home bonus minutes a month for one year.
Select A Phone That Fits Your Needs
You'll have a huge selection of wireless phone models to choose from in a wide variety of price ranges, and features will vary depending on the model you select. Again, when choosing a phone, keep in mind how you'll use it. How much talk time will you need?
Will you rely on voice mail to prevent missed calls? Is Caller ID important to you? How many phone numbers will you store in memory? Do you want a phone that offers short messaging, like a pager? The answers can help individuals and businesses decide between a digital or analog phone, and then determine which model is right for their use.
Most people opt for the small, lightweight, portable phones that fit easily in a purse or pocket. This season's newest models include sleek, high-fashion wireless phones that come in five colors: red, blue, hunter green, bright yellow and black. Priced at $19.99 and $49.99 when you sign an annual agreement, they're available exclusively through Bell Atlantic Mobile EZ MAX service.
Know Where To Shop
Look for retailers with the most knowledgeable staffs and the greatest selection of equipment and pricing plans for the best wireless buy. Carriers like Bell Atlantic Mobile own and operate their own wireless retail centers. Bell Atlantic Mobile has more than 40 retail locations throughout the New York/New Jersey metro area where shoppers can "try on" the latest wireless equipment and services. Each store is staffed by experienced wireless consultants who can help you select the phones and price plans that fit your needs.
For more information or to shop by phone call 1-800-255-BELL.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the United States. The company owns and operates the most extensive network in the East, covering 111,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets offering a full range of wireless personal communications services, including voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, N.J., Bell Atlantic Mobile has more than 5 million customers and 7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company is the chief wireless subsidiary of the new Bell Atlantic, formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX corporations.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Product photographs available upon request.
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