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Finding Phone, TV, and Internet Service

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There are countless companies that provide numerous options for your telecommunication needs. Whether you need a simple phone line to call family and friends, a high-speed hub for coordinating your business, or anything in between or beyond, you can find the right combination of services for you and your budget.

Home phone service

Home telephone service is the most basic form of telecommunication, and, with the many calling-plan options that are available, you can tailor your home phone service to your needs.

There are many different calling plans for you to choose from, each of which are specifically tailored to how often you and your family use the phone and depending on what kinds of calls you typically make. These plans are:
  • Local calling
  • Regional calling
  • Long-distance calling
  • International calling
Call your local telephone company to find out more about what each of these plans includes and make a decision on which one would best suit your needs.

Most phone companies will offer one flat-rate plan that gives you unlimited calling for local, regional, long-distance, and even international calls. This is the simplest type of plan to deal with, but, if you're sure you're not going to be making either long-distance or international calls, you may be able to save money by foregoing a long-distance or international calling plan. Regional and local calling are usually grouped together, so you won't be able to forego having a regional calling plan.

Internet phone

In addition to traditional telephone providers, there are many companies that provide phone service through the Internet. In many cases these companies provide unlimited local, regional, long-distance, and international service for one flat rate. Internet phone service can be a cheap option, but remember that because your phone service is tied to your Internet, if, for some reason, you lose Internet service, you'll lose your phone service as well.

Internet service

Internet service is provided by different companies in various ways. Some use satellite, while others use cable or phone lines. Of course, every company claims that their way is the fastest and cheapest, so finding the best option for you can be tough. You should check out companies' track records before choosing one. If you have a friend or family member that has used a particular Internet provider you should ask them about their experience. You can also look at online reviews to see actual customer feedback.

Most Internet service providers charge you a monthly fee for service in addition to any installation fees. The prices of different services vary depending on the speed and equipment necessary for a particular service. For example, your total cost may be higher if you have to purchase a satellite dish or other equipment (though these often come free with your service). Make sure you ask your potential Internet service providers about all applicable fees before you sign a contract.

TIP: You may be able to cut costs by making sure you're not paying for more speed than you need. T1 lines and the like will offer very high speed, but at higher costs. If you don't need that kind of speed, you may want to stay away from that type of service.

Some companies offer mobile Internet as an add-on to your service. Mobile Internet service gives you an Internet connection almost anywhere in the world via satellite uplink. This service can be handy if you do a lot of online work on the go, but if you don't, it may not be cost effective in the long run.

Be sure to read all of the fine print for every service option you consider. Your monthly charges often will increase after you've had the service for a year. These offers can still be the best choice for you, but you wouldn't want to be surprised when you're monthly bill suddenly becomes more expensive.

Wireless phone service

Wireless (cell) phones allow you to make calls from almost anywhere, giving you the ability to remain connected to others while in transit. Wireless phone service companies offer a variety of plans and packages.

First, you should decide whether you want an individual or family plan. Individual plans will have one phone per plan and all options (minutes, data plans, etc.) will apply only to that phone.

Family plans allow you to bundle multiple phones together. In this case, you can either choose an unlimited calling plan for a flat rate, or you can have a pool of minutes per-month that all phones on the plan use.

You may also wish to purchase a data plan for your cell phone. A data plan allows you to access the Internet and download content with your cell phone. There are different data plans whose rates are based on the total size of all the content you download and view with your phone. In other words, you will be charged per megabyte used.

As with calling plans, you may be able to choose to pay a flat rate for unlimited data usage. You can include data as part of your family plan as well. Again, this will allow you to have unlimited data usage for all your phones or to have a monthly megabyte allowance from which to draw.

Service bundles

Bundling your services together can be another way to save money. Many telecommunication providers offer flat rates and discounted services if you bundle two or more services together. In many cases, you can actually have your TV, Internet, home phone, and wireless services all on one bill. Simplifying your bill in this way will most likely save you some frustration, not to mention paper. Remember, service fees and costs add up quickly, but you can cut them down by eliminating services you don't need.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on August 27, 2009

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