Every day we are surrounded by technology at every turn. We have devices for everything we need from preparing foods to shopping, and keeping our days organized. In the past, we usually carried around a bag full of paraphernalia that we used to keep our lives in order, such as a date book, a checkbook, and a little cell phone.

Of course, that was all before we all learned about the awesome capabilities of a smart phone. Now, it is almost impossible to get by without one. How many of us can actually go for a full day without checking our email? What about those who are dedicated to their social media pages or those who are constantly in text mode. Those functions and lots more are representative of the way we live our lives in a modern world. Yet, no matter how good your smart phone may be, regardless of how many little features your devices have, none of it can be done without reliable mobile service providers to keep you connected.

Choosing the right provider is not a decision to be made lightly. Unlike paying a small monthly fee to keep your home phone on, the cost of keeping your smart phone live and connected could easily add up to a lot of money. And nothing could be worse than choosing a provider, locking yourself into a year or two plan only to find out that the coverage it offers is subpar.

So, if you’re seriously shopping around for a new service there are a few things you need to consider before you make a decision you might end up regretting.

Check Coverage Area:

Automatically, people look at the price first when considering a new cell phone plan. They are drawn in by the low cost deals and the catchy advertisements of mobile service providers that promise to deliver quality service at a low price. However, no matter how many additions and promises made when you find yourself in an area where coverage is spotty none of those promises will mean anything. Nothing is more frustrating than when you’re trying to make a call but you can’t get enough bars or a strong enough signal to keep the call from dropping.

That is why mobile service providers usually include a coverage map so their customers know where they are more likely to make and receive calls without a problem. But even with this map, there may be certain areas that provide only spotty service. Many people do not realize that service may be different based on the kind of plan that they choose. Data service coverage can differ greatly from voice coverage areas. When talking to mobile service providers make sure that you understand the differences and what you can reasonably expect from the areas you plan to frequent. Once you’re sure you’re going to have a reliable connection then it is safe to take the time to check out those cool deals and offers you’ve been seeing.

Check Out the Offers:

It is easy to get excited about great deals you see advertised by local mobile service providers but it is worth it to take the time to look at the fine print on these offers. Mobile service providers know how to get your attention. They may offer you things like unlimited minutes, free data, or a host of bonuses to reel you in but those are not the things that make a new contract worthwhile. The value is in the details. For example, some providers offer you unlimited data service to attract you but they are not always forthcoming in letting you know that the unlimited data will be provided at a slower speed than you might expect.

You also need to check for what the base price covers. Sometimes they pull you in with a very low price but fail to tell you if it covers everything. Additional services you might get automatically with one service provider may come as an added feature with another.

These additional features should be very important if you plan on doing a lot of streaming or you expect you’ll be moving around a lot.

Get an Escape Clause:

Many carriers want to lock you in for one or two years or more. This could turn out to be a good deal if you are happy with your service but it’s also important to have an escape clause built into your contract so that you can get out if it is not all you expected it to be.

Having the option after a month or two of using the service can make a huge difference in how happy you’ll be. It should be enough time for you to gauge how well they can service your needs. Most carriers will make this possible for you regardless of the length of your contract but it is up to you to make sure it’s included in your new agreement.

While there are many different mobile service providers to choose from it is not always easy to tell which one offers the best deal. A provider that works well for one customer may not be the best for another. It is very important that you carefully analyze any plans that appear to be a good deal. Ideally, it would be a good idea to get a recommendation from a good friend or family member and hear the pros and cons of their providers from them.

Because mobile service providers are so important in our modern world it is important to use extra care when making your choice. With so many exceptions to contracts, caveats, and hidden clauses there may be times when the hassles involved in switching may be more trouble than they are worth. So, when you see those great advertisements for a special deal that sounds too good to be true it just might be. Try to avoid jumping into a new agreement until you’ve had a chance to look beneath all the hype to see what you’re really paying for. There is a lot to be learned about mobile carriers and the most progressive and smartest mindset is the one that takes the time to look before they leap.