Very few Americans install landline phones these days, so we'll focus on "cellphones", which is what mobile phones are called here. There are two main ways of getting a cellphone and cellphone service in the United States:
- Bundled plan: This option bundles everything you need into a monthly fee – you'll get a new model device, a data plan, texting, and voice. The advantage of bundling is that a device is included; phones can be very expensive if you purchase it yourself. The disadvantage is that they lock you into a contract period of 2 years and apply penalties if you break that contract early.
- Prepaid plan: Also known as pay-as-you-go plans, a prepaid plan lets you cancel your service anytime with no penalties. These plans are not really cheaper than a bundled plan, just more flexible. The downside is that you'll pay full retail price for a phone (unless you brought your own, of course).
CELLPHONE SERVICE PROVIDERS IN NYC
Cellphone coverage is ubiquitous across this country's major metro regions but not all service providers are created equal. There are four main businesses in the United States and they each offer trade-offs between the quality of their coverage and their price.
- Verizon is generally regarded as having the best cellphone coverage in New York. This means you won't have to hang outside your windor or go to the roof your building to make a call. They're also more expensive: a 2-year bundled plan with an iPhone 6s and 3 GB of data each month will cost you USD $1,105 per year. For a family of four this package would be $2,807. Additionally, the type of network Verizon uses (CDMA instead of GSM) means most of their devices won't work in other countries, so take that into consideration if you plan on traveling home and would like to use your phone there.
- AT&T is the main competitor to Verizon in the United States and is as good or better than Verizon in some parts of the country. But in New York they're known for having somewhat spottier coverage. Comparing apples to apples with Verizon as much as possible, a 2.5-year bundled plan with an iPhone 6s and 2 GB of data each month will cost you USD $920 per year. (If Verizon did have a 2 GB option it would only be a few dollars more expensive than AT&T). For a family of four, all with the same plan and device, the annual cost would be $2,600.
- T-Mobile is a distant third in the cellphone race, with 65 million subscribers to Verizon's 141 million and AT&T's 130 million. An iPhone 6s, 2 GB of data will run $925 per year. The main benefits compared to the other providers start when you add other family members to your plan; you also won't be nailed with extra charges if anyone on the plan goes over his or her data limit. Instead, T-Mobile just throttles the speed. For a family of four this package would cost $2,580.
- Sprint is the fourth major provider in the U.S. and is a bit more affordable. With Sprint an iPhone 6s, 3 GB data plan, and 24 month contract will cost $925. It'll cost $2,620 for a family of four.
INTERNET IN NYC
Choosing an internet provider in New York is simple since you only have few choices. And depending on the building you live in you may not have any choice: some buildings are only set up for one service provider so you can either take it or leave it.
Time Warner Cable (TWC) is ubiquitous but much hated for their terrible customer service. They've been working to improve the experience recently, however. They offer speeds of up to 300 megabytes per second (Mbps) download and upload on its cable network. Speeds of 100 Mbps are sufficient for most people and cost USD $50 per month when you sign a 1-year contract. TWC has unlimited data usage.
Verizon Fios is very popular for being super fast and for their customer service, but it's not available in every building. Fios has speeds of up to 500 Mbps on its fiber optic network and costs $60 per month when you sign a 2-year contract; it also has no usage caps.
Xfinity by Comcast, like Fios, is not available everywhere in the city. It offers speeds of up to 150 Mbps. While they don't offer a 100 Mbps plan for comparison to the other providers, their closest plan is 75 Mbps and costs $80 per month.
RCN has speeds up to 330 Mbps. Like Xfinity, they also don't offer a 100 Mbps plan for comparison but their 155 Mbps plan is $45 per month and doesn't require a contract.