Tech Talk: Understanding Cell Plans


By Andrew Constantine

18iy1s5y8eff7jpgIt’s important when making a purchase in the technology sector — whether that be a phone, tablet, laptop or anything else with a chip in it, even service plans and packages for these devices (think cell plan) — to realize there is more to the item then just the price alone. This is what can be referred to as the overall value of the item. Overall value means that the amount of money and time you’ve put into making the device work the way you intend it to, in the end, is worth it.

This leads us to the most important aspect of any tech purchase: Who am I and what am I doing? What are your expectations for service and support of the product or service you are paying for?

Probably the most prominent example of this is cell phone service. I have used every national and regional carrier since I’ve had a phone: AT&T, US Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, which I currently use. This was where I got my first real lesson in overall value. The smaller carriers offer a lower price and more heavy-hitting promotional offers; however, what I was expecting was strong service in most of the state. I found that the discount carriers lacked this: while the price was lower, I failed to get the value I was expecting out of the service. After a switch to a different carrier and more per month, I am finally getting what I need for phone service.

The same thought process can be applied to probably the first thing that a new college student thinks of: the laptop. As laptops range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, the choice is not an easy one. It’s important here as well to determine what you will be using the device for and what you need to get out of it. For some programs a laptop may not be the best choice. For example, a drafting program most certainly would run better on a desktop with enhanced graphics capability. Whereas if the program you are working in has an abundance of writing assignments, an inexpensive Chromebook will most certainly fit the bill.

These are only a couple of examples, but the overarching point is simple: Resist the urge to impulse buy, buy what your friends have, buy what some article online says you need. Take a step back and evaluate what it is you’re trying to accomplish with whatever it is you’re purchasing. Appreciate the overall value of something that may be priced a bit higher but gets you so much more out of it. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Andrew Constantine is a member of the Information Technology senior seminar course and is planning on a career in intelligent traffic systems. You can view this article online at


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