A Guide on Choosing a Data Plan
How does someone choose a data plan for their brand new phone?
It really depends on whether you are already with a cell carrier or not. If you have been a customer of one of the above providers, changing phones shouldn't disrupt your plan and you should be able to keep your deal even if you switch plans (always check first). However, depending on the phone, you might pay an additional fee for using one of the 3G or 4G networks -- for instance, at the beginning of 2011, Sprint began charging customers a $10 fee for phones that would be using one or both of those networks.
As a new user, however, choosing a data plan and a carrier is all dependant on how much data you think you will use. On average, for both users of AT&T and Verizon, they only use 2 GB or less of data per month. This is usually just watching videos through YouTube or maybe checking their route by using GPS and Google maps.
If you plan on using lots of data, such as checking email, watching movies through Hulu or Netflix, or even tethering, you're going to probably be a heavy user. In those cases, Sprint, for the moment, will be a better choice, however, if you're like the above users who only use data in certain situations, then one of the other companies should suffice.
These of course aren't the only plans that you can choose from; many pre-paid options allow for unlimited data plans, however, these may also have restrictions. The best way is to do the research for all the companies and choose the one that fits you and your lifestyle. Just bear in mind that even a plan that is described as unlimited often has limits.