We’ve been researching iPhone carriers and pricing plans as we plan on putting together a nice, hopefully easier way for readers to see carrier costs. We’re hoping to make it as useful as possible, and perhaps some readers can let us know what some of the key pieces of information they find most important.
However, there is a bit more to it. As we worked researching for the past few hours, we noticed a few interesting things about how the carriers layout their plans.
Hit the jump to see what we mean. (Note, we looked at Individual plans for these)
As far as we know, the iSmashPhone staffers are (for the most part at least) on AT&T. In our opinion, though, they offer the worst means of selecting a plan. Users have to choose between different plans through on particular page, as shown below:
Sorry for the rather small image size, but if you click on it, you can see it in full. There are various plans shown, and you must “Add to Cart” before continuing.
After that, you must hit “Add Services” just to continue on and see data rates and more. While it’s not horribly laid out, its still a bit of a pain to go through for someone just looking for estimates:
Again, the text is small, but clicking will allow you to view full-sized images. This screen allows users to select their data plan. It’s easy enough for those who know what they want, but look at how many options there are just for a 200mb plan alone. Yet they are all $15.
Sprint has a slightly nicer layout. It sorts things into columns and asks the user what they want. It’s not the cleanest, but we like that they offer the “Simply Everything” plan which is a, pardon our term, no-BS way to say it. There is no having to choose how many minutes you want or how much data you want, what times you can use the phone, etc. It’s just a simple, $100 plan that gives most smartphone users what they are looking for.
The other plans are fairly straightforward as well, and while we are sure there is fine print, it’s nice to see that the selection process is rather easy, even for those who don’t fully understand what all that junk means.
Verizon has what we think is the nicest way to select a plan. Everything is listed on a single page and laid out in a way that makes it very easy to estimate a monthly cost for cellular service. There are no cute names. You just look at how many minutes you want, how many messages more or less you want to send monthly and how much data you want. It’s a nice way for shoppers to figure out what they want to get without having to flip through pages or click through links.
The Right Way?
Maybe we shouldn’t say one does it right or wrong. Each has a method. However, we do think that Verizon makes it easy to see more or less what we are looking at when estimating our monthly fees for new cellular service. It’s nice to have everything charted out in a simple column.