Thursday, November 20, 2008

Research Your Cell Phone Online

Every couple of years it's cell phone renewal time. Your wireless contract runs out and you have the opportunity to make a change. You can elect to go with a new provider and get a new phone or stick with what you have. So what to do? How about go shopping?

Owl Cell Phone Cellular Phone Finder ScreenshotNow you might limit your cell phone shopping experience to browsing the collection shown at a big box electronics retailer. Or you can cruise the carrier stores, seeing what each has to offer and fending off hungry sales agents. But there's a better way. Research your cell phone choices online.

Why online? First of all, it's convenient. No hustling through stores between errands. No burning gas driving around town from location to location. Anytime things are quiet and you're online, you could spend a few minutes scouting the mobile device offerings.

There's also no pressure. You know how it is in retail stores these days. The sharks are hungry and you smell like food. It's hard to scan the merchandise or play around with a demo unit when somebody is breathing down your neck every few minutes prodding "can I help you?" What they really mean is "Oh, please buy something - anything - just hurry up and whip out that credit card - please, please, please."

The most important reason to comparison shop online is enormous price savings. That's right. The big phone savings are online, not in the stores. The reason is simple. Online resources stay open 24 hours a day, there's no floor staff lurking, and there are huge efficiency gains in having a single central warehouse to fulfill orders versus hundreds or thousands of retail properties.

But if you buy a phone online, how do you get wireless service? Easy. The same service plans you get from a store are also available online and at the same prices. You select and order your plan at the same time you order your phone.

Now, let's take a look at some current online deals on cell phones. We'll use the Cellular Phone Finder available at Owl Cell Phone. The default presentation is a collection of the most popular cellular phones. There are 5 models shown and most are free or free after rebate. No, wait. Some of them let you make money after rebate. Yes, you can get a phone free and then get cash back. Ever hear of that in a cell phone store?

These specials are going to change often, but here's what's shown as of this writing. The Samsung BlackJack II i617 Sky Blue is available for a list price of 1 cent. With a $50 rebate, you make $49.99. The Samsung Cobra M320 Burgundy Red is priced at $0 with a $50 rebate. You make $50. The RIM BlackBerry 8700g doesn't have a rebate. It's just free. So is the LG enV2 VX9100 Black "envy phone." You'll have to pay $79 for the popular Samsung Katalyst T739 w/ myFaves. But after the $50 rebate your cost is only $29.99. Mind you, this phone has a value of approximately $245. You can probably get it at a discount locally, but I'll bet you'll pay more than $29.99.

The Cellular Phone Finder is interactive. You can have it present phones available by a particular carrier, such as AT&T, Verizon, Alltel, T-Mobile, Sprint or Nextel. Or select all phones by a particular manufacturer. There are 28 models for BlackBerry alone. Ask the finder to show you phones in a certain price range, only those that are free after rebate, or only those where you can make money after rebate. I just checked on that. There are 64 results on 5 pages that are phones where you can make up to $100 after rebate.

Perhaps you are happy with your cell phone but want an Air Card for your laptop computer so you can get cellular broadband. You're in luck. There are 21 different Air Cards available, some with cash back rebates. Just select "Air Card" on the "Phone Types" search.

Has all this piqued your interest? If so, use the Owl Cell Phone Cellular Phone Finder right now. It gives you results instantly, lets you learn more about each phone, lets you select the wireless service plan you want, and place an order online any time of the day or night. Can it get any easier? Not hardly.

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