I'm very new to buying cell phones and the selling hooks(free phones) that are offered by at&t and t-mobile are VERY tempting. If there is any, what's the catch to signing a 2-year contract with a free phone(say, a samsung focus)? It just seems way, WAY sketchy.
Also, what company does everyone on Tom's agree on most in California? Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, etc?
How would you go about choosing a family plan?
Sorry for the total noob questions; but tom's hardware has never steered me wrong, the community here is SO helpful each time i visit.
It's a tough call. First I'd have a look at the coverage area for each company that you mentioned and take a look at some reviews just to ensure that you are getting decent data/voice quality in your area. It wouldn't hurt to ask around with friends/coworkers to see what service they have and get their opinions. In regard to choosing a plan, I'd simply see what the better deal is. However, if you end up paying a bit more per month to get better coverage, I'd consider that as well.
The free phone thing is pretty straightforward. Usually the major companies offer the free phones to get rid of old stock to prepare for new phones. Just keep in mind that when you take the free phone(s) and someone in the family gets sick of it before the contract and/or upgrade is available, you'll end up paying full price for a new phone.