Mobile FAQ

Shopping for a phone can be an intimidating process. It’s only natural that consumers come into the process with a slew of questions. We’ve compiled a few of our most commonly heard queries to help you bone up before visiting your local Best Buy Mobile.

How does a mobile phone work?
The technology that powers mobile phones is similar to the technology behind radios. Essentially, your phone’s wireless antenna sends and receives unique radio signals transmitted via a specific frequency range. These signals used to be broadcast using large cell towers, but advancements in technology have made it more common for phones to operate via wireless antennae that transmit across a smaller area. When you speak, your phone converts your voice into digital data that can be easily transmitted over your network. As technology improves, phones use this same technique to transmit more and more information, from text messages to video clips to entire songs.

What carriers can I find at Best Buy Mobile?
Best Buy Mobile is one of the few outlets where you can shop for plans from all four major carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Choosing one of these carriers is a matter of personal preference, depending on price, coverage, available features and many other factors. Our Mobile Phone Experts can help you find a plan that’s ideal for your specific needs. Note: Not all Best Buy locations carry all four of these carriers. Check with your local store for a list of available carriers. T-Mobile is only available online.

What is the difference between various operating systems?
There are plenty of technical differences between the major operating systems. How those differences impact you depends largely on how you use your phone. The current major mobile operating systems are Android, iOS (Apple), RIM (BlackBerry) and Windows Phone.

Should I buy a smartphone?
Smartphones – mobile phone with operating systems that allow the user to add applications – are quickly overtaking traditional call-and-text phones as many people’s preferred communication tool. Individual needs will vary, but we generally think this is an excellent time to make the upgrade.

Modern smartphones to function much like miniature personal computers, supporting e-mail and web browsing and featuring an interface like a QWERTY keyboard or touchscreen. Smartphones generally also feature still and video cameras, GPS systems, music players, calendars and organizers. Available apps vary by phone and operating system and can further maximize the fun and usability of your mobile experience. And, of course, you still have calling, text messaging and all the features you’d get with a regular phone.

What is a carrier contract?
A carrier contract is a service agreement between a mobile phone user and service provider in which the user agrees to remain with the carrier for a specified period of time. Best Buy Mobile carries a wide selection of phones both with and without contract obligations. See Plans and Payments for more details.

What is the difference between postpaid and prepaid plans?
With a postpaid plan, you pay for service at the end of a specified term of use. Generally this includes a flat monthly fee, plus added charges for additional minutes or MBs of data used. With a prepaid contract, you pay for service in advance and generally pay full price for the phone itself, as opposed to the discounts usually included with a postpaid phone purchase. See Plans and Payments for more details.

How can I cancel my contract?
It is possible to cancel a carrier contract before your term is up, but most providers charge a penalty for early termination. If you choose to terminate a contract, you will need to contact your carrier’s customer service department.

Where can I find information on your shipping rates?
Click here to view our shipping rates and policies.

What are my options for international calling?
International calling options vary depending on the service provider and the countries involved. Most service providers offer plans specifically geared toward users who make frequent international calls, as well as per-minute options for occasional international callers. Click here for more mobile tips for international travelers.

What is mobile broadband?
Mobile broadband enables you to connect your mobile devices to the internet anywhere and anytime. Depending on your needs and usage, your options include a mobile broadband USB card, WiFi technology tools called “mobile hotspots” or a laptop or phone with built-in mobile broadband. You pay for what you use either by contract or as you use it. Read more about mobile broadband here.

How do I transfer numbers and other info from my old phone to my new one?
Every Best Buy Mobile location offers our free Mobile Genie service. Mobile Genie allows you to easily transfer contacts, pictures, music and more from one phone to another. Just drop by your local Best Buy Mobile store and one of our mobile phone experts will be glad to help. (Note: The information available for transfer may vary from phone to phone.)

How much memory do I need?
That depends on what you want your phone to do. Users who want access to a lot of apps, downloads and functions like streaming video will generally require more memory than those who stick mostly to calling, texting and occasional web-browsing. Best Buy Mobile offers phones with a wide range of memory options, and many phones support memory expansion cards and add-ons. Read more about mobile phone memory options here.

Can I keep my current number if I buy a new phone?
In most cases, yes. Even if you switch carriers, you can usually port your current number to a new device.

What is a family plan?
A family plan is a single service plan that offers coverage to multiple users. Family plans are generally less expensive than buying separate plans for each user, and often provide free calling and other services between family members. Family plans also allow a primary user to control the account’s settings, a welcome feature for concerned parents.

How can I control or monitor my child’s phone use?
Parents looking to monitor a child’s use may have options to set calling limits, block certain incoming and outgoing numbers, track where the phone is being used and more. Availability, features, and costs will vary by provider, so talk to a Best Buy Mobile Sales associate to find out more.

9 Comments

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  1. hi

    i have a question, im going to miami florida in june, and i would want to purchase a samsung galaxy note the unlocked version because im living in venezuela and the usa carriers dont reach out to here. do you have them in stock?

  2. If I take my previous iPhone to get my photos and contacts and apps switched to my iPhone 5 will best buy do it for me? And will it be free?

    • Hi Bailey,

      Yes, our mobile specialists should be able to transfer your info over to your new phone at the time of purchase. Thanks for asking!

  3. Would you have to buy a phone there or can you take them two phone and have them transfer it for you?

    • Time permitting, the stores do transfer data at no charge. Usually it only takes a few minutes, but will depend on if associates are helping other customers at that time.

  4. Hi, in planning on going to a bestbuy location and changing carriers in a week, I still have 7ish months left on my other contract. I plan on trading in my iphone 5 and closing my sprint account early, can I use the gift card from selling back my phone to pay for the contract termination?

  5. hi , i currently have the iphone 4. tommorow i am getting the iphone 5s. i really needed help on this question. will best buy be able to transfer the data on my current phone to the iphone 5s ? , and will i have the same number ?

    • Hi Ayonna,

      Yes, your data can be transferred to your new phone by the sales person. Yes, you should be able to keep your same phone number.

      Thanks for checking in!
      Kelly

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