Almost daily I read a new story or even see an ad about moving away from the big 2 cell phone carriers (Verizon and AT&T) and going to a smaller carrier. Doing so can save you a ton of money the ads claim. Curious about this, I looked into these secondary carriers to see what they were all about and I was surprised at what they were offering and at the price they were doing so. Below you’ll see what I learned and what to look for when shopping for a new cell phone carrier.
Understand The Network
Most of the smaller carriers are using the big cell phone carriers network to offer service. This includes AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Be sure you look at the coverage maps online or at the store to see just what network you will be on.
For me, I’ve heard some not so great things about Sprint in my area. Many of the resellers use Sprint’s network to use the phone, so for me, there is no point in jumping ship to these carriers. I did find one carrier that uses AT&T’s network, which is what I have now, and I have no issues with it. Therefore, I am heavily in favor of this company.
Understand What’s Included
Most of the smaller carriers have a few plans to choose from, so it is important that you know and understand what each one includes and doesn’t include. If there is something that isn’t included, be sure to ask to see if it can be added and for how much.
Also, these companies operate on a monthly contract, so no more being stuck with a carrier for 2 years. After a month, if you don’t like the service, you can jump ship.
For example, that same carrier above that I am looking into has 3 plans. The one plan looks ideal for me. But, it doesn’t include any international coverage and my wife and I travel a fair amount. The higher priced plans have some international coverage included. But, I can also add international coverage on a month to month basis for a few extra dollars with the lower priced plan. Take the time to know what you need so you can pick a plan that meets those needs.
Understand The Phone Situation
Some carriers will allow you to bring your current phone with you to their service. Others make you buy a new phone. This is very important as these smaller carriers will not typically subsidize the cost of a new phone. In other words, you aren’t getting an iPhone 6 for $199 with a 2 year agreement. You will be paying full price for that phone, which is at least $600, sometimes more.
The carrier I am considering allows you to bring an assortment of phones (iPhone included) to their service, you just need to buy a new SIM card for $0.99.
Do The Math
At the end of the day, you have to do the math to see if it makes sense for you to switch over. In my case, it does. I currently have 450 minutes for calls, 1,000 texts and 200MB of data. For half that price I can get unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data. Plus, I don’t have to sign up for 2 years and I can keep my current phone (and since it works fine, why do I even need a new one?).
Cell phone bills can take a big bite out of our monthly income. Take some time to look into other carriers to slash your bill and save some money. As I said, most of them use the bigger carrier’s network, so you will have the same coverage for cellular use, you just might not have access to the fastest speeds out there. Still, cutting your bill in half or more makes a little slower speed more than worth it.