If you are unhappy with your current cellular contract it is worth taking the time to investigate the various other providers and plans available. Although it may seem like a huge hassle to start over with a new provider, the benefits to you could be a newer smartphone with a lower payment plan. Reducing your contract just $20 a month can save you a bundle of money.
Basic voice and data plans for most providers start around $30 – $40 per month, but may not give you all the features and benefits you are looking for. For instance, these prices do not include unlimited data, or unlimited talk and text but it depends on what you need and what you use. To get the best deal for the money you’ll need to shop around and compare deals.
Here’s a few things to remember:
You may be required to purchase a new smartphone. While many providers allow you to BYO (bring your own device) it may not be compatible with their service. If you can’t keep your current phone or want to upgrade to a newer, better phone, compare the costs of buying one for cash (full payment upfront) vs. installments added to your contract.
Your credit rating may limit your choices when it comes to financing options. Some people opt for prepaid phones rather than pay $200 – $400 for a phone on contract. Some of the nicer, newer phones can run you upwards of $800. That’s a hefty price to pay for a new phone.
Before signing any contract, read it thoroughly (including the fine print) so you know exactly what your charges will be, so there are no surprises when you get your first bill. Finance charges, taxes, and activation fees may be added on to your bill and you should be aware of that up front. You may want to have your contract reviewed by a professional.
You may be charged for early termination of your current contract. You’ll have to decide if it is worth the cost to switch now or wait until your contract has been fulfilled to avoid those costs.
Look for promotions and “limited time” deals. Many times you can get a sweet deal by looking for providers offering promos. They often take 50% off your activation fee or give you a phone for $1. They need to keep a steady supply of new customers and will often negotiate with you to make that happen (they work off commission and that means they get paid).
If you do make the switch you will still need to pay off any financing charges from your old company. Even if you leave they will still continue to bill you and may try to win you back as a customer. You might even be able to negotiate for a lower payment plan if you stay. It pays to research all the possibilities so you’re not leaving money on the table.
Make a list of what you want and need. Do you use a little data or a lot? Do you text more than talk? Do you make International calls? Keep these things in mind while you’re shopping. Some providers charge additional fees if you go over your data plan limit.
The best thing you can do to ensure that you get the best deal is to gather information from all the providers you are interested in and see who offers the best value. Decide if you want to pay for minutes and MB of data, or go with all unlimited. Unlimited is great because it covers everything, but it is also the most expensive option. If you don’t use that much data it would be a waste of money. If you can’t decide right away it’s okay to sleep it on it and try again later.