What to Know Before Switching Cell Phone Plans
Are you on the fence about switching to a new cell phone plan? Switching cell phone carriers can sometimes feel like you’re taking a leap of faith. Because with nearly every plan, there are pros and cons, good perks, and bad restrictions to take into consideration.
Before you make a decision on which wireless carrier to choose, ask yourself these questions to help you choose the right plan.
Which Network Will Work Best for Me?
In the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are three of the biggest telecom providers. All three companies offer their own services and have extensive nationwide networks with fast 4G LTE and 5G service. If you choose a provider that isn’t in your area, you might find yourself disappointed by the service.
Check with your friends and family members that already use a certain carrier to see if they are satisfied. You might also consider taking a free trial of the service you are planning on switching to, like T-Mobile’s Test Drive.
Are There Smaller Players?
Smaller cellular carriers — known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs — have the advantage of offering affordable rates in comparison to bigger competitors. If you find that Verizon works best in your area, but their service is too pricey, switching to Visible, Spectrum Mobile, or Xfinity Mobile could potentially allow you to keep similar coverage for a bit less.
How Much Do I Owe on My Installment Plan?
Thankfully, two-year contracts for mobile phones have all but vanished in the United States. However, their replacements—longer installment plans that allow you to hold onto your phone for a longer period of time—have a drawback: You need to stick with that carrier for two or three years or pay off the balance on an expensive phone.
Are There Discounts?
Many of the carriers also offer special discounts, so it’s a good idea to figure out which ones might apply to you. For instance, many employers or military branches will offer a discount for employees or family members. If you’re on a family plan and your brother qualifies for the discount, even if you don’t, it’s worth checking into.
What Are the Perks?
Major carriers bundle streaming services with their plans to entice customers to opt for higher-end unlimited plans. For example, Verizon offers the Disney Bundle with its Play More and Get More plans, AT&T offers HBO Max with its Unlimited Elite plan, and T-Mobile offers Netflix and Apple T.V. Plus with its Magenta and Magenta Max plans.