Be honest. You’ve been hating your cellular carrier for a while now. Either the bill is too high, data speeds are too low or there’s too many dropped calls for what you pay. It’s a never ending cycle of, “There’s something better out there, but I haven’t found it yet.” This behavior leads to handing over thousands of dollars each and every year to a company many people would rather not do business with. Which leads to the question, is there something better out there for you or not?
Making a compromise on service is never easy. Paying a few hundred dollars a month for that poor service is just downright painful. It would be like paying a restaurant to give you food poisoning over and over again each month with the hopes that eventually, you’ll like the food. There really isn’t a carrier today that is the ‘best’ anymore, at least not for everyone. There are some carriers that are better in some places and others that will work better in different locations. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. It’s life with mobile devices. As you begin to question you sanity about paying $100-300 a month for something you aren’t happy with, remember, you may not get any better service that what you have now, but you may get a better price for something very similar.
For example, one of the common complaints about MVNO services is that they throttle their data from the start. Cricket throttles their LTE coverage down to about 8 Mbps, Total Wireless drops their Verizon powered speeds to a measly 5 Mbps. As you compare this to the 15-30 Mbps full speed LTE connections that today’s networks offer, it’s hard to justify changing over to one of them for a few bucks a month. Of course, the battle of the big four is even worse, as they all have some sort of claim saying how much better they are than the next. T-Mobile’s “All In One” unlimited pricing or Verizon’s “Most Steller Network Ever” propaganda, it’s all aimed at getting the money from your wallet faster than you can think about signing that digital contract. Wait, did you think contracts were gone? No, they are still there, but you sign on for it with the phone, not the service. It’s so they can charge you more if you leave them early.
Shopping around for a carrier really depends on a few things: Are you happy with your current service? Do you use your current service allotments? Do you have coverage where you need it? Most of all, do you feel that you are overpaying at all for what you get? If you answered yes to any of the first three questions, or no to the last, you are probably in pretty good shape with your current provider. If not, then it’s time to look hard at what you are paying and more importantly, what you are using. Cost cutting carriers are available on almost every network in the country today. Here’s a quick look at the available options for each carrier in two different varieties – unlimited and limited services.
Looking at the above options, there really isn’t a plan today that would be available from one of the big four that will leave you walking out of the store for under $600 a year. When you compare your current bill to some of these plans, you must shake your head and ask if it’s even worth it to look. Here are the top picks for lighter user plans on each network – based on 500 minutes per month, 500 texts and 1GB of data.
Family plans are obviously a different game, but for individual users, checking out how much you use your device verses how much you are paying for it can result in some pretty dramatic savings. For example, if you are able to use the AT&T network and Wi-Fi service the majority of the time, the free FreedomPop service or the lower cost Red Pocket Mobile plans are a great alternative. If you need Verizon and are a bit heavier user, the Total Wireless option is a great play for you. T-Mobile is the most aggressive out there, with carriers like TPO dropping a limited plan for $16 a month or even Simple Mobile’s unlimited plan with 1GB of LTE data for under $25. For Sprint users, Tello offers a phenomenal value with limited number of minutes and data coming in well under $20 and FreedomPop’s Free plan increases to 500MB of data on the Sprint network. If you’ve been trying to rack up the savings, a change from the Unlimited Plan you are on to a limited plan that fits your needs better could save you nearly $650 a year and that is savings you can take straight to the bank.