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View Full Version : Switching Wireless Carriers to Save Money: Anyone Doing It?


Jason Dunn
03-30-2006, 11:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,125006,pg,1,RSS,RSS,00.asp' target='_blank'>http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,125006,pg,1,RSS,RSS,00.asp</a><br /><br /></div><i>"Last week, I offered advice for existing wireless customers on getting the best price for a new smart phone. One option I didn't mention is switching service providers, and that's what I ended up doing. I switched from Cingular to Sprint when I wanted to upgrade to a Palm Treo 650 but not pay the full price. I'll explore that option this week. Why did I make the switch? I had a couple reasons...So I paid $300 for a Treo 650 from Sprint. Given that I was still under contract with Cingular, however, that carrier hit me with a $150 early termination fee. Thus, I paid a total of $450 for the Treo 650, which is $75 more than what I'd pay if I'd stayed with Cingular."</i><br /><br />The author goes on to say that by switching to Sprint and the $10 a month plan for web/email, he'll save in the long run. Have any of you switched wireless carriers to save money? Or do the devices available on a certain network lure you away? In this case the Treo was available on all the networks, but with Windows Mobile devices that's often not the case - if you want the Treo 700w, you're going with Verizon.

Jerry Raia
03-30-2006, 11:09 PM
I switched from Verizon to Cingular primarily for the equipment available. The roll over minutes appealed to me too.

aarcam
03-30-2006, 11:52 PM
It aint like it use to be. It seems there is little to no benefit in todayís society staying with a company for a long time. That is the reason I switched form Sprint. I wanted to upgrade my phone and they wouldnít offer me squat. I decided I was done with proprietary hardware and poor customer interaction and went with Cingular (so maybe it was a lateral moveÖ). As soon as I was walking out the door Sprint offered me all kinds of deals on phones and plans. Asking for it as a loyal customer of 5 years I was denied. As a potentially lost customer I was offered all kinds of goodies.

As for saving $, I donít know that it worked. I have roll over minutes and a slightly cheaper plan, but I bought a more expensive phone out of contract to get what I wanted (SP5). I guess it is how I met all you clowns so it is alright.

It is an interesting condition today that the longer you are with a company the more likely you will get screwed. Credit cards and cell phone providers are all the same. Ask for a better rate or special deals and they will laugh. Call them to cancel and they will give you their first born. Great business model.

Jerry Raia
03-30-2006, 11:56 PM
I guess it is how I met all you clowns so it is alright.

Clowns? :rainbowafro:

aarcam
03-31-2006, 01:49 AM
Clowns? :rainbowafro:

I hope you did not take offense, I did not mean it in a bad way. I have been hanging around here for quite some time and read all of posts here almost daily. I donít post much because I usually get beat to it on the stuff I do know and donít have a whole lot to add to the stuff I donít know.

If anyone takes offense, I hereby officially substitute super funny peeps for :rainbowafro:.

That is a nice clown by the way.

Rocco Augusto
03-31-2006, 01:52 AM
theres so much more involved when switching carriers then just the device price. did this person even bother to check to see what coverage was like in the area surronding his house or the top 5 places he visits? sure he could be saving a couple bucks a month but whats the point if the phone doesn't works in the areas where he's using it?

the best thing anyone could do if they were looking to make the jump is to talk to their neighbors and find out who they are using and what kind of reception they get in the areas around their homes, then talk to your co-workers and see who they are using and what kind of reception they are getting at work. then after you weighed both of those options go to that carriers stores and ask an employee to show you what service looks like with their online map tool. every company has one and if the sales person tries to tell you they don't its because they know that the service doesn't look that great on paper.

once thats all said and done research the phones online and look at some consumer reports sites or if its a smartphone browse around the smartphone sites to see what people are saying about.

whatever you do dont just jump into a new two year contract with a company because you'll save a few bucks because not all companies have a 30 day return policy like cingular, everyone else only has a 14 day return policy and the day you get the phone is day one. come in on day "15" and your SOL if you dislike the service... but you'll be saving a few bucks so who cares right? ;)

Jerry Raia
03-31-2006, 01:56 AM
Clowns? :rainbowafro:

I hope you did not take offense, I did not mean it in a bad way. I have been hanging around here for quite some time and read all of posts here almost daily. I donít post much because I usually get beat to it on the stuff I do know and donít have a whole lot to add to the stuff I donít know.

If anyone takes offense, I hereby officially substitute super funny peeps for :rainbowafro:.

That is a nice clown by the way.

No I took it as a compliment, I just called the other editors goons in an email so feel good about it. :lol:

Ok back on topic. For me the gadgets are Number 1 priority. I trade almost anything for better devices. They have to work of course.

Mike Temporale
03-31-2006, 02:30 AM
Well, this goon isn't jumping ship anytime soon. I've got the cheapest data plan in Canada and the carrier doesn't offer it anymore! So until something changes, I'm not going anywhere. :mrgreen:

Jerry Raia
03-31-2006, 03:17 AM
Well, this goon isn't jumping ship anytime soon. I've got the cheapest data plan in Canada and the carrier doesn't offer it anymore! So until something changes, I'm not going anywhere. :mrgreen:

Ok Mike, that makes you a clown now too. :lol:

Rocco Augusto
03-31-2006, 04:03 AM
Well, this goon isn't jumping ship anytime soon. I've got the cheapest data plan in Canada and the carrier doesn't offer it anymore! So until something changes, I'm not going anywhere. :mrgreen:

ewwwwwwwwwww, canada ;)

JUST KIDDING! :lol:

Kris Kumar
03-31-2006, 04:09 AM
I think I like clowns better than super funny peeps or goons. :lol:

I definitely switched for two reasons, savings and better coverage. From T-Mobile to Cingular, the move was to take advantage of lower rates thanks to business/premier discounts and the much better coverage.

ARW
03-31-2006, 07:29 PM
Have any of you switched wireless carriers to save money? Or do the devices available on a certain network lure you away?

When I first read this I thought that my switch last Fall to Cingular from Vzw had nothing to do with money. My basic voice plan is the same monthly $40. But, as I think about it I am saving money, even though my total monthly bill is higher.

Here's the reasoning. With Cingular I get roll over minutes which means I will never again go over my allotment and be charged (penalized?) for it. So I'm actually getting what amounts to an unlimited voice plan. My monthly bill is actually higher because I didn't have a data plan with Vzw. I just couldn't justify the $45 they wanted. I could justify the $20 Cingular charges, so I've opted for it.

The real reason I switched however is I could no longer stand Vzw proprietary approach to the wireless business. I could only realistically use phones they provided and that just didn't cut it for this libertarian. So, the fact that I've just now realized that I'm saving money is iding on the cake. Hmm, maybe I'll take some that savings and trade to the Star Trek.

jkovacs
03-31-2006, 08:46 PM
the best thing anyone could do if they were looking to make the jump is to talk to their neighbors and find out who they are using and what kind of reception they get in the areas around their homes, ;)

Actually, that may not always give an accurate picture because different devices get different reception. When I was looking to jump ship from AWS I bought a prepaid Tmobile sim and tested in my unlocked SMT 5600. I had friends raving about tmobile but I couldn't get a good signal at home or work, the two places I need it most. It's a cheap way to know for sure unless you're planning on getting a new device, in which case... nevermind.

...Joe K.

Rocco Augusto
03-31-2006, 08:54 PM
the best thing anyone could do if they were looking to make the jump is to talk to their neighbors and find out who they are using and what kind of reception they get in the areas around their homes, ;)

Actually, that may not always give an accurate picture because different devices get different reception. When I was looking to jump ship from AWS I bought a prepaid Tmobile sim and tested in my unlocked SMT 5600. I had friends raving about tmobile but I couldn't get a good signal at home or work, the two places I need it most. It's a cheap way to know for sure unless you're planning on getting a new device, in which case... nevermind.

...Joe K.

youre right, it isn't always the most accurate way to see coverage in your neighborhood but if you have two neighbors, one on sprint and one on cingular and the neighbor with sprint drops calls left and right and the neighbor with cingular is always at full bars then it would give you more incentive to go down to a ci ngular store and have them pull up the map tool so you can see the actual coverage near your home. also with cingular you can view actual tower locations so you can see your distance to whatever tower is around you.

not accurate but it could be helpful in making a decision ;)

Rocco Augusto
03-31-2006, 08:54 PM
the best thing anyone could do if they were looking to make the jump is to talk to their neighbors and find out who they are using and what kind of reception they get in the areas around their homes, ;)

Actually, that may not always give an accurate picture because different devices get different reception. When I was looking to jump ship from AWS I bought a prepaid Tmobile sim and tested in my unlocked SMT 5600. I had friends raving about tmobile but I couldn't get a good signal at home or work, the two places I need it most. It's a cheap way to know for sure unless you're planning on getting a new device, in which case... nevermind.

...Joe K.

youre right, it isn't always the most accurate way to see coverage in your neighborhood but if you have two neighbors, one on sprint and one on cingular and the neighbor with sprint drops calls left and right and the neighbor with cingular is always at full bars then it would give you more incentive to go down to a ci ngular store and have them pull up the map tool so you can see the actual coverage near your home. also with cingular you can view actual tower locations so you can see your distance to whatever tower is around you.

not accurate but it could be helpful in making a decision ;)

supbro
04-01-2006, 12:21 AM
I've been switching phone/provider yearly for the past 4 or 5 years... the way I see it, the wireless companies are basically asking us to switch by offering mega rebates on a new plan with activation. My newest phone (T-Mobile SDA) I bought through amazon for $50 after rebates. If I had stayed with cingular and bought the very similar cingular 2125, it would have cost me at least $200 more. I don't particularly like switching providers, but it's what you gotta do to not spend a fortune and stay with a current phone. You would think the wireless companies would want to keep their customers, but I'm going to keep switching and getting cheap new phones until something changes.

Bushrod
04-01-2006, 02:02 AM
I jumped from ATT to Sprint in December.

To get a new phone for a reasonable price, I would have to have increased my voice plan from $30 to $40. I think they would have required the data plan, too.

By going with Sprint, I have a $30 plan and a $15 data plan. Over a two year contract that's a $360 savings. Makes the $440 PPC-6700 not that expensive!

The EV-DO speeds a pure bonus!

Kris Kumar
04-01-2006, 02:15 AM
Wow, Sprint has $15 EV-DO based data plan. 8O Please tell me that it is not unlimited.

Bushrod
04-01-2006, 03:02 AM
I hate to break it to you but it is unlimited ;)

Honestly, I do most of my browsing when I'm outside on a smoke break.

I just checked. About 940 MB downloaded since it was activated on 12-19-05. Do you think I have a problem?




Wow, Sprint has $15 EV-DO based data plan. 8O Please tell me that it is not unlimited.

Kris Kumar
04-01-2006, 03:16 AM
Wow...unlimited EV-DO!

Off Topic - Actually I just realized that last month I downloaded 90MB+ worth of data. The 2125 with EDGE is making me go crazy. You are not the only one with problem. ;-)

Jerry Raia
04-01-2006, 04:22 AM
I'm in this for the devices. That's where i go.

Rocco Augusto
04-01-2006, 08:51 PM
I'm in this for the devices. That's where i go.

for me the device is just as important as the coverage as well as the technology. personally ill only use a GSM enabled device only because i change devices like most people change clothes. i honestly have about 4 smartphones that i carry with me depending on which outfit im wearing that day :lol:. i cant afford to sit around on hold for 20 minutes to get a master unlock code to reprogram my number into a CDMA device, thats to much of a hassle :)

Jerry Raia
04-01-2006, 09:07 PM
i honestly have about 4 smartphones that i carry with me depending on which outfit im wearing that day :lol:

I admire that. :)

Mark Larson
04-02-2006, 12:56 PM
No switching for me because everyone is more expensive than T-Mobile for a simple cheap Family plan with unlimited data and a good smartphone (with wifi! :oops: )

muzzin
04-03-2006, 10:03 PM
I've switched providers at least five times in about 12 years of cell use. I'm now with Cingular for the 'first' time. I've been doing them for about 16 months. I've used all the services mostly in Detroit, my home town, and for several weeks in OH, NJ, VA, Delaware, PA etc.

In the last five years I switched providers only for two reasons, better phone and better package pricing. But not just one of those features, it has to be both.


It now feels to be all about high speed data, or the lack thereof in the case of Cingular. I'm about the cancel their 'high-speed data' package again for the second time in 12 months since it's slow and unreliable (oh and has a 400 millisecond ping. Way too slow to play Unreal tournament 2004. My oneway satellite connection 4 years ago had a 250 ping).

As far as phones go it's about features and usability. The MOTO v551 I have does the trick. I needed bluetooth AND a 2.5mm plug since my first experience with bluetooth (the Plantronics M1000 headset) was a complete and utter disaster.

The next holy grail is HSDPA. I think I would be somewhat content with HSDPA for the sickening $60 a month charge. I don't know about anyone else, but to me VoIP on cellullar service sounds pretty awesome about now. I'd love to have a Smartphone with cell, WiFi and VoIP switching capabilities. But in lieu of that I'll settle for fixed WiMax. WiMax, if ever launched, should put tremendous price pressure on the cell and wireless data carriers .... at least.

In short, I'll switch if it is pragamatic. But this GPRS service to me is an abomination. Especially since the far east is watching HDTV on their cell phones.

We should focus on getting better phones, better reception and faster services AND stop paying money for F____ing ringtones......

are we blind or what? :-)

dixiecdc
05-04-2006, 02:36 AM
Long long time Sprint customer - While trying to buy a PPC-6700, I hit major problems since I wanted the $150 rebate and Sprint customer service said they could not offer that rebate unless I went to a Sprint store to buy the phone. Catch 22 - Sprint stores I checked didn't have the phone in stock. :x Frustrated, I turned to eBay and bought the phone there, risk and all, but saved the same amount I would have with a rebate. I was seriously considering a shift to Verizon at the time, but felt held hostage because the rest of the family was on Sprint and we use the free PCS-to-PCS minutes a lot.

Why take the risk then? Monthly cost is important. Sprint's data pricing is reasonable - I put on the unlimited EVDO data plan with unlimited EVDO phone-as-modem for the laptop too. (With 2 year contract and a voice plan, that's $40 monthly for data instead of the usual $15 for just EVDO on the phone, but having connectivity options is sweet!) That $40 also replaced the former $80/month unlimited plan for my PCMCIA laptop wireless card. Hey, given the price of the PDA-phone, there's not much doubt I will keep it for 2 years, so I'm not worried about early termination fees.

Lo and behold, the next day Sprint called me (yes, they can even evidently dial out now too), and offered me $150 credit for each of the other phones on my account, in case I want new equipment, and that could include a PPC-6700 if that was what I wanted. In the bad old days, I had to get a Sprint supervisor on the phone after waiting 30 minutes on hold (even calling from the Sprint store's own customer service line) and threaten to leave just to get a loyalty discount that they would extend only for one phone per year on the account.

Sprint customer service these days is quicker to answer your call, very helpful and the reps seem to be proactively watching out for the customer's best interests. Not sure how long that will last, but at least for now, I'm a happy camper in Sprint-land! Now they just need to resolve that policy problem that sent me to eBay in the first place... :wink: