Author Topic: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?  (Read 1952 times)

notactiveanymore

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How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« on: September 12, 2017, 08:58:44 AM »
I've posted about phones before. I've been wanting to switch for awhile. We're with AT&T and both phones have been off contract since March. I wanted to switch to Cricket or Consumer Cellular or even Google Fi. But he loves his iPhone (doesn't need a fancy, new, or large memory one though!), and is very skeptical of places that don't have a storefront. Sigh. But he had a discount through work, so we've only been paying $93/month since March for 3GB data and unlimited talk/text.

Last night his iPhone5 went out completely. He did a massive troubleshoot and was up really late with it, but it just won't turn on. He keeps getting an error and then it shuts off. Okay, the phone is almost 3 years old and wasn't the top model when he got it, I get it.

We are loath to get back in the phone contract game and were hoping to find a refurbished iPhone6 to bring our own phone back to att. But they are few and far between and the refurbished options get terrible reviews.

I'd like to do consumer cellular now. We could transfer my phone over for free, get him an iPhone6 for $25 today and then pay $85/month for 7 months before it drops down to $60/month. It's still 3GB and unlimited text with 1500 shared talk minutes.

But he is massively suspicious. He doesn't understand how we could get the same coverage as ATT for such a cheap price. This is the same run around he gave me back in the spring, but back then I just gave in. I've told him they lease the tower space and don't have storefronts, but he still doesn't understand why it's so cheap and he thinks we'll get screwed.

(worst case scenario, we finish paying the iPhone off and then go back to att, so not a huge risk really)

Does anyone have a better explanation for why the plans with Consumer Cellular could be so cheap compared to the major carriers? Or advice to convince my skeptical husband to just trust me on this?

startbyservingothers

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 09:34:29 AM »
To REALLY save money, coverage is always a consideration.  It doesn't surprise me that he thinks this.  Sprint and T-Mobile are the biggest examples.  They are fine in most Urban areas (And a few rural ones.) but for the most part their coverage is worthless if you travel a lot.  (I have a Spring MVNO and am perfectly fine with it.) 

You're NOT saving that much money!
The TRUTH is you are NOT saving that much money.  I'm sure you've seen information here and other places, but I'll mention my costs for clarity.  I use Tello , which is a true pay as you go.  I paid $10 to start my service 8 months ago and still have $8.XX remaining.  Yes my total cost has been less than 25 cents per month!  Well that isn't a fair comparison because I only use my Cell Phone briefly in the car.  I use Google Voice (Hangouts) for the Majority of the calls I do make.  (It does have occasional lag, but is usable and my Cell rings just like an ordinary phone when someone calls.  You can see I don't place much value on my phone usage.  Your SO will have very different needs.

A plan that matches your (Their) needs
You do have to pick the right place and also make sure your plan matches up with your needs.  I have Wifi the majority of the time, so I Keep the cellular data turned off on my phone which is a huge savings.  (Calls and Texts still work fine!  That's what my phone is for!)  If you know AT&T works well for you, you will go a MVNO for AT&T.  They will typically tell you, but if unsure you can find them on the following list:  (The two companies you picked use AT&T Towers.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_mobile_virtual_network_operators


Why:
First explaining by store fronts make no sense.  The truth are these companies are making a ton of money.  So first and foremost these smaller companies are making a smaller profit?

Why do all the companies "allow"  MVNOs to exist in the first place?  It's genie in the bottle situation.  Say Verizon is the only company that sells its service to MVNOs.  Verizon makes a killing by selling service to both directly to consumers as wells as to whole sellers.  ShareholdAT&T, Sprint, Etc.  simple wouldn't be able to compete and hit earning expectations in that environment.  The only option is to do the same thing!  From the consumers viewpoint I would compare this to buying the Kroger brand.  The Kroger brand is almost identical in most instances.  But you know Chocolate O's are not going to be as good as Oreos.  (It just simply isn't possible for some reason.)  - Don't buy Chocolate O's unless you are someone willing to make that trade off.

Example:  My Father lives out in the middle of nowhere.   Coverage there is spotty with many carriers.For his location AT&T has Okay coverage and Verizon is the best.  My father purchased phone service with Page Plus.  (Verizon MVNO).  He gets excellent coverage. 

Biggest thing to remember anytime you change service:

Do not cancel your old service until your number is fully ported to your new service.  If you want to keep your current number, porting can be the biggest challenge.  It takes patience and a 1-3 calls to do so.  You basically have to give the new phone company your consent and all your account information from your current line.   Essentially AT&T (And every other company)  wants to keep you as a high paying customer.  They are only going to release your number to a competitor if the paperwork to do so is perfect.
-  If you cancel your current phone service without porting your number, then your number is gone forever.

Source:  I've had plans with every major carrier and a number of small ones.  I managed the devices and phone service for a mid-size company.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 10:05:31 AM by startbyservingothers »

ooeei

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 09:43:14 AM »
For what it's worth I've been on Cricket's $35 plan for a few years now ($40 -5 for setting up autopay) and it's been just fine. I get service anywhere my friends with AT&T do and have an iPhone SE I bought off eBay (with 1.5 years of AppleCare+ still left on it).

The way I see it, traditional companies are more convenient (storefronts), spend more on advertising, and require less thought or upfront money.  You can get a $900 phone for only $200 up front or sometimes less, you just pay for it with leasing in your monthly payments, and usually a bit extra.

If you care about constantly upgrading your phone, or want a storefront where you can go have someone else shop online for you or mail your phone off for service, then by all means use a regular provider. With iPhones most of your "service" will be done at an Apple store anyway, not by AT&T. I had AT&T for years and never went to the store unless it was to change my plan or phone, both of which are very simple to do online.

I'd recommend looking at the price over 1, 2, 3, and 4 years for each option assuming you keep your phone the whole time. Find where each option is cheaper, then you can follow up with your husband on whether he thinks being able to go into a store one time is worth it.

I could see a standard provider being worth it for a business where they just want easy service with little/no hassle even at an increased cost. I can also see it being worth it for someone who is extremely not tech savvy and hates dealing with even minor troubleshooting, my grandparents and a few aunts/uncles are a good example. It's also "worth it" for someone who constantly wants to upgrade their phone but can never seem to save up any money, and doesn't like bothering with selling things on a site like eBay.  The same type of person who prefers leasing cars so they can have the latest/greatest but doesn't want to worry about buying/selling it themselves.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 09:45:12 AM by ooeei »

4alpacas

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 10:39:39 AM »
but he still doesn't understand why it's so cheap and he thinks we'll get screwed.

(worst case scenario, we finish paying the iPhone off and then go back to att, so not a huge risk really)
The way that I deal with my resistant DH is to make sure everything is reversible and deal with it myself.  I went with Ting, so we could continue using our iPhones.  I handled the transfer over.  My DH only had to hand his phone over for about an hour.  We've been with Ting for about 4 years. 

Would it be better for your SO to just pay for the iPhone outright, so you're not tied to any provider?

LateToTheParty

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 05:25:28 AM »
We changed from ATT to Consumer Cellular about 6 months ago, and cut our cell bill to 1/3 of previous. We have not had any issues with coverage. Customer service has been helpful- really have only needed to use their website to update credit card info as I churn credit cards.  The transfer process was easy peasy.

My only disappointment- that I did not do it years ago!

shelivesthedream

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 05:36:46 AM »
Why don't you change your phone provider and agree that if you've had no problems then in six months you'll change his too? Sure, you'll pay a little more for his but only for six months and then it's savings forever.

Pigeon

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 06:04:42 AM »
I un-Apple, but I do buy used/refurbished phones.  I've been using Swappa for phones for all members of my family of 4.  I see lots of unlocked iPhone 6 units there now.   

Pick a seller that has good reviews, who gives longer than average for Swappa warranties (they are still going to be fairly short though) and does a decent volume.  My experience having done that for some time is that you will get some phones with problems, but if you pick a seller with a lot of good reviews, they seem to care very much about the possibility of getting a bad review.  When contacted by email about issues, I have aways gotten nearly immediate instructions on how to return the phone with a prepaid shipping label and a new phone is sent very quickly.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2017, 06:37:12 AM »
Why don't you change your phone provider and agree that if you've had no problems then in six months you'll change his too? Sure, you'll pay a little more for his but only for six months and then it's savings forever.

We did this. 


My husband was reluctant to change to a low cost plan, so what I did was change from my no-longer on contract but old contract plan to a prepaid plan.  I get twice as much data and save about $10 a month.  Not a TON, but some.  When he realized the service was the exact same, he changed to the same plan. So we save $20 a month now. Not huge, but decent. Our plans weren't super expensive to begin with.

But we are still with Verizon. We've thought about Google Fi, but to buy the phones would be expensive and we'd have to do some weird stuff with our address (they have coverage here but don't technically sell plans here).

A store front was useful on vacation though.  In the middle of the day, after successfully sending me a text message, my husband got a message that his SIM card was invalid. We couldn't do anything to fix it. Taking it into a store, they just gave us a new one.

EricEng

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2017, 12:44:36 PM »
To REALLY save money, coverage is always a consideration.  It doesn't surprise me that he thinks this.  Sprint and T-Mobile are the biggest examples.  They are fine in most Urban areas (And a few rural ones.) but for the most part their coverage is worthless if you travel a lot.  (I have a Spring MVNO and am perfectly fine with it.) 
I'd disagree with this.  I switched to Tmobile in summer 2013 and it has improved incredibly in the last few years.  Their coverage is now on par with ATT in most areas and only outshined by Verizon in the most rural of areas.  That's going to change as the 600mhz bands roll out next year with new phones.  Their 4G speeds are shown to surpass the others if you are around any decent size town (100k+).
Quote
You're NOT saving that much money!
The TRUTH is you are NOT saving that much money.  I'm sure you've seen information here and other places, but I'll mention my costs for clarity.  I use Tello , which is a true pay as you go.  I paid $10 to start my service 8 months ago and still have $8.XX remaining.  Yes my total cost has been less than 25 cents per month!  Well that isn't a fair comparison because I only use my Cell Phone briefly in the car.  I use Google Voice (Hangouts) for the Majority of the calls I do make.  (It does have occasional lag, but is usable and my Cell rings just like an ordinary phone when someone calls.  You can see I don't place much value on my phone usage.  Your SO will have very different needs.
Again, I would disagree.  I have 9 lines on a family plan for $174 a month with 4gb per line of high speed data, unlimited talk, text, and the Tmobile binge on (free unlimited video and music streaming).  That is taxes and fees included.  They sadly no longer have the limited data plans, but the unlimited plans are great if you are heavy data use family.  Each line I add is $10+tax&fees which averages to about $15.  They also now offer discounted senior plans for $60 total for two lines with unlimited.

This is not to mention all the freebies we get with Tmobile. With their TMobile Tuesday special we have got dozens of pizzas, free movie tickets, etc.  You can also get free Netflix now too.  They will also provide a very nice AC router or cell tower for free (our house construction material blocks all cell signals regardless of carrier).

I have used those MVNO before and had poor results (avoid Straight Talk like the plague).  Data speeds were in the 5-15Kb/s range and customer service was awful.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2017, 01:02:40 PM »
Sprint still has their offer for 12-month free service.  Yes there are a few charges (our monthly bill for 2 phones is $8.32) but you won't find a better deal anywhere.  The service has been (for us) on a par with the ATT plan that cost us $100/month.  Plus we get unlimited data, whereas with ATT our $100 only bought 3 gigs high speed.

An absolute no-brainer if you qualify.

EricEng

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Re: How can I convince SO to switch cell plans?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2017, 01:13:25 PM »
Sprint still has their offer for 12-month free service.  Yes there are a few charges (our monthly bill for 2 phones is $8.32) but you won't find a better deal anywhere.  The service has been (for us) on a par with the ATT plan that cost us $100/month.  Plus we get unlimited data, whereas with ATT our $100 only bought 3 gigs high speed.

An absolute no-brainer if you qualify.
I agree, this is an amazing deal if Sprint has decent coverage in your area and you aren't too locked down atm.