How To & Tips

Ready to Switch Phone Carriers? The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask

There comes the point when every person reconsiders his or her current cell phone carrier. While some people switch carriers on a somewhat regular basis, most find a provider with whom they are comfortable and stick with them for years. That is until an enticing new promotion from a competing carrier draws their attention and causes them to reconsider.

Or instead of something attractive from the competition, you may consider a change because you are frustrated or unhappy with the carrier you currently have. In these cases, you will probably be shopping around and comparing your options before you choose a new cell phone service. Whatever your reason may be, switching phone carriers can be a major decision. This is especially true when long-term contracts and multiple lines are in play.

If you are fed up with the pricing, coverage or service of your current provider, or you are simply intrigued by an attractive offer from the competition, you should ask yourself some questions before leaping. Careful consideration and thorough research could save you from making a major mistake and help you find the perfect carrier for your specific needs. When making this decision, consider the following questions.

1 What is my current contract status?

This should be the first question you ask before even considering making a change. If you are still locked into a long-term contract, this could be a deal breaker before you get any further into the process of switching. Carriers put these contracts in place to keep customers from making a change every time a competitor offers an enticing new promotion.

If you are under contract, there will be early termination fees– sometimes hefty ones– if you make a change before the end of the agreed term. But sometimes the savings you could get with a new provider could offset the fees enough to make the switch worth it still. Also, many major carriers will offer to pay early termination fees for new customers under certain circumstances. Check your contract status, as well as any associated fees for early termination, before moving forward.

2 Would the new plan fit my needs better?

All of the major cell phone carriers have their specific pros and cons. Some have larger coverage areas; others have lower prices; some offer better phone selection, and so on. What the decision should boil down to is your own specific needs. The new carrier may provide a good price on unlimited data, but how much data do you actually use? Most people use far less than they pay for.

Or they may offer a better price for additional lines, but how many will you use? Some carriers offer lower prices, but their coverage may be spotty in your area. Weigh the pros and cons of each provider and each plan from a straightforward, objective perspective, and then consider how each would fit your own specific needs.

3 Can I use my current phone with the new provider?

Depending on the phone you have and your current carrier, you may be able to switch providers and keep your existing phone. But some phones are specific to one carrier and cannot be used elsewhere. The big boys like iPhones and Samsung Galaxys can usually be transferred, but you may have to contact your provider to have it unlocked. Some Motorola and LG phones can also be transferred, but others may only be used on your current carrier.

Consider whether or not you will have to buy a new phone– or several new phones for the entire family– to use the new provider. If this is the case, the lower cost of the new plan may not be significant enough to make up for the price of new phones.

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