Understanding Carriers

The purpose of this post is to answer some of the questions I get asked most frequently about cell phone carriers.
The first question I am asked is…

Q: “Why can’t I get a new phone?”

First off, you can. What you can’t do is get your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular or Sprint) to subsidize (discount) the price of the new phone.

Here’s how it works: When you buy a subsidized phone you sign up for a legally binding contract for two-years basically saying that you won’t switch carriers for two years. As you near the end of those two years your carreir tries to rope you into signing s new contract by offering you a subsidized phone again. The people working at the carrier have to make a living however, and therefore they can only offer a subsidation when it is profitable for them (usually with around six months left on your contract)

Q: “Can I switch carriers?”

A: This is not as easy as it seems, generally you can switch carriers with minimal impact after you end your two year contract or it expires. However each carrier has its own stipulations so you should read the contract for yourself. Once your contract has expired you can go to your local AT&T or Verizon store and find out how to switch. Be prepared to drive back and forth a couple times and be on custiomer service for half an hour, trust me, these guys are dug in like ticks.

Q: “Can I keep my number?”

A: Yes, almost always, make sure to mention this to your carrier.

If you have any more questions please comment below and I will try to answer them.
(Image Credit: Talk Android)

Leave a Reply