In the last 10 years we have seen a shift with the way mobile carriers sell their new phones. Gone are the days of free nights and weekends, paying extra for unlimited texting, and long distance or roaming charges. Since the dawn of the smartphone, mobile carries have been changing and tweaking their business models. In the past, phone companies would subsidize the cost of a new phone, knocking it down 70% or more. But then make their money back by locking you into a 2-year contract that came with huge breakage fees if you canceled early.
That is a lot of money for a plan with 4 phones locked into a 2-year contract and only two of the phones having a small amount of data…… Sure, you might get a free phone that was last year’s model, but the phone company would nickel and dime you until they recouped their cost.
Today the phone companies figured it out, no one likes contracts. So, they made their plans cheaper and put the cost of the phones completely on you. The phone companies shifted into acting more like a bank, “loaning you a phone” or doing “interest free payments on the phone” and putting the payments on the phone bill. This mimics a contract because it gives you an obligation to stay with the phone company for the extended period of the payment plan. Theoretically, your phone bill should drop to the lower cost once the phone(s) are paid in full. A typical family plan with 4 Lines and unlimited talk/text/data with nationwide calling, will usually cost $160 or $40 a month per line.
On the surface the plans are a lot cheap, right? Well, this is where things get tricky and bills can jump up fast. Take that same family of 4, they have been paying $160 a month and cannot complain. They have been loyal customers for five plus years and have no intentions of switching cellphone providers. All 4 phones are due for an upgrade, so they jump online or go into a retail store to purchase a new or newer model phone. If each phone they purchase cost at least $700 and they put it on installments. They will be adding $25 or more per line to the bill. Overnight the family of four went from paying $160 to $260 a month. Add insurance to the bill…… another $40 every month.
Phone carriers have realized the only way to get new customers is by stealing the competitions. Anytime there is a promotion on new phones, and the company is offering Buy One Get One Free, Get An iPhone On Us, or Free Phone When You Switch to Us. It is usually the phone carrier that pays for the free cellphone. On your cellphone bill, this reflects as a credit that usually matches the payment amount of the phone. The credits last the entire length of the payment plan mimicking a 2-year contract for getting a free cellphone. Remember, there are no more contract. The phone carrier cannot offer you a free phone without giving you some incentive to stay with their company. If you take a free phone deal and then switch carriers early, you will most likely be charged the balance or entire amount of the free cellphone.
So how do you get new phones and keep your bill down? There are 3 ways to do this and keep your phone bill cheap.
First: You can purchase an unlocked phone out right or with a credit card. This gives you the freedom to switch carriers whenever you want. For better priced unlimited plans or for a better signal and faster data speeds. We have great selection of “Unlocked Phones” to choose from.
Second: You can switch phone carriers every time you are ready for a new phone. Phone carriers reserve their best promotions for new customers. There is no getting around that fact. The best deals are for the new guys, while the long-term customers get left behind. Sure, they might have an existing customer promotion, but it is nothing that compares to the free phones new customers get.
Third: To get the same deals new customers get, you must look like a new customer. Phone companies care about one thing, new lines. That is why attached to every BOGO or Free Phone on Us deal, is “with new activation”. Add a new line of service to your plan to get the promotion you want. Do not need an extra line? Use the new phone number and cancel your old one. Getting a new phone number is not always ideal, but if it saves you $700, it is something to consider.
Understand how the promotions work and use them to your advantage. You love your phone company, and you do not want to switch. That is understandable. They may be the only ones with service where you live. You could simply add a line of service, get the free phone, and when you’re able to cancel your old phone number….. Essentially you would be getting a new number to save hundreds for a free phone. Even better if you have younger children with no attachment to their phone number. Make them get the new phone number and you keep the new phone for yourself. All phones have SIM cards. Just move your sim card into the new phone, and you get to keep your number with the new phone.
Another way to add a line and NOT increase you phone bill is to simply update your plan. To stay competitive, Cellphone companies change their unlimited plans all the time. Your plan will not update automatically nor will they notify you of cheaper options. Odds are, if you have not updated your cellphone plan in several years, there is a cheaper plan available to you. Just by updating your current phone plan, you may be able to add a line, get a free cellphone, and not increase your phone bill. At the very least, you can update your plan and lower your phone bill.
Phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile will not actively show you how to drop your phone bill, but with help from Mobile Advisor, we will show you how to use promotions to your advantage. Sometimes getting the best deal means changing companies, other times it is as simple as updating your plan. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with new promotions and discounted offers.
- Mobile Advisor