Mobile devices

Published on December 8th, 2017 | by Sunit Nandi


4 Things You Need to Ask When Switching Phone Carriers

As of 2012, cellular service customers stuck with their carriers for an average of 48 months, reports CNN Money. In many cases, as soon as their two-year contracts were up, these customers scurried on to a new provider. There are a number of reasons why customers leave or are discontent. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, nearly 40 percent of T-Mobile and Sprint customers left their networks because of poor network quality, while 50 percent of Verizon and AT&T customers left because of high costs.

But there also are reasons to stay with your current provider. If you’re considering switching to a new phone carrier, you shouldn’t do so rashly. Ask both your old and new providers the following questions to determine if switching is your best option.

Will an Existing Phone Work?

Not all phone providers use the same networks to broadcast their signals. The two main systems are Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobiles (GSM). Among the major providers in the United States, Verizon and Sprint utilize CDMA, while T-Mobile and AT&T use GSM. Therefore, if you’re switching between these carriers, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to use your old phone.

However, some modern phones are bridging the gap by offering compatibility for both of these systems. Notably, you can use the iPhone 6, 7, 8 and X as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 with any provider.

Is There Cellular Coverage in the Area?

Each cellphone provider boasts that they have the best nationwide coverage. However, Open Signal performed a study in 2017 that resulted in Verizon taking first place with 88.17 percent of customers having 4G access. T-Mobile came in second with 86.6 percent, AT&T came in third with 82.23 percent and Sprint came last with 76.81 percent. Even still, you should check availability in your area using a site like RootMetrics.

If you do choose a network that has inferior coverage in your area, you can make up for it with a phone that has Wi-Fi calling. This lets you make and receive calls through the internet, even if you don’t have cellular signal.

How Much Will It Cost?

Many providers offer enticing deals to draw in new customers, such as several months of free service or a new phone at a huge discount. It’s important to look past these deals to see what you’ll be paying when the promo is over. Look through the fine print, as there’s usually a caveat to deals that sound too good to be true. Calculate your monthly bill before you make the switch to ensure it will be just as affordable or cheaper than your old plan.

Are There Fees for Breaking the Contract?

Even though many providers are ditching the traditional two-year contract to appease customer demand, you still should make sure you won’t have a major fee to pay if you cancel your service. Call your provider, tell them you are planning to switch and ask them if you’ll have any extra charges on your bill. You should get a direct answer to this question, and they might even offer you a good deal to maintain your patronage.

Even if you love your current phone carrier, there’s a good likelihood you’ll end up switching to another at some point in your life. Phone carriers tempt most people to switch by offering better prices or service plans. Before you take the plunge, just make sure you fully vet both your current and prospective providers to ensure you’re making the right choice.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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