Are you loyal to your phone company?

So, I am writing this post from a budget standpoint.  With three teenage boys, a growing grocery bill, and a growing cell phone plan it is time for us to look into different ways to cut down on our phone cost.

As hard as this may belief, we have been with Sprint for 16 years and have  never had any issues with their service or coverage area.  However, in the past few months we’ve noticed our bill continue to rise and then we got caught up into a “lease” program with their phones.  Yes, I know this is my fault because I didn’t fully ready the terms and conditions of the lease but as a long time Sprint customer I trusted that when we paid off the lease the extra $25 a month we were paying on each phone would eventually go away.

So I think it was around September of 2016 we paid off Mikey’s lease, but I wasn’t letting him get a new phone until he earned it so I didn’t really pay attention to the fact our bill didn’t really change.  In March 2017 I took him to the Sprint store in my area to get a new phone and recommit to the “lease.” This is when I found out that I was still paying on the phone each month as a borrow program because we hadn’t gone in and bought it outright after the lease ended.  WHAT?!  Again, I know this is my fault for not closely reading the terms and condition.

So as I stood there in disbelief, I told the kid working the counter that it seemed like a racket to me, because the lease was 2 years on a phone for $700 and when I paid it off it wouldn’t be mine?!  Plus, how many people don’t ruin their phone before that lease is up.  At this point in order for me to get him a new phone, they told me that I would need to pay them $154 for Mikey’s iPhone 6 because it was slightly bent and considered damaged.  We would not get a new phone until we paid that.  Hmmmm.

This is when I told the young man I was going to explore our options and there was a Verizon right across the street.  I was shocked when he said, “to switch carriers they will need your account number, do you want me to write it down?”  To me this doesn’t seem like the way you should treat a customer who has faithfully been with your company for 16 years.  There was no attempt by the Sprint store to retain me as a customer.  After visiting the Verizon store, I realized they were not the fit for us either.  Budget wise it was going to be more expensive to get the same unlimited data we were enjoying with Sprint for 16 years.  So, I started doing my research.

For some reason, I never really gave Cricket a lot of thought when it came to phone service.  As I started researching, I realized that Cricket doesn’t lock you into a contract.  This was nice because as long as our phones were paid in advance each month we would have service.  They also offered an Unlimited Data package for $60 per month, but the more lines you added to the account the less you were charged each month to enjoy the package.  So, after I added up all 5 of our lines on unlimited data through Cricket our monthly phone bill would be around $200.  At Sprint with our unlimited data, 5 lines, and phone leases we had been paying around $367 a month.  So right there we would be saving nearly $200 per month just for changing carriers, and the coverage area is the same as At&t.

Before switching I wanted to give Sprint the opportunity to retain our business.  I got on the line with a customer service agent who analyzed out plan and told me there was a less expensive unlimited plan that we could be switched to.  Now, I’m not good at all of the lingo but he said we didn’t really use a lot of data so switching to this plan would save us about $100 per month.  The catch was that once the shared data reached a certain point the speed of the data would still be unlimited, but it would slow down.  I double checked with him that this matched the amount of data we used as a family and he assured me that it did.  So, I decided to switch our plan with Sprint instead of changing carriers.

As soon as our plan was changed with Sprint, we noticed a huge difference in the speed of our data.  At our house we were unable to load anything unless we were connected to our WiFi and when we went anywhere on the road, the phones were basically useless if we wanted to use our data.  To top it off, we all got a text message that we had reached our high speed data limit within a day so our speed would be slowed until the end of the billing period which wasn’t for about 24 days.

So here we are, the beginning of June and looking at taking our family vacation.  I was concerned about changing carriers then being out on the road with terrible service, so I decided to switch one of our lines to Cricket instead of changing all of them.  This would also provide me with the opportunity to compare the speed of the data and coverage across the states.  I am thankful I decided to change one of our lines before our trip, because our Sprint phones got horrible service and would load maps because our data had been slowed.  The Cricket phone ended up being our main source of directions.

Coverage and data plan was much better on the Cricket service, so we decided to make the switch.  The only problem is that we could have switched all 5 at once, but since we didn’t we can only do one line at a time.  Its a slow tedious process, but I think it will be worth it.  So far we have 2 lines switched with a 3rd that will be here tomorrow.  One other perk to switching and bringing our number with us, is that after 90 days they will credit us $50 per number transferred.  Bonus!

Stay tuned as we begin to explore Cricket service.  I will definitely be posting reviews to give a fair comparison.  I am mostly looking forward to saving that $167 per month, we could definitely use that in other parts of our budget.

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