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How to switch to a cheaper cellphone carrier

How to switch to a cheaper cellphone carrier

Cellphone providers are constantly changing their offerings. If you've been on the same plan for a while, you may be surprised to find out that the carriers you once rejected in favor of your current plan are offering a new selection of options worth taking a gander at.

For most cellphone plan holders, counting minutes and text messages has evolved into managing data usage. Getting a free phone with a two-year contract has suddenly transformed into a monthly device payment.

Those who have been on the same plan for ages may be missing out on some great savings and benefits.

Whether you're fed up with your high monthly bill or tired of watching your data usage to avoid additional fees, there are a wide variety of plans to choose from. When the time comes to make the change, there are a few key steps you will want to follow.

Making the switch to a cheaper cellphone carrier

Follow these simple steps to make an informed decision:

Determine your needs

Before you can determine which cellphone service plan is right for you, you'll need to evaluate your current usage. Review your statements from the last three to six months and make note of how much data and how many minutes you use in a typical month. This will help you to select a plan that accommodates your needs so you don't need to worry about overage fees.

cellphone plan

Research plans

Armed with the knowledge of your unique usage needs, research plans from various providers. If you use your cellphone minimally, a prepaid plan may be the cheapest option, whereas those with high levels of use may benefit from an all-inclusive traditional plan that offers protection from overages with unlimited services. It's unlikely that your existing plan is the best one out there. Do your homework and find the best deal that suits your needs.

Consider your device

Before you dive in and sign up for that new perfect plan, take a moment to consider your device. If you plan to keep your current device, you'll need to make sure that it is compatible with your new carrier. Additionally, if your phone is locked, you will need to unlock it before transferring to your new service. Contact your current service provider to find out how to unlock your device.

Of course, if your phone is not compatible, or you're in need of a new device anyway, you can simply start fresh with a new phone to go along with your new plan. Many providers offer deals on new phones for new customers and it is easier than ever to buy gently used, unlocked phones online as well.

Purchase and wait

Plan selected? Check. Phone considered? Check. Now it's time to take the leap. Go ahead and purchase your new plan, but don't get rid of the old one just yet! To avoid a lapse in service, you'll need to wait for your new SIM card or device to arrive in the mail. If possible, try to purchase your new plan a week or so before your next billing cycle to avoid paying for two services in the same month.

cellphone plan

Make the switch

Your new SIM card should come with installation instructions or, for a new device, activation instructions. Follow along to set everything up with your new provider. If you're keeping your current phone number, you'll need to check out the provider's policy regarding number transfers either online (typically in their "How To" or FAQ section) or by calling or chatting with a customer support representative.

Out with the old

Once your new service is up and running, it's time to cancel the old one. It's likely this will require a phone call. But, when it's done, so are you! You will have successfully switched over and can begin reaping the financial benefits of your efforts.

Educate yourself

To ensure that you get the most out of your new plan, take some time to stop by the "How to" and FAQ pages on your new carrier's website. There may be settings or features that need adjustment for your particular device or type of use. Staying in the know on details such as these can not only provide a better experience, but can potentially aid in the reduction of battery use, data use, or unnecessary charges.

Stay informed

The fun isn't over yet! As the consumer, it's up to you to stay informed. Review your plan at least once a year to ensure that you are still maximizing your return on investment. Perhaps your carrier will offer a new deal 12 months from now that better suits your needs, or it may be time for another switch. Your cellphone provider won't do the work for you. Stay informed and savvy!

How to find hidden charges on your cellphone bill

Cellphone bills are pretty annoying, right? Each month, you're throwing away money on a plan that could be cheaper. Did you know the average American spends $1,000 a year on cellphone service, and that includes charges for minutes and data they never use. If you're accustomed to a pricey phone bill, you might try these cost-cutting measures.

Tap or click to learn more about how you can reduce your monthly cellphone bill

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