As Mary and I have been continuing to slash our monthly expenses we turned to a place that didn’t seem likely; our cell phone bill.
Last June, after being with Sprint for 8 years, our contract was up, we shopped around, and came to the realization that while we were in our last contract, cell phone plans had gotten REALLY expensive. We felt trapped, but we needed phones (more like we needed wireless communication devices; as they are not used for talking very much), so we went with the cheapest option, which meant staying with Sprint. We got our new smartphones and signed our new contract that was a commitment of $165 per month for 24 months. This included unlimited everything (voice, data, text, and drag on our monthly cash flow).
Fast forward to January, I was reading a financial forum and came across a post stating that Sprint was changing the way that they applied corporate discounts which may constitute a change in their terms and services, which opens up the contracts for a limited window to be able to leave without having to pay the early termination fee. “Great!” I thought, “but I’m already using the cheapest option so I can’t really do anything about my monthly fee.”
I was bummed, but kept thinking about my pure hatred of my $165 a month fee, so I started exploring ALL of my options.
As I soon discovered, there are at least a half dozen other mobile phone providers, and most of the providers outside of the big 4 (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) don’t require you to sign a contract. As a bonus, all of the providers outside of the big 4, utilize the same mobile networks of the big 4 at substantially discounted rates with few tradeoffs. The two main tradeoffs most of these providers have is that they do not offer roaming (you either have service or you don’t, you will not roam on another providers towers), and you will not get 4g service.
Pretty soon I discovered the perfect alternative service provider for Mary and I; Boost Mobile. Boost Mobile is a non-contract cell phone provider that is a partner of Sprint, so our service would stay the same (except we wouldn’t have roaming or 4g service, two things I could live without in exchange for the large cost savings. Boost Mobile charges $55/month for unlimited text, data, and voice for android phones. Perfect! As I continued to read about how people used Boost Mobile I discovered that my current phone could be hacked to work with Boost, and a quick craigslist search found a local person who would do it for an inexpensive rate.
I e-mailed Sprint stating that their change in discount policy constituted a material change in the contract and I would like to leave without paying the early termination fee. They agreed and told me I would have 30 days to port my number away from Sprint without paying the fee.
I met with the guy from Craigslist at a Starbucks, and he walked me through the entire process. All in all we are now saving $55/month, but if we make on time payments for six consecutive months our bill will drop $5/month per line, so after 18 months we will be saving $95/month, the only tradeoffs being lack of 4g service (which we rarely used due to decreased battery life anyway) and roaming (which we rarely if ever went on). I’ll take a savings of $85/month for that.
For those of you wondering, there are other providers that do similar things, some are admittedly even better that Boost Mobile. If you are interested, I have laid out a list of some of the larger alternative cell phone carriers below, all of these most likely offer substantial savings over what you are paying now.
(If I have missed any please let me know and I will add them).
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