How To Buy A Cell Phone With No Contract
All the major cell phone service providers that still offer two-year contracts have been slowly phasing them out. After the two-year contracts have been completely phased out the consumer will have two different options when purchasing a new cell phone.
At the moment all the major cell phone service providers allow their customers to purchase new cell phones via monthly installments or by paying the full amount in one lump sum. So what does this mean for the consumer?
No More Free Phones In Exchange For Signing A Contract
Gone are the days when the major service providers would offer free phones to entice the consumers into signing up for a two-year contract. The service providers would advertise their packages and they would say that the phone is free.
However, we all knew that those phones were not free because it would not have been in the best interest of the service providers to give free phones to their customers. The service providers would add a hidden fee into the monthly bills of their customers to ensure that they got paid for the so-called free phones.
Times have changed and some of the service providers have become more transparent. As a result of this, they have removed the hidden fee that they were charging for the phone and they are now charging a separate monthly fee for the price of the phone.
Save Money On Your Monthly Bill By Getting A Cheaper Phone
The price of the monthly access fee and the phone are now separate. As a result of this, if you’re on a tight budget and you’re trying to save some money you can do so by choosing a cheaper phone. So if you choose an older model of a Samsung Galaxy phone or an iPhone, the monthly price you pay for the phone will be cheaper than that of the latest phone.
Save Money By Keeping Your Phone Longer
If you keep your cell phone after it’s fully paid off which will be two years. The monthly charge for the cell phone will be removed from your bill. If you have a premium smartphone you will save roughly $30 per month.
This is great because prior to this, the service providers did not lower the bill if you had a two-year contract. Even if you had fully paid for the phone, even if you didn’t upgrade your cell phone. The price would have remained the same.
Now let’s take a look at the services plans that are offered by the major service providers.
T-Mobile Was The First Major Service Provider To Get Rid Of Their Two-Year Contracts
In 2013 T-Mobile terminated their two-year contracts, they were the trendsetters who forever changed the cell phone service provider industry. The access fee that T-Mobile charges will vary based on the number of lines that the customer wants.
If the customer has multiple lines the data will be shared from a pool of 50GB. This is more data than most people will use on a monthly basis. However, customers who need more than 50GB of data per month can purchase additional data.
T-Mobile ONE Plan
This is a popular plan in which T-Mobile offers 4 lines for $40/each with AutoPay. With this plan, you will have unlimited, talk, text, and data. For people who enjoy watching movies, Netflix is included in this package at no extra charge.
With T-Mobile, the customer has the ability to buy their phone or they can pay for it over a period of 24 months, via monthly installments.
Something Important To Remember
No contract means that there are no termination fees. However, if you’re paying for a phone via monthly installments over a period of 24 months. But you decide that you would like to cancel the service before the 24 months is up the remaining balance on the phone will be due upon your cancellation of the service.
You Can Trade In Your Old Phone
When you’re purchasing a new T-Mobile phone you have the ability to trade in your old phone. You will have to give them the make, model, and condition of your phone and they will give you a quote for the trade in value of your phone.
You can get a trade-in estimate. If you think it’s a fair trade you can get the T-Mobile app or visit My.t-mobile.com and they will send a prepaid shipping label for you to send them your old phone along with the receipt from your new phone.
After doing this, within the next 3 billing cycles, you will receive a credit to your account for the full amount of the trade-in value.
Verizon Is In The Process Of Phasing Out Their Two-Year Contracts
Verizon has drastically changed up their plans, they offer data buckets that can be shared by up to 10 devices. The prices vary depending on how many lines you want their plan starts at $75 per month for 1 line. For four lines or more, the price is $40 per line.
Each phone on the line has an access fee which will cost an additional $30 per month. The customer has the ability to choose whether they would like to pay for their phone via monthly installments over a period of 24 months or buy it up front.
With Verizon, the customers who still have their two-year contracts can keep it if they prefer to do so and they will continue to get free or subsidized cell phones. But if they decide to switch from their contract plan to the monthly device payments, they will not be allowed to switch back to their contract plan.
Verizon Unlimited Isn’t Actually Unlimited
When you visit Verizon’s website and you read about these plans you will see that they are being advertised as unlimited plans. They will tell you that the data is unlimited, however, there is a data cap but they don’t tell you about it.
If you’re on any of these plans and you exceed 22GB of data within any given month during times of congestion Verizon will throttle your connection speed.
AT&T’s Unlimited Plan Is Similar To Verizon’s Plan
The AT&T unlimited plan starts at $40 per month for 4 lines after consuming 22GB of data AT&T will throttle your connection speed. There is a $25 monthly access fee for each phone on the plan.
The phone can be paid for upfront or through monthly installment plans over 24 months or 30 months if you would like to pay lower installment plans.
With this plan, AT&T allows the customer to upgrade to a new phone, there are two different options. One plan allows the customer to upgrade to a new phone every 12 months by trading in the phone that they currently have. The other plan allows the customer to upgrade every 24 months.
The customer must trade in their old phone to get a new phone when getting an upgrade. Or they can continue to pay installments on the old phone until they are finished paying for it. If a customer wants to cancel their service they must pay the remainder of their monthly installments in one lump sum before they can cancel.
Sprint No Longer Offers Two-Year Contracts
Sprint charges an access fee of $30 per month per line. With Sprint the customer can sign up for Sprint’s leasing program which will last about 24 months. At the end of the 24 months, the amount paid will be less than the full price of the phone.
At this time, the customer can buy the phone by paying off the balance that’s owed in one lump sum or upgrade to a new phone.
Sprint Unlimited Freedom
The Sprint plans start at $60 for 1 line and $100 for 2 lines. Just like the other service providers, even though they advertise the program as being unlimited it’s not unlimited. With these plans, the customer will get 10GB of data per line.
These plans include unlimited talk, text, and data. However, if the customer exceeds 23GB of data within any given month their data speed will be throttled during times of congestion.
There is an activation fee of $30, however, if the customer purchases the service online the activation fee will be waived and they will have the ability to pick up the phone the same day at the nearest store.
If you’re due for an upgrade but you’re not sure what type of phone you would like to buy next. Please feel free to read some of my cell phone reviews to learn more about the different features and functionalities of the different phones that are currently on the market.