7 Reasons I’m Nervous About Our Cell Phone Plan

I’m starting to get a little stressed out about our cell phone situation.

We are on a family plan with Sprint.  Both my wife and I have been on Sprint for years, probably both well over 10 years.  When we got married, she moved over to my plan.  Later on, we actually picked up my mother-in-law and sister-in-law as having multiple lines on one plan was the most cost effective solution.

I’m the last person whose two-year contract is coming to a close, and I’m starting to question whether to stay with Sprint or not.

A lot has changed in just the two years since we all last agreed to move forward, so here are some considerations.

  1. Are two year contracts dead? – It seems now that the trend is that carriers don’t want to lock you into a two-year deal by offering you a reduced rate on the purchase of your phone.  Now, it seems that they want to get you to either buy your phone up front or lease your phone.
  2. Can we beat Sprint’s price? – Out of all the major carriers (I’ll get to other carriers later on), Sprint is by farmb-201403phone the cheapest, and it seems that since we’ve been customers for so long, we get better pricing.  I’ve seen where I can get a ‘lease’ on a new Samsung S6 for as little as $5 per month.  Their ‘regular’ price, which is also what I’ve seen from the other carriers, seems to be at least $20 or more per month.  That’s pretty big.
  3. How does our Unlimited plan work moving forward? – We’re right now on an Unlimited Plan.  They don’t offer that anymore, but my understanding is that you can usually stay with your current plan as long as you want.  I just don’t know how this ties into the carriers not wanting to provide the lower-up-front rate pricing.
  4. Even if we kept everything the same, our price will go up – When I signed up a little over two years ago, my employer had a contract with Sprint, and we get about 19% off the base package price.  Last I checked, Sprint is no longer working with our employer, so when we renew, we’ll lose that discount (Sprint now verifies your eligibility with every new line or phone).
  5. Sprint has terrible coverage – Sprint doesn’t have great coverage at our home, or our in-laws home.  It seems pretty silly to put up with bad service, but that’s what we have.  Sprint did provide us with a free signal booster at our house.  This helps a lot.  Our in-laws don’t get great service but still have a land line, so it’s no big deal.  Still, I hate paying for bad service!
  6. Could pay-as-you-go service work for us?  – I’ve seen a lot of great recommendations about using a pay-as-you-go carrier, and how that can save lots of money.  These work great, but they all rely on the service of a major carrier.  I’ve done some research, and the best plans that would potentially work for our usage all rely on…you guessed it…the Sprint network.  This would be terrible for us.  We would not be able to use our signal enhancer as Sprint only supports them for Sprint customers.  Ugh!
  7. Does one plan make sense for two, possibly three, different households? – Right now, things work out OK but things and needs can change.   I’m nervous about locking people in to something that may work today but not tomorrow.  For example, what if my in-laws wanted to cut the cord on their land line, then they may not want to go with Sprint?  What if my sister-in-laws situation changed and being on Sprint didn’t make sense for her? I want to make sure that any plan we get into would allow for flexibility as situations change.

The bottom line is that things are going to change at some point.  Right now, things work pretty good for us.  But with all of the changes today and potentially tomorrow, who knows?  There is definitely some work to be done to make sure we head down the right path.

Readers, have you changed plans in the last few months?  What about pay-as-you-go carriers that don’t rely on Sprint?  Any recommendations?

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18 thoughts on “7 Reasons I’m Nervous About Our Cell Phone Plan

    • As mentioned in my post, the best options for alternative service seem to rely on the Sprint network. Both Republic and Ting lease bandwidth on Sprint, so we could actually take a step back in terms of service. Half mile away, no problem, but Sprint does not provide overlapping coverage between towers, so there are a lot of ‘iffy’ zones.

  1. I have had the Sprint SERO unlimited plan for the last ten years and will probably keep it as long as i can. The new samsung S6 has wifi calling and activating that feature on the plan has improved calling service. I am a high data user about 10 GB a month and no other carrier would probably service me for the $50 a month i pay now. My husband gets my old phones handed dow and rhe S4 works for him with ringplus.net. He just checks weatherbug occasionally so data is not an issue. He pays $10 a month. When your contract runs out w sprint you can do nothing, not renew and just have a month to month plan while you check out options.

  2. I was in a similar situation as you…had a family plan with AT&T and being on the family plan did save money. When my contract was up, it did seem like cell phone carriers were moving away from the 2 year contracts with subsidized phone plans. I was reading a blog post on “Saving the Crumbs” about switching to Cricket Wireless. At first I was a bit skeptical about Cricket as well as other prepaid options, but I learned that AT&T bought Cricket and it now uses AT&T’s network. So essentially, I get AT&T service but pay less. Family plans on Cricket wireless look like amazing deals. Basically $100 for 5 people! I’m planning on switching my family members on to that plan when their contracts with AT&T are up.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..A Gift Better Than Money: Financial LiteracyMy Profile

    • I may definitely have to check that one out. I had AT&T service for a brief time when a former employer provided us with a phone, and the service was excellent. Thanks!

  3. I challenge anyone to understand this “telephonic calculus”…DD2 just went on her own with her own cell plan and it STILL isn’t right. She has made countless calls to Verizon and it appears to be “controlled chaos”. And no one can explain discrepencies on her new account even though it is 2 days old.. It’s just crazy and it looks like she will be on the hook for over $70 a month WITH a discount from her employer. The CRAZY thing is the best value, IMHO, is the “pay as you go” program from Verizon…. $35 a month with unlimited talk and text with automatic payment set up. But nothing beats my “grandfathered plan” from Virgin where I need only add $20 every 3 months to my account to keep service. I’m told I can keep this plan as long as there is no interruption of service…which is owned and on the Sprint network…

  4. We moved to AT&T’s no contract plan quite awhile ago. Right now we paying a pretty big bill because are making monthly payments on several phones (the “gotcha” as opposed to having a 2 year contract. You get a deep discount on the phone when on contract, but you pay a higher price. You pay less with no-contract but have to pay full price for your phone)…but once those are paid off our bill will drop like a rock. We also have my wife’s mom and her husband on our plan, which helps offset the price of the data plan too. We use our phones too much to go with a “pay as you go” carrier…..so for us the right option is to go no-contract with a big carrier. We can decide when, and how much we want to pay for a phone.
    Brock @Cleverdude recently posted..This Trick WILL Help You Afford Things Bigger Than Your BudgetMy Profile

    • That may be our future strategy from what I’m gathering. Out of the four of us, there are two of us (me included) that don’t mind getting the previous generation phones, so I’d be fine with a Samsung S5 or a Nexus 5P or 6, but my wife and sister-in-law like having the ‘latest and greatest’ (though in fairness, they are both fine with keeping them for the full two years plus some with the argument that they won’t be too far behind in terms of technology)

    • Don’t write off pay as you go carriers…I just switched to Cricket wireless which uses AT&T’s network. For the basic plan at $35, I have unlimited talk and text and 2.5 gigs of data. There are plans with more data if you want. Actually, I should clarify that it’s 2.5 gb of 4G data and after that you get it at a reduced speed. There is also a discount for family plans..5 people at $100. That’s hard to beat.
      Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted..A Gift Better Than Money: Financial LiteracyMy Profile

  5. Sometimes it’s good to be a dinosaur… My concession to the cell phone revolution is a flip phone with a year’s worth of “minutes,” few of which I ever use.

    Almost got killed this afternoon by a lady yakking on her phone while driving. She was weaving all over the road like a drunk. Many neat bells and whistles, absolutely….but are they really an improvement in our lives?
    Funny about Money recently posted..Publishing: Proceeding Apace. Decluttering: Ditto.My Profile

    • There can definitely be benefits to using a smartphone, but that’s for each person to decide, and there should also be a certain level of responsibility in having one that, unfortunately, many do not possess, which then makes all users look bad.

  6. I was on a “dumb” phone for the longest time. The only reason I have a smartphone now is because I was given one for work, else I would have kept my dumb phone. I’v heard that Republic Wireless has pretty good cellphone deals. Might be worth it to take a look.
    Tawcan recently posted..Weekend Reading – Spooky editionMy Profile

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