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.
- 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.
- Can we beat Sprint's price? – Out of all the major carriers (I'll get to other carriers later on), Sprint is by far 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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!
- 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?