Should I pay full price for a cell phone?
Are you about to upgrade from a nasty, old 2G or 3G cell phone? Maybe you have an AT&T GoPhone that you’ve been using for years. Even if you have a fairly new phone — let’s say you have an iPhone 6 — I’m going to say the same thing to you.
Don’t go looking for a deal at your local cell phone store. Follow our simple guide to getting a more affordable cell phone plan.
You’re probably someone who doesn’t want to pay a lot for your phone. And the truth is the mobile phone industry has a bit of a ruse going. It’s one that rakes in huge profits for them. And it leaves the consumer stuck with paying hundreds of dollars more than they actually should.
There’s two ways that mobile carriers do this. Payment plans for devices are your worst enemy if you’re looking to keep your bill low. Many cell phone carriers go on and on about how much data you need. Don’t believe that noise. It’s easy to get a smartphone these days and pay a fraction of what a typical plan costs. And we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.
Buying a phone outright vs contract with Verizon, AT&T
Many phone plans being offered by large telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon offer customers installment plans to slowly pay off their device over time. You should never, ever do this if you’re serious about saving money. Why? If you keep a smartphone even for even two or three years, you still keep paying some kind of installment fee. You keep paying it even after the phone is paid off.
That’s ridiculous, and it’s a sneaky way that mobile phone companies can easily make you hundreds of dollars more a year without you even knowing it. You’re much better off with your own unlocked cell phone. That’s true whether you buy it from a retailer like Amazon or through your new carrier where you can buy it at full price. Aside from saving money on the phone itself, you will wind up with a more affordable cell phone plan.
You can’t really depend on a salesperson to help you make an informed choice. Why? Because there’s money on the table. It’s your money and they are trained to take as much of it as they can.
Your level of enjoyment or satisfaction with your phone comes more from the hardware you own than how much data your plan allows. Let me repeat, you don’t need that much data. That’s especially true if you already have Internet at home. And I’m assuming that you do. Your enjoyment comes from being at ease about the choice you made as a customer without feeling like you had to really give up the basics. I don’t have the cheapest plan out there, but I’m definitely paying less than you are if you are still using a smartphone with a major telecom company.
Is buying a phone outright cheaper?
I’m a Cricket Wireless customer. I paid upfront the cost of a Samsung Galaxy S5 when I decided to dump AT&T because I was paying through the nose because of absurd overages. I was paying close to $100 per month as an AT&T customer. Being with Cricket, I didn’t dump AT&T entirely because they own Cricket. So I’m still using their network, but now my plan is $45 per month for unlimited voice and text. All I wanted was an affordable cell phone plan. Now, I get 5G of data per month. That’s plenty for me.
The phone cost me about $580 at the time, but that was almost a few years ago. I’m saving hundreds of dollars by paying for my phone up front the same way I pay for a laptop or computer in its entirety up front. I don’t even come close to using 5G of data because I largely rely on Wi-Fi. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. But these days you can rely on Wi-Fi for calling and Internet browsing and save hundreds of dollars a year.
If I were getting a phone today, I’d seriously consider getting a Republic Wireless account. Here’s why: Republic Wireless phones use Wi-Fi as the primary way to make calls and developed a new technology called “bonded calling” to use cellular data to improve the quality of calls at no extra charge. Republic uses T-Mobil as one of their backup cellular carriers. Plans run between $5 and $40 per month.
Whether you’re looking for a basic phone, or a smartphone, they have a variety of options to choose from. Republic Wireless now works with the latest Google Nexus phones and even the Samsung Galaxy S7. You’re not locked into their service. If you don’t like it, you and your phone can go elsewhere, no problem.
I would also consider Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones. These phones come at a reduced price of $50 or more. In exchange, the phones have advertisements on their lock screen and come pre-installed with Amazon apps. Amazon is now using the Moto G (4th generation) as their Prime Exclusive Phone. The prices start at $99, and you can click here for more details. Good luck on your hunt for a better phone. And leave a comment below if you’ve found a good deal that you can share with other readers.