Why I’m Changing Wireless Providers (Again)
Four years ago, I wrote a post sharing how I was saving money thanks to moving to T-Mobile (from AT&T) at the time. Well, now my wife and I have once again changed wireless providers. This time, we’ve landed at Verizon.
But why? Well, let me explain how this came to be, how we’ll be saving, and what I’ll miss about being a T-Mobile customer.
Why We’ve Switched from T-Mobile to Verizon
At the risk of turning this fun post about changing cell phone service providers into a downer, there is a specific reason why all of this came about. As I shared before, my wife’s father passed away back in March. Since he was the owner of the Verizon account that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were on, they asked whether my wife and I would want to start a new family plan together. Since they already liked Verizon and didn’t really want to come to T-Mobile, we decided to start a fresh account with Verizon that the four of us could share — and, in turn, save money with.
Before I get into the details, I wanted to mention just how funny the ebbs and flows of wireless trends over the past several years have been. I remember when people were holding onto their unlimited plans like they were gold as carriers dropped those types of plans from their roster. Then, various streaming services started getting bundled into carrier plans. Now, we’re back to unlimited being ubiquitous and, in the case of Verizon, you can choose to add streaming services and other memberships to your plan at a discount or stick with straight phone service. Crazy how things change, ain’t it?
Anyway, since we were able to select plans that included all of the unlimited data, hotspot, and international travel aspects we wanted, we had no problem moving to a new plan. Plus, with four lines compared to two, the discounts we’d be getting made it more than worth it. Even better, though, since we were bringing our own devices, my wife and I could save an additional $15 per month for the next three years. This was in addition to the $10 per line AutoPay discount available.
In total, for our two lines, my wife and I will now be paying around $70 a month (after all discounts) whereas we were paying $140 previously. Yes, that’s half the price for comparable plans. Of course, to be fair to T-Mobile, we probably would have seen similar results if we expanded to four lines there — but, as I mentioned, that wasn’t an option for our situation.
While the $70 a month savings will be well worth it now that we’ve ironed out all of the issues, getting started with Verizon wasn’t as simple as we might have hoped. First, before we finished the process of signing up with Verizon, we wanted to make sure the pricing was right. So, we punched up an order, entered my wife’s info, and assumed we could return later. In fact, we’d receive emails from Verizon reminding us to visit our cart. Yet, when it was time to do so, there was no cart to return to. Instead, we had to start from scratch. This wasn’t the lengthiest process… but it wasn’t that short either.
With that annoyance out of the way, the next challenge was partially our fault. Since we have our credit reports frozen, Verizon was unable to do a soft pull of my wife’s Experian. Normally when this happens, we can just schedule a thaw and try again. However, in Verizon’s case, we actually needed to call them to proceed. Again, not a huge deal, but another minor inconvenience.
As for the biggest issue, for whatever reason, my phone number did not want to port. My wife’s was fully moved to Verizon within a few hours where as mine was in limbo for a week. This meant that, while I could use data including iMessage, my texts went into an abyss. Yes, I could have called about this earlier — but we had some other questions, so we held off. Then, when we did call, they were able to complete the port process in a couple of minutes.
Finally, this is where I need to shift my grievances to T-Mobile. As soon as my number was ported, my account was deleted. The problem with this seems obvious to me: how do I pay my last bill? When I inquired about this, it turns out the problem was even worse. Since there was a “third line” free promo going on when we joined, we’ve had an extra line we didn’t use. And with my main account deleted, that third line suddenly became the primary and would have kept incurring charges.
Luckily, being proactive for once in my life, I called about this and was able to cancel the third line. Upon doing so, the customer service rep said we didn’t owe any balance (which I guess is why they’re normally fine with just deleting your account after porting to another provider). I can only imagine how this would have gone if I didn’t take steps right away. Needless to say, I’m thankful that all of this is settled now — and that my wife and I can save $70 a month for at least the next three years.
What I’ll Miss About T-Mobile
Despite the outgoing hiccup, there are several things I’ll miss about being a T-Mobile customer. Here are three examples:
Netflix on Us
Back before there were a million streaming services, there was Netflix. I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for years — and one of the perks that came with T-Mobile was that this monthly cost was included in my phone service plan. In fact, this benefit became even more valuable recently when Netflix did away with the particular plan we had.
Alas, canceling T-Mobile meant that billing for Netflix returned to us this week. When this happened, we were charged $15.49 for the closest plan equivalent to what we had. However, since Netflix is now one of our lesser used services, we downgraded this to the $6.99 plan right after. Unfortunately, this plan does include ads, which will be extremely strange after so many years of the ad-free service — but I think this will ultimately be the right plan for us given the price difference.
Another perk of being a T-Mobile customer is their T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion. These can be hit or miss, but regularly feature discounts on goods and services, free items that can be picked up from T-Mobile locations, gift cards, and more. In terms of our most-used offers, there have been a few Little Caesars ones that made the budget pizza chain even more affordable. We’ve also picked up scarfs, head lamps, and other novelties in the past. And while getting them could be a pain in the butt, we did also manage to score gift cards for the likes of Panera and Target.
As fun as T-Mobile Tuesdays is, the savings are hardly enough to justify spending more for our plan. So, au revoir, les mardis de T-Mobile.
WiFi on Delta
Lastly, while it looks as though my Verizon plan will include many of the same travel coverage benefits as T-Mobile, there is one questionable area: on-plane WiFi. See, for years, T-Mobile has had a deal with Delta that provided customers complimentary WiFi for either an hour or the full duration of the flight (depending on what plan you had). I never actually tried to parlay this into free WiFi on my laptop, but having it on my phone was pretty nice.
On the bright side, this particular perk may actually be moot. That’s because Delta’s free WiFi for all has been rolling out. And while I don’t know the exact status of it because I haven’t flown with them since it began, I’m sure I’ll survive until it is fully available. Nevertheless, I did want to give T-Mobile props for leading the way all along.
Now that we’ve seemingly settled all of the challenges we had moving to Verizon, I’m excited about our money-saving prospects. Furthermore, I’ll be able to put the international data benefits to the test this week as we head overseas. As for T-Mobile, the good news is that I’ll still be able to use my T-Mobile Money account — and, in turn, T-Mobile Dining Rewards.
All in all, I’m happy with this latest move now but will report back on whether or not it’s ultimately worth it in the long run.