Maybe your smartphone likes to cut out during important business calls, or perhaps you have been tempted by commercials you have seen for other carriers and their seemingly amazing rates.
No matter the reason, your current mobile carrier isn’t doing it for you anymore, and you are seriously thinking about switching companies.
While your reasons to change are probably completely valid, it is important to ask a representative from both your current and future carrier some key questions before switching, as well as doing a bit of your own detective work.
1.How Much Time, If Any, Is Left On My Contract?
If you are hoping to change carriers  to save some money on your phone bill, doing so before your current contract is up will probably cost you so much in fees, any savings will be negligible. To avoid this costly scenario, ask your current carrier about how much time is left on your contract. It should also be listed on your monthly bill.
Look into any fees and how much you would have to pay to jump ship — and if this is the case, if your potential new company will cover those fees to get you to sign up as a customer. If you find that you have to pay hundreds to switch over, it is probably worth staying with your current company until your contract is up.
2.Can I Keep My Phone?
If you are currently signed up with a GSM carrier — which includes T-Mobile, AT&T, and a few others, your phone is probably going to be compatible with another of those companies.
For some other well-known companies, newer phones are usually okay to switch over but older models may not be.
If you love your current phone and don’t want to spend a ton of money to upgrade it, you might want to make sure your phone will play nicely with the new company you have in mind.
3.What’s Coverage Like?
Most cell phone companies love to brag about their wonderful coverage areas. However, the last thing you need is to go through the hassle of switching carriers, only to find that you live in a vortex of non-coverage.
When talking to other carriers about their coverage, ask for a map that will show you specifically where in the United States they cover.
For example, T-Mobile has a great coverage comparison map that not only shows its own impressive level of coverage, but also that of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.
The maps are quite telling in their data; for instance, if you live in Montana and were tempted by the introductory prices from Sprint, you will see by looking at the Sprint coverage map that coverage does not extend into Montana at all.
4.What Special Offers Are Available?
As Field Guide notes, researching all of the offers from the different carriers can take a bit of time, but it is worth it. Just be sure to ask about any conditions, added taxes and fees and other “small print issues” that the companies have added to be able to offer these ultra-low prices.
While the CSR you speak with will be eager to sign you up for a long-term deal with all the bells and whistles, ask about unadvertised specials or other savings you can qualify for, like getting paperless billing instead of statements in the mail and paying for a new phone outright instead of as part of a monthly plan.
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