How to cut your cell phone bill in half and keep the same services
American’s are cutting spending on clothes, entertainment and eating out so they can afford their cellphone (smartphone) bills. WSJ
Families with more than one smartphone are already paying much more than the average—sometimes more than $4,000 a year—easily eclipsing what they pay for cable TV and home Internet. WSJ
That comes out to over $300.00 per month on cell phone bills alone. Telecommunication companies are ramping up their offering with higher data plans to squeeze as much money out of you as possible. All while keeping you in contracts that auto renew and are costly to exit.
But, there is hope.
Here are 3 ways to beat back the tide of the ever-increasing cell phone bill and put your cell phone bill on a diet while keeping similar services.
#1) Use a No contract Cell phone Provider
There are many no contract cell phone providers available. Do your research and see which ones work for you. Here are two offers from StraightTalk and T-mobile with a comparison to an AT&T iPhone subscription plan.
From nerd vittles
To put it down where the goats can get it, let’s review the current AT&T subscription plan. With an iPhone on a 2-year plan, $70 a month buys you 450 anytime minutes and 2GB of data per month. Actually the 2GB data plan is no longer available so it’s $75 a month with 3GB. If you want text messaging and anticipate sending or receiving more than a couple text messages a day, then that’s another $20 a month. After taxes and fees, it comes in just under $100. If you actually talk a lot on your phone, then add $30 more for unlimited calling in the U.S. only. That brings you to $135 a month after taxes and fees.
Would you believe you can get the exact same service on the exact same AT&T network for $45 a month by switching to Straight Talk? Did we mention there’s no long-term contract? Does your phone have to be unlocked from AT&T? No. Does your iPhone have to be rooted? No, unless you want to receive multimedia messages. But that’s a 2-minute drill thanks to Absinthe. Rooting an iPhone also gets you FaceTime using 3G. If you like the assurance of a long-term plan, you can prepay for a year’s service for $495. Want to add unlimited international calling to many (not all) countries, just pay another $15 a month (includes Mexico wireless). To get started, purchase a StraightTalk SIM and AirTime Bundle.
The T-Mobile Stealth Plan. We told you we had two specials to tell you about, and this next deal is equally amazing especially for kids and those that don’t talk on the phone very much. Through Wal*Mart, T-Mobile offers a pay-as-you-go plan with 100 voice minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data (5GB at 4G speed and 2G speed thereafter) for $30 a month. Extra voice minutes are 10¢. It’s not only an amazing deal, but the fine print doesn’t seem to preclude tethering. You can use it with any T-Mobile phone including all of Google’s Android phones. For tethering support, any rootable Android phone works as well as the unmodified $349 Galaxy Nexus purchased directly from Google. The Galaxy Nexus gives you 4G performance as well. If you don’t care about tethering but want 4G performance, then take a look at the $189 Samsung T679 available at WalMart. Beware: Most AT&T GSM phones will also work, but you’ll only get 2G data performance because of the different radio frequencies used by AT&T and T-Mobile for 3G and 4G service.
If you have T-Mobile coverage in your area or if you spend a lot of time on the interstates and want network coverage for your laptops while you’re on the move, this is the plan for you. We call it the Stealth Plan because neither WalMart nor T-Mobile says much about it. It’s only available when you first sign up for service with your newly purchased T-Mobile SIM. Despite lots of chatter to the contrary, this plan is available (but unadvertised) by purchasing a 99¢ SIM directly from T-Mobile. Trust us. You’re only risking a buck. But, beware, if you ever switch to a different plan (or if you sign up for the wrong $30 plan originally… T-Mobile and WalMart both push a lousy plan that includes 1500 talk minutes with 30MB of data for the same $30), you can never go back to the good plan without purchasing another T-Mobile SIM. To activate your T-Mobile SIM once you have your T-Mobile phone in hand, go here. Remember. Make your initial selection carefully. To buy $30 refills, here’s the link. Enjoy!
#2) Buy a no contract Phone
(My phone. A fantastic phone. I love it!)
Unlocked and contract free. This is a premium phone comparable to the latest iphone or the latest samsung galaxy brands. This phone tries to emulate the iphone with it’s square icons and the way it operates. iphone users will feel comfortable transitioning to the blu life pure.
- 4G HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps 850/1900,
- 5.0″ IPS Display: FHD (1080 x 1920) with 1.5 GHz Quad Core Processor
- Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean) 13MP Camera with LED Flash with HD recording (1080p), 5MP Front Camera for Video Calling and instant self portraits.
- 32GB ROM, 2GB RAM Keep it simple with Gesture Controls
- 4G HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps 850/1900: Nationwide AT&T: Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, Straight Talk, Net10, H20 Wireless, 420 Wireless, Black Wireless, Consumer Cellular, Pure TalkUSA, Red Pocket, Telcel America. T-Mobile: MetroPCS, Lyca, Speedtalk, Go Smart, Simple Mobile, Net10, Straight Talk, Solavei, Ultra Mobile, Telcel América, Walmart Family Mobile supported in most areas; check with your service provider.
- GSM Quadband 850/900/1800/1900, 4G HSPA+ 850/1900, Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean)
- 5.0″ IPS Display: HD (1280 x 720) with 1.5 GHz Quad Core Processor
- 12MP Camera with LED Flash with HD recording (1080p), 5MP Front Camera for Video Calling and instant self portraits.
- 6.9 mm Slim Aluminum Body Design BLU Next Lens Technology: “One Glass Solution”
New Unlocked phones under $200.00 http://www.expansys-usa.com/mobile-phones/?filter=5|0|0-200#listing
Pre-owned/refurbished phones under $200.00 http://www.cowboom.com/Mobile-Cellular/Cell-Phones-Smartphones/?page=2&order=price_low&store=fixed&query=&view=grid&keywords=
3) Ditch your Contract
Once you have your new service picked out, your phone picked out, it’s time to cancel your contract.
Sometimes, easier said than done.
If you are close to your cancel date, start planning now and find out exactly how to cancel. How many days should you call in to cancel to make sure it goes through. Find out exactly what you need to do to cancel, then do it.
If you are within three months of your cell phone contract being up, some providers (like T-mobile) will suspend your account without cancelling it. It costs $10.00 per month and I believe it is only offered when you ask to cancel. This can be used for up to 90 days before you have to restart service or cancel completely. Other carriers may have something similar.
If you have more than 90 days left on your contract, you can cancel and have the cancellation fees waived. This can be difficult. However, if you are able to have the customer server representative sympathize with you, it may work. It has worked for me. The key was to nicely let them understand it is their fault you are cancelling. This took a few tries, but it work.
Get the contract you signed, or the current contract. See if any services have changed or if any service that you previously received for free, is now being billed. For example, say you received unlimited 4G speed internet when you first signed your contract. However, now your cell phone company throttles you down or cuts you off completely after using a certain amount of data and want to charge you more for something you had previously. Your cell phone company has broken the contract and therefore the contract becomes null. Once the contract is broken, you cannot be contractually obligated to pay a cancellation fee for a voided contract.
This is hard to prove and your cell phone company, although they know they are wrong will fight you when cancelling and may still charge you a cancellation fee.
You may have to cancel and take the cell phone company to small claims court to have your last bill with the cancellation fee included rendered null. You may win or you may lose in small claims court. However, if you can record the cell phone company saying they changed your services, you have a case. Don’t be afraid of small claims court.Victories for consumers have occurred in small claims court.
Here are 3 ways to cut your cell phone bill and save money. Save hundreds to thousands of dollars every year without reducing your services.
Have you used any of the phones or companies above? Sound off in the comments.