Big Revelation About Cellular Service

Last week, I gave you a big revelation about Microsoft Word.

This week, I might tell you something pretty interesting (or even disappointing) about cellular service. 

Verizon has just decided to raise the price of legacy plans by at least $12 per month.  Some years back they raised the price by about $20 for those hanging on to the pre-2012 $29 unlimited data plans.   They are also making notable changes right now to their Visible plans.  Visible is one of their brands.   I’m not trying to pick on Verizon here.    ATT and T-Mobile have done similar things over the years.    New features are rolling out and only customers on board with the new plans can get them.   At times, you may not be able to get discounted or “free” phones without newer plans.

The bottom line is they want greater ARPU (average revenue per user).   This is how they are evaluated by the financial world.  So here is the big reveal — when the “no service contract revolution” was ushered in by former T-Mobile CEO John Legere around 7+ years ago, all the carriers followed suit.

While you may have a phone financing deal, you do not have a contract FOR SERVICE.   That goes both ways. Yup!  You are not bound to stay with them for service.   But also — THEY ARE NOT BOUND TO YOU!!

If you are on a plan they no longer offer, they can boot you off of that plan, raise the price or restrict features.   They don’t owe you anything.   Many times, customers are allowed to stay on grandfathered plans but that is not always the case.    There is no right to stay on an outdated plan where everything stays the same always.   It’s a myth.

I will repeat advice previously given.   Buy your phones directly and paid in full if you truly can.  If you need to finance them — finance through Apple, Samsung, or Google.  You will get an unlocked phone.  This way you are not bound by a phone financing deal with the carrier — having a locked phone.  (One exception may be Verizon as they only lock phones for 60 days.  ATT and T-Mobile will lock your phone for the duration of the agreement or until paid off).    By having an unlocked phone – you are free to change carriers when things go wrong.

If you don’t regularly travel outside the country — consider a pre-paid or MVNO plan.  There are terrific deals out there — like an ATT Prepaid plan for $30 a month or Xfinity Mobile and others.  I know all about those “alternative” cell phone plans.  In fact, I wrote a guide for customers in 2010 about them.  Perhaps it’s time for an update.