How to Switch Cellular Carriers
time to upgrade your wireless phone and you're considering your
options. Or, maybe you don't like how you've been treated by your old
cellular carrier. Here are the steps to make the switch to another
network, including how to 'wake up' your old wireless carrier. You can
make your changes without leaving home even while keeping your old
wireless (or wireline) number.
also consider Switch to Prepaid.
Determine Who Offers Service in
Cellular reports for your
state. Make sure you don't overlook
any local carriers. If you visit an online
cellular retailer, most of
them will ask you to enter a Zip
Code to let you know if you have coverage in your neighborhood. Choose
at least 3 carriers, and that can
include your current one. Don't forget to look at Prepaid
Carriers, most of
offer nationwide service.
2. Make Sure the
Coverage Is Adequate Where You Need It:
That means at
home, where you work and where you travel. Most carriers
offer detailed maps
at their web site. Check with neighbors and co-workers to at least
eliminate carriers that don't work in those locations. If that narrows
your list to less than 3, you might want to look at additional
carriers. Look for guidance with Recommendations, Ratings and Pros & Cons.
Find the Best Deals:
list to the Reviews
for cellular carriers for your state. Follow the links to
your chosen carriers and their online deals. Determine which plans fit
your current usage and the phone from each company that suits your
needs. Make a note of plans and features you'd like. Feel free to call
carriers with questions about their offers. Then, consider your phone
options. Shop individual carriers, the manufacturers and cellular
bargan sites. Now, you're ready to switch, but if you
don't hate your current provider, don't assume
switching is the best option. Don't forget to get an update from our Employee Discount Page
to see if your employer has a deal with any cellular
4. Before Switching,
Call Your Current Carrier:
Ask what they
can do for you...you might be surprised. Tell them what
you'd like in a phone and plan, and ask for their best deal before
you continue with them. If they can't satisfy you, or
if you still want to shop around, it's time to check your list. If you
like your carrier's coverage but can't stand dealing with them,
consider switching to a different company that uses the same
network. Also consider a switch
to Prepaid, possibly staying with the same carrier.
Previously you needed to actually begin the cancellation process to get
a carrier's last, best 'retention' offer. Now, they realize the
cancellation process will be initiated by your newly chosen carrier
during the number
porting process. Therefore, you can tell your old carrier you
will be leaving and that you will begin the porting process with
another carrier. This may produce the desired 'retention' offer.
Sometimes you need to be transferred to the "cancellation department"
where they may make such offers.
5. Start with the Top
Choice on Your List:
You'll need to
choose a new phone...but it might be free. If you want
to keep your wireless number, you'll be "porting"
your number. All the carriers and re-sellers know how to do
it, but you should have your old bill in front of you. Contact the new
carrier by phone or online. Make sure you tell them, or enter, your old
information the same, especially if it has miss-spellings. Let the new
carrier cancel your old service. Also, make sure you're not under
contract with the old carrier. If you are, consult How to
Get Out of Your Cellular Contract for several ways to get out
of your old contract with little or no penalty. Even then, don't cancel
your account, let the new carrier do that. If anything smells fishy, be
prepared to go to the next choice on your list.
6. Take It For a Spin:
OK, you've got
the deal you like, a carrier that works where you want
it, and a phone that you love, or at least can live with for a couple
years. As soon as you get it, use it in as many of the places you'll
need it as possible, especially in your house. "Can you hear me now?"
calls to friends are not unexpected. You should have another 14
to 30 days to make sure this is "the one." If the company questions
your desire for yet another tryout period, show your sincerity this
time by porting
7. Buyer's Remorse?
Be nice to
your old carrier. You may find your new choice sucks
and you'll wanna 'go home.' Most likely, the old carrier will welcome
you back with open arms, and even "un-port" your phone number (although
'stuff happens' as you increase the complexity of your situation).
Don't let your pride get in the way of having the best cellular phone