1: Don’t trade two more years of contract for a new cell phone.
As your contract begins to expire, phone companies begin to barrage you with offers for shiny new free phones. Don’t be tempted. If you’ve been wanting to switch ignore the new toys, wait out the remainder of your contract with your now-old phone, and make a change.
2: Some cell phone carriers will buy out your existing contract.
The major cell phone companies that operate under contracts often offer a promotional deal for switching to them. These deals change fast, so if you’re dissatisfied with your current service, check weekly to see what they’re offering.
3: You might need a new cell phone.
While you can usually keep your phone number, your current cell phone might not be compatible with the new cell phone provider’s network. This isn’t a huge problem; each phone operating system (Android, Apple, and Microsoft) contains ample backup software, and the tremendous variety of 3rd-party software solutions means you can turn your new phone into your old phone in less than an hour if needed.
4: It’s important to choose the right provider for you: Contract, no contract, or free.
Contract carriers are the old guard of cell phones. They lock you in to one or to year contracts. Often they build the price of free and cheap phones into that contract.
No contract carriers are a newer iterations. The phones cost a little more upfront, but you pay by the month, and if you want to switch carriers, you can.
Free carriers are new, and as of now, there is only one major player: FreedomPop. With FreedomPop, you can have completely free phone and data service. While the free service is currently limited by number of minutes, it’s remarkable that it exists at all, and their expanded offerings are very competitively priced against the best the other companies offer.
A note about FreedomPop: Yes, they really are free, and you can bring most existing cell phones onto their network.