This is the story of my switch from Verizon to T-mobile using their current switch2tmobile promotion.
You may recall that one of my personal finance goals for 2014 was to escape the hell that was my $90 cell phone contract with Verizon and move to a cheaper, month-to-month contract.
I expected to complete this in October when my contract expired, but T-mobile just made it too easy to switch.
So what did I get?
The title may seem hyperbolic, but not only is it quite true, it doesn’t even tell the whole story. I also left with:
- A new phone that was 100% mine
- $70 in T-mobile credit to be applied to future bills
- No binding service contract
- A monthly bill that’s about half what I was paying before
- Reimbursement of my early termination fee — the $175 I owed Verizon for leaving a two-year contract nearly a year ahead of schedule
None of these had anything to do with any skills on my part. Oh no! Rather, I just took advantage of an altogether insane promotion that T-mobile is running right now.
I’ve been paying close attention to T-mobile since they started offering service with no contracts last year and was strongly considering them among other inexpensive carriers when my contract ended in fall 2014.
Then this promotion came along which totally made it worth it to jump now instead of waiting.
First the big number: $650.
At the extreme, the promotion could net you a mind-boggling $650 per line you move over (You can move up to five lines). Breaking that down, T-mobile will reimburse you up to $350 for the early termination fee you’ll get charged for breaking a contract with another carrier (e.g. AT&T, Sprint or Verizon) and up to $300 for giving them your phone.
You’d probably have to be near the beginning of a contract and give them a very expensive phone — iPhone 5s with 64 GB maybe? — in order to get all $650.
In practice, breaking my contract with Verizon will cost me about $175, which T-mobile will reimburse me after I submit the bill from Verizon, either online or by mail. Trading in my earlier model iPhone netted me $200 and some change — $130 of which I used to buy the inexpensive, but very well-reviewed Nokia Lumia 521. I’ll be able to use the remaining $70 in credit toward my monthly bills.
That’s right — monthly bills
Whereas $70 wouldn’t have come close to covering one month of my no-frills plan over at Verizon, $70 will cover nearly two months of service at T-mobile for me. Verizon offered almost no discount for adding additional lines; by contrast, T-mobile charges $50 for the first line, $30 for the second line, and $10 for any additional lines after that. After taxes and with a few family members making the switch at the same time, I should be paying under $35 a month.
And perhaps best of all, no contracts!
I can’t say that I wasn’t worried about seeing a drop in reception when I made the switch, but the fact that I’m on a month-to-month contract means that I can try out T-mobile’s network for a few months. If it’s terrible, I can bring my phone over to some other prepaid company that will accept the device.
How much do I save?
Welp, there was that $70 that first day, plus I’ll save about $55 a month. In 2014, that’ll total out to $660.
After a few days, the service seems like it’s going to be fine. Add that to the fact that it took me about half an hour to bring my old phone in to a T-mobile store and get a new one activated, and all in all, it was a pretty easy way to save hundreds of dollars.