It's a Stickup! Why I'm Fed Up With My Wireless Phone Bill (And What I Plan To Do About It).



Every month, when I pay my Verizon Wireless bill, I think to myself, "Why am I paying so much money for these phones?" In December, my two-year contract will be up for my wife and I, and I plan to at least try out T-Mobile for a month.

“The fact that I'm still paying for the "phone subsidy" after my two-year contract is up is ridiculous.”

This was all brought about when T-Mobile announced their plans to offer discounted plans for folks who bring their own phones (or finish their two-year contract). The fact that I'm still paying for the "phone subsidy" after my two-year contract is up is ridiculous. Verizon is also switching over customers with unlimited data plans if they "upgrade" with a subsidized phone. This means that if I stay with Verizon, I can either:

1.) stick with my Galaxy Nexus in perpetuity, still paying for the "phone subsidy" despite getting no new phone,
2.) upgrade out of pocket and likely spend $600 or more on a new phone every couple of years, while still continuing to pay for the "phone subsidy", or
3.) get a subsidized phone for a couple hundred dollars and lose unlimited data.

The most likely option would be number 2, so this essentially means another $50 a month for my wife and I that would be "hidden" from my Verizon bill (but is still the cost of business when dealing with Verizon). Given the cheaper phone options on GSM carriers, I could likely get new phones every two years for half the cost (or every year for the same cost). Not to mention, with my employer discount, I'd save about $40 a month on the service itself, keep unlimited data for myself, and get unlimited data for my wife (she's on a 2GB plan currently).

“This was a lightbulb moment.”

Now all of this talk of savings ignores the elephant in the room, T-Mobile's service. I was recently talking with my cousin (a T-Mobile customer) while visiting my parents in very rural Pennsylvania. I noticed her GSIII had a T-Mobile logo on it, but the service indicator said "AT&T". I asked her about it and she said it switches over to AT&T when you are out of T-Mobile service. This was a lightbulb moment. AT&T offers service basically everywhere, and as far as I can tell, the only restriction when you're roaming relates to data usage, not text or calls.

My plan is to pick up the cheapest burner phone I can find on Craigslist and try it out for a month. Ideally, I'll find out if the service is good (or good enough) in the areas I need it to be good in (basically, home and work). If so, the switch is a no-brainer. If not, I guess I'll be a Verizon man for the time being.

Whether the service works out or not, I plan to follow up in a couple of months to let you know how it worked out. If there are any T-Mobile switchers (particularly in Central Pennsylvania) that would like to share their comments, I'm definitely interested in hearing what your experience has been.