Find The Best Time and Way to Switch Phone Carriers

Finding the best time to switch cell phone carriers may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Equip yourself with the information you need and you’ll be able to make a confident, educated decision. From understanding your current plan and charges to knowing what to look for in the fine print of a new carrier, this checklist will help you move smoothly through every stage of the switching process.

Understand your current plan, bill and usage
Before you can decide what you need from a new carrier, look at what you’re getting from your current one – and at what cost. A close look at current and past bills will show how many GBs of data you pay for compared to how many you typically use. If you routinely get hit with overage fees, look for a larger data plan that meets your needs, such as an unlimited plan. If you have data left on the table at the end of the month, stop paying for GBs you aren’t using.. Use that knowledge to help identify what size plan you need from a new carrier.

Narrow down your options
Once you’ve identified the ideal data plan and the carriers that offer it, zero in on the rest of your needs. Do they sell the device you’re looking for? Do they offer the prepaid or postpaid options that work with your credit? Are they reliable in your area? Many carriers tout “national” coverage, but it won’t be worth paying for if it doesn’t work where you need it most – in your own neighborhood.

Calculate what youd pay with a new carrier
Look beyond the advertised plans and prices and into the extra fees for upgrades, monthly connections and overages some carriers tack on. If your new carrier requires you to get a new phone, your monthly bill could include phone payments on top of your plan. Adding up all the potential costs helps you make a true apples-to-apples comparison.

Weigh any penalties your current carrier might charge for leaving
Don’t forget the other costs of switching: the costs from your current carrier. Some carriers levy early termination fees or bill you for the remaining balance on your device when you cancel your plan. Making the switch is only worth it if your new monthly costs cancel out any penalties you’d owe your old provider – so taking the time to do the math always pays off.

Keep your eye on promotions and offers
Many carriers offer always-on promotions designed specifically for people looking to switch to a new network which will help cover early termination fees or device payments owed to your old carrier. While device offers tend to be more unpredictable, you can look for carriers who will allow you to use your current phone or trade it in for credit toward a new one to find guaranteed additional savings. Once you’ve checked all the items off this list, you’ll be ready to hop on an awesome deal when it arises and feel confident in your decision.

Get prepped on the switching steps
If it’s time for you to make the switch, this prep work will ensure a smooth transition to your new carrier. Whether in store, online or over the phone, customer service will be able to walk you through the considerations of your specific circumstances – like the carrier you’re switching from, whether you’re bringing your own device and how to keep your number over.

While you’re comparison shopping, check out all the deals and offers from U.S. Cellular®. You might just find the perfect plan.