My husband was with Verizon when it was Alltel. I believe he has been a customer for about 10 years. We made the switch from Verizon to Cricket, and I’m happy to share the reasons for this decision. Customer loyalty went out the window this year after Verizon, along with AT&T, decided to do away with subsidized contracts. Simply stated, customers now have to pay full price for phones, but they aren’t locked in a contract with a carrier. They are free to leave at any point. This gets complicated when a customer has a device payment plan with said wireless company as they have to pay off the phone in order to part ways and move on to another carrier.
Why We Did It
For three lines on Verizon’s More Everything plan, we were paying $180 per month. We shared 10gb of data and had unlimited talk and text. One line was out of contract and receiving a $25 line credit since it was on a month to month agreement. One line was part of Verizon Edge program (Verizon’s lease option), with about $175 left to pay off the device. The third line was eligible for upgrade in April, so we were excited to call Verizon to request our $25 month to month credit. However, when I called Verizon and spoke to three different representatives about this credit, they informed me that they “no longer offer it as of last month” but that they’d “love to share the new Verizon Plan” with me. Gee…thanks but no thanks! I had already compared the new Verizon Plan, and it was even worse/more expensive than the More Everything Plan. So we decided to switch from Verizon to Cricket.
We researched for months and months all of the different carriers, and we knew that T-Mobile’s service and Sprint’s service just weren’t going to cut it. We didn’t want to go to AT&T and experience the same expensive plans that we were able to break free from. So we started looking at MVNO’s or Mobile Virtual Network Operators, such as Straight Talk, Cricket, Net10, and Tracfone. All of the above offered great products/packages, but Cricket offered a $50 credit for bringing your own line (current number) as a new customer. Cricket runs off AT&T towers, so we figured the service HAD to be pretty great. And for the 3 lines, it’s only going to cost us $90 per month! Our bill is being cut in HALF! If you bring multiple lines, they offer a discount per extra line.
How We Did It
The first thing we did was pay off the $175 owed on the device payment plan for my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Unfortunately, not all phones are eligible for the Bring Your Own Phone promotion at MVNO’s, so be sure to check the website with your IMEI number (this can be found in Settings, About Phone). My Note 4 and both of the Galaxy S5’s we own were not eligible for BYOP. So we sold my Note 4 for $240 and my husband’s Galaxy S5 for $150. We bought me a refurbished AT&T phone off of Swappa, and we bought my husband a used AT&T phone from a local seller. All unlocked AT&T phones are eligible for use with Cricket. Verizon phones and Sprint phones are more difficult to make the switch, hence having to buy new phones and sell our old ones. I cannot stress enough how wonderful our experience was with Swappa. The sellers are required to note every defect, every issue, as well as the condition of the phone before listing it. And the listing must be approved before it goes live. I actually bought a 32gb phone, and the seller upgraded me for FREE to a 64gb phone. How awesome is that?!
How’s the Service, Though?
Ok…so the service definitely isn’t as good as Verizon’s service was. There are times that I’m in a dead zone in my house, and I have to hang up and call the person right back. It can be very frustrating, but it doesn’t happen very often. I’d say it’s worth saving $90 per month and cutting our bill in half. Since we don’t have a shareable plan, it’s a bit difficult getting used to keeping up with individual data. I worry that I’m going to go over my 2.5gb of 4g LTE, but so far so good!
Some Tips to Save on Data Usage
If you have an Android phone, pay the $10/month for Google Play Music. I listen to music in the gym, where wifi is spotty, and with Google Play Music, I’m able to download my favorite tracks and playlists to listen offline. A major bonus when you purchase Google Play Music is that you get a FREE subscription to YouTube Red. I had no idea the value of YouTube Red until I started playing with it, but you can download YouTube videos to watch offline as well! So when your kids are throwing a fit in public and you want to give them an electronic device to calm them down (I won’t judge you…I do it, too), you can have their favorite Octonauts episode already downloaded so that they can watch it without eating away at your data. I can also download motivational/inspirational videos to watch on the treadmill during those hour long Cardio sessions (Thank you to my trainer, Lukas Duncan!). It really helps keep my mind off of how long I’m spending on the treadmill, and I don’t have to watch The View. I’d rather clip my toenails than listen to Joy Behar!
You can also save data by turning off Mobile Networks when connected to spotty wifi service. You want to be sure that your phone is utilizing wifi and not counting against your data usage due to poor reception. The only way to truly be sure of that (from what I’ve seen) is to turn off the mobile network while I’m on wifi. Today at the gym, I watched a Blindspot episode on Hulu, but I made sure to turn off my mobile network FIRST to ensure no usage of data. As soon as I left, I turned mobile networks right back on. Easy peasy!
To sum things up, we just decided that there isn’t much value at all to sticking with the major carriers, so we made the switch from Verizon to Cricket and couldn’t be happier. We may decide to try out a different MVNO after using up our $50 credits for bringing our lines to Cricket, but until then…we’ll just enjoy the smaller phone bill! That’s the joy of not being married to your carrier. You have the power to choose without consequences. And with Swappa, you can afford a much nicer phone for a lot less than retail pricing. So what do you think? Have you made the switch? Share your story in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Edited After 1 Month to Add:
Service has been mostly reliable, with a few dropped calls. The only thing I haven’t figured out a solution to is that my MMS or photo texts are not coming through. I’m able to send photo texts, but I haven’t been receiving photos that others have sent me. I did check the APN settings, and all is correct there, so perhaps it’s the new phone? Either way, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Just figured I’d update the post so that you have the full picture. Does it suck? Absolutely. Is it worth saving $110/month? You betcha!