If you've been on cruise control for the past year and made no wireless plan changes, you are likely overpaying for your SmartPhone plan. That's because T-Mobile has been killing all of the other carriers in acquiring new postpaid customers the last couple of quarters. Verizon is a close second. Interestingly, the carrier losing the most subscribers is not Sprint, but AT&T.
I'm often asked what the difference between carriers is, and more importantly, why activate service through Dr Wireless, instead of directly with the carrier. Yes, all of the wireless carriers support the same global platform, 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution). Thank Apple for deciding to make one device with all 23 bands of global LTE. You can also thank T-Mobile for abandoning the traditional 2 year phone tied to contract model and their other dozen "Uncarrier Innitiatives" since. So yes, there can be some major cost differences between carriers. Since 1990, Dr Wireless has activated thousands of lines with every major carrier. We know them all intimately and as a mobile wireless broker, they all support us. Our wireless knowledge, industry resources, unbiased advice, and integrity are the reason Major Enterprise, Government, Fortune 500 and Entertainment industry professionals rely on us for their wireless communication needs.
Rollover Data - T-Mobile was the first to introduce this on some of their Simple Choice Plans. All of the other carriers have followed suit. Not all Rollover was created alike however. All the other carriers offer one month roll over only. T-Mobile offers Rollover for the entire year and wipes the minutes on December 31st.
Global Service - T-Mobile offers free global data and text on all plans. On their Premium 4G LTE plans, users also get 3G Hotspot speeds. Sprint recently introduced a similar plan for data and text but not in as many markets. Other carriers like AT&T AND VERIZON offer various bolt-ons and Day passes that can get expensive.
Fringe Benefits - Travelers on T-Mobile's Premium Unlimited 4G LTE plan will now receive FREE visual voicemail, FREE GOGO Wifi and Texting on Flights. They will also receive T-Mobile's Stateside International Calling Package. This is normally $15 per month but so worth it for long distance callers. I love it because it makes calling France for my family FREE, whether we call mobile or landline phones. Without this feature, it;s $1.99 per minute.
Unlocked Devices - Your wireless carrier does not want you to know this. By law, once your device is paid for, if you request they unlock it, they will do it for FREE. Verizon devices are already unlocked. Why would anyone want to unlock their device and does it affect the warranty. Everyone should unlock their phone because of the following reasons. It increases resale value by about $50, depending on model. It allows the device to be used with any carriers SIM card, either domestically or globally on most cases. Since all data is stored in the device and not the SIM card anymore, it makes changing carriers as easy as changing SIM cards. The content doesn't even need to change when changing carriers. This is why wireless plans have suddenly got amazingly competitive.
Unlimited Data Plans - To most people, unlimited means unlimited. That's not quite the case in the wireless business. Five years ago, carriers offered UNLIMITED data without thinking twice. Speeds were snail slow and they had no idea where we would be today with 4G LTE speeds. That's why AT&T and Verizon do everything possible to get their grandfathered users off these plans. In AT&T's case, they throttled their older Unlimited plans without disclosing it. As far as I can tell, Verizon never throttled their plans. They will simply send a "DEAR JOHN" letter to anyone exceeding 100GB per month telling them that they will have to change plans or leave. Today, Verizon no longer offers an Unlimited 4G Plan. AT&T discontinued them too but just re-introduced theirs with a caveat - you have to bundle in their U-Verse or Direct TV home service just to be eligible to get it. That'sa big if and one of several reasons we cannot endorse their plans. Each carrier includes fineprint in their contracts that reserves the right to priortize network traffic, or provide network optimization. AT&T's threshold before this applies is 22GB per month, Sprint is 23GB, T-Mobile is 28GB and Verizon does'nt play this game. In plain English, what this means is once you exceed these data limits, don't be surprised if your 4G speeds take a big drop to 2G speeds. It is still possible to check e-mail and use social networks. Video though becomes out of the question. I certainly prefer this throttling to having to stop using my device or paying $15 per GB overage fees. Verizon used to bag on T-Mobile for throttling but strangely, adopted throttling now and calls it "Safety Mode". Until they instituted this feature, i could never guarantee my Verizon clients that their bill would look the same each month as T-MOBILE'S does. Now I can. If you have any questions about any of the above, please contact me. If you feel you're getting the short end of the stick, we'll give you a FREE Wireless Plan Analysis and hel;p you level the playing field.
These days, all below plans at a minimum include Unlimited Voice, and Texting domestically.
For single lines of 2GB 4G LTE or less, our recommendation is T-Mobile's SImple Choice 2GB plan and Verizon's $55 2GB plan. T-Mobile also offers an Unlimited "ONE" plan featuring Unlimited standard definition 4G LTE. Sprint also has a $60 Syandard definition 4G LTE Unlimited Freedom Plan.
For two lines - T-Mobile's Simple Choice plan for two users is $80. It shares 4GB 4G LTE between users.
T-Mobile's new Unlimited 4G "One" Plan for two users is $120. Verizon's "Large" plan offers 12GB of 4G LTE for $110 per month. Sprint's $100 Unlimited 4G Unlimited Freedom Plan is a very good value for Unlimited.
For 4 lines (family or business plans). This is where the deals are as additional lines are generally only $20 or so. Again, the plans that offer the most value and quality are from T-Mobile and Verizon. This is the most competive area for the carriers. For December 2106, T-Mobile is offering up to $800 in Mastercard debit cards for anyone we put on their ONE plans. They are also offering a FREE line of service so that means 4 lUnlimited lines for $140. The limited time Verizon promotional plan offering 20GB of High Definition LTE to 4 users for only $160 is amazing. In the old days, you paid a lot more for Verizon service and had to worry about overage charges for data. Not any more.
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Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.