Interestingly, most of the various global world wireless technologies disappeared, or morphed into Long Term Evolution (LTE). Sprint continues to utilize CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) as their network backbone. Their devices continue to support both their CDMA and LTE networks. Other than them, pretty much all carrier devices are now interchangeable. Your carrier does not want you to know that the day has come where subscribers can change carriers with no interruption in service. Moving your number and device has never been easier because the only thing that changes is the address and company name that you pay each month.
I remember the days when manufacturers made North American Models, Middle Eastern Models, Asian models, and European models. Even though they were all supporting EDGE or UMTS technologies, the frequencies often varied, they were locked, and you often could not even roam because the bandwidth differed in each country. To make matters worse, the carriers, not the device makers, wielded the big stick back then when it came to what features were offered, or more significantly, not offered. I'll never forget buying an Unlocked global NOKIA E-61 SmartPhone in Europe (pictured above) that even had built-in BlackBerry support, SIP trunking, text-to-voice, GPS, wifi dialing, and some other cool features that were five years ahead of their time. Miraculously, most of the features worked on my CIngular line back home in the US. I was a Cingular Wireless dealer at the time and became very excited when I heard they had commissioned NOKIA to make this model for their network. It would be called the E-62. Unfortunately, when it was released, it bombed. It turns out Cingular made NOKIA strip most of the above really cool features off the device. I suppose they couldn't sell monthly subscription add-ons like text to voice if they were coming free on the phone.
We can all thank APPLE who proved that if you have a great device, people will pay for it, even if they get saddled with a two year contract with a second rate carrier. We can also thank T-Mobile. It was their brash CEO, John Legere, who have relentlessly attacked "Dumb and Dumber" (Verizon and AT&T) from day one. After all, he was the one who abolished contracts, early termination fees, global text charges, global data charges and a lot more. Today, the contract is on your device, not your plan, assuming you finance it from the carrier. Should you want to take your current number and device to a different carrier, it has never been easier, especially for iPhone users. Dr Wireless has specialized in seamlessly moving businesses from one wireless carrier to another for years. It has never been easier because Apple and all of the major Android manufacturers are making devices that will work with all carriers worldwide. Even if you finance your device from your wireless carrier, you can move it to any other carrier, anytime, as long as you pay off the balance of what is owed. This is why carriers offer early upgrade programs, leasing (Sprint), and offer incentives in an attempt to bind you, "old school" contract style
So the choice when buying a device becomes whether to buy once locked to a carrier, or buy an unlocked one directly from the manufacturer. Until recently, I always recommended getting one from the carriers (except Sprint), since they were easy to unlock and often optimized with features that not all carriers offered (wifi calling, etc...). Today, again thanks to Apple, it's likely a better idea to buy an unlocked device versus one made for a specific carrier. Recently, this came to my attention when I noticed that Google had pushed out their newest OREO iOS to all carrier locked devices before their unlocked device owners (me). This was the exact opposite of what I would have expected. Maybe Samsung made this following statement to appease folks with the unlocked versions.
"We understand that many of you have Unlocked Galaxy S8/+ and Note 8 devices and may be wondering why those with Carrier models are seeing the updates first. The reason for this is that Unlocked devices must go through more rigorous testing than Carrier-specific devices because we need to make sure there is proper network functionality across ALL supported networks. (Ex. Carrier-specific devices are made to handle that one network. Unlocked devices need to be able to handle ANY / ALL compatible networks. Thus, they require some more preparation.)"
Where I am leading with all of this is there has never been a better time to be a wireless consumer. Your wireless carrier has to work even harder to keep you. That's why they all offer Unlimited everything plans today. It's still a rip off to some degree to have a one line plan. Each carrier sweetens the deal when adding lines. That means that the average price for a one line unlimited plan is $70-$80 per month. For two lines about $120-$130. Once you hit family or business plans with 4 lines or more, the line cost plummets as low as $40 each. I'm often asked which carrier I use and what plan am I on. Until last month, I was on an amazing T-Mobile dealer plan that offered me Unlimited everything at $48 for two lines. Apparently, TM management must not appreciate our new Robin Hood program. They just revoked my dealer plan! That's okay because I practice what I preach and negotiated an $60 plan offering Unlimited Everything for two users. Now, I can be candid and there is nothing they can take from me!
The main problem is if you are ill informed enough to keep overpaying each month for an obsolete plan, your carrier is sly enough to dummy up and let you continue to overpay. This is one of the reasons we got out of the activation business. Now instead of working for "them", we work for you. That means we offer a FREE wireless plan analysis. In ten minutes, Dr Wireless can determine whether your deal is good, or whether we can save you a bundle. In any case, there is nothing to lose. The worst thing that can happen is we determine that your current deal is a great one and you don't need our help. More commonly, we discover that with our knowledge, expertise and carrier resources, we can reduce your monthly wireless bills by $400 or more per year. If could accomplish this for you or your business, is that worth a one-time payment to Dr Wireless of $200? If we cannot deliver, we waive our charge 100%. if that is not a WIN WIN no-brainer, I don't know what is. Get more information about our Robin Hood program here. After 26 years in the wireless industry, nobody knows how this game is played better than us!
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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.