Leaving AT&T for Verizon was a hard move for me. I have been with AT&T since 2001 when I got my first cell phone. At the time it was actually SunCom but eventually AT&T swallowed them up. Over the years prices have gone up but nothing really sky-rocketed. They didn’t have the cool programs with free stuff like T-Mobile and Verizon. I was okay with that because it really wasn’t a reason to switch.
But I did notice when I traveled with someone with Verizon they ALWAYS had better cell reception than I did. Places I didn’t have ANY bars they had two or three. That always caused me to pause. But in the last five years I have moved both my parents into the world of smart phones and added them onto a family plan with me to keep costs down. So switching all THREE of us from AT&T seemed to really be a pain and I didn’t want to mess with it.
Switching to Verizon Was Saving Others Money
A Facebook friend who I respect financially mentioned he had switched his phone over to Verizon prepaid was impressed with the service and rate. He then switched his wife and daughters over as well. Blogger friends have almost always done prepaid so it’s something I have watched. They always seemed like sketchy companies with no stores for me or my parents to go into if something went wrong. Verizon wasn’t that kind of place- stores everywhere and that network that I envied.
A quick glance at the Verizon website showed me the rates for the prepaid plans. They were absolutely cheaper then my current bill. I use under 5 GB and currently that plan is $40 per month. If you put it on auto-pay it goes down to $35 per month. After three months it goes down to $30 a month and after you prove more loyalty it goes to $25 per month. Plus after a quick visit to the store I discovered that prepaid phones don’t pay extra taxes and such. My bill would be $40.50 for the 911 fee for that first month and only keep decreasing. Leaving AT&T for Verizon was looking attractive.
If you are looking for other money saving ideas check out What Is The Best Way To Cut Cable?
As Always There is a Hiccup
I was sold. My iPhone wasn’t going to be a problem to move over. A simple switch of a SIM card and we are good to go. But my parents both have older Samsung phones and they would have to get new phones to switch. My mom had been contemplating a new phone for a while but my Dad wasn’t comfortable changing.
So I went online and checked out AT&T’s pre-paid plans. None of them were even remotely as inexpensive but there were some online deals for new AT&T customers that were about the same. I figured I had been with AT&T for 20 years so I could negotiate with them. The store just flat out refused. When I called I ended up being sent to five different departments, none of whom would take ownership of my account and help me out. So I finally hung up after I got transferred for the sixth time. It would have been easier to stay with AT&T for the sake of all of us but they didn’t seem to want us. Leaving AT&T for Verizon was getting easier since they were making me mad.
This is What Pushed Me Over the Edge
The straw that really broke the camel’s back was an e-mail I received from AT&T on July 22. Amid a pandemic where some people are not comfortable going out and many people don’t have jobs, AT&T decided this was the best time to send a scaremongering email to some customers, telling them that their device “is not compatible with the new network and you need to replace it to continue receiving service.” This email affects BOTH of my parents phones. The email conveniently doesn’t explicitly mention that this will only affect customers around February 2022.
Of course this e-mail gives you every option to upgrade and offers “fast and free” shipping for these purchases. Someone who just skims over the email without clicking the red “Learn More” button might conclude they need a new phone right now. Which for many people is NOT a small purchase and very stress inducing. I had anticipated when I saw it they were giving SOME notice instead of 18 months (and conveniently not putting that date). It felt like a tawdry and cheap sales tactic. Leaving AT&T for Verizon was something I was doing now no matter what my parents decided.
So What Did We End Up Doing?
I ended up switching to Verizon prepaid which was easy with my current phone. Currently I am saving about $20 a month. That amount saved will increase the longer I stay. During the pandemic I also switched gyms for a savings of $31 a month. Between those two a little leg work is saving me around $600 a year.
My Mom ended up getting a new cell phone with much more memory (hers was really messing up). She has now also switched to Verizon. It will save her each month and hopefully this new phone will last as long as the last one did.
Because of my Dad not wanting/needing to switch his phone he contacted tons of other cell phone companies. One told him he could keep his current phone and then when he went into the store to switch over said he couldn’t and offered to sell him something very expensive. A random visit to another cell phone company’s store lead to not being able to get the employees perched on the counter to help so he left. He switched over to AT&T prepaid so he can keep his current phone. Since he uses far less data than us he was able to save some each month being on their lowest plan.
What is the Conclusion?
I would advise you no matter what carrier you use to check their prepaid plans. Just the savings from the taxes and fees alone will likely help you out. If there are only a few people on the “family plan” there is a good chance switching over to a prepaid will save you money. There are no contracts.
The one thing that will keep most people from doing it is that you must own your cell phone. You cannot finance your cell phone with these plans. If you are constantly switching your phone to the latest and greatest it’s not a good idea. But if you buy a phone outright and keep it for a few years I highly recommend pursuing this choice.