If you wanted to switch your phone carrier ten years ago, then you would have to jump over loop and hoop to get it done. You would have to wait for up to two weeks for the process to be completed. Additionally, you had to visit your provider’s store to complete the switch physically. You do have to leave your home for your switch to be actualized. But over the last few years, things have changed for the better. Nowadays it is easy to switch phone carriers without paying.
However, even though the switching process has been simplified, you might be wondering if you still need to pay for the switch. Fret not, for we will give you all the information that you need to know about switching your phone carriers. You will also learn how to compare wireless providers before switching, how to switch wireless providers, among other cool stuff. Without further ado, let us get right into it.
But Before We Get to The Nitty Gritty, Here Are A Few Tips to Help You Switch Phone Carriers Without Paying
- Understand that Some Devices Are Not Compatible Across All Networks : Thanks to technological advancement, the number of devices that are not compatible across networks is shrinking rapidly. However, there are still a few devices that are not compatible with different carriers. To avoid any nasty surprises, it is prudent to check whether your device is compatible with the carrier that you want to switch to.
- Find Out If Your Current Carrier Has to Unlock Your SIM Card or Phone : There are some criteria that you have to meet before your carrier can unlock your phone. Therefore, find out if you meet the requirements, if you do, then have your carrier unlock your phone. The process can be done over the internet or over the telephone by most carriers.
- There Might be a Need to Purchase A New Phone : It is now possible to switch carriers without having to buy a new phone. As long as your phone is compatible with the new carrier, then you can use the phone you currently have. However, there are a few requirements that you have to fulfill for this to be possible. These requirements are discussed further on.
Now that you have got an idea of what changing carriers might entail, let us look at the importance of comparing carriers.
But first, here are a few things that you should know beforehand.
Have Important Account Information Before You Start the Switching Process
Before switch phone carriers without paying, you will need to be armed with some critical information. However, if you are the owner of the account, then having this information should not be a hassle. The problem arises if you are on a family plan, and the principal account holder is someone else. If that is the case, then you would need to contact them to get the required information. The information that you will need to provide includes the account’s password or pin if it has one, your name or the name of the account holder, account number, and the account holder’s address.
Back-Up Your Phone’s Data
You do not want to lose your data when you switch on to another carrier. Then back up your data. You can easily do this by storing it in a portable device like an SD card, or you might save your data on the cloud through a cloud service.
It Is Not Necessary to Switch to another Long-Term Plan
Many carriers have revised their subscription plans and have therefore eliminated the long -term plans. Therefore, when choosing the carrier to switch to, check out their plans. Some have monthly plans, which mean that you do not have to subscribe to a long-term plan.
Now that you have got this vital information, here is what you need to do while comparing carriers before switching
It is a fact that there are quite a few carriers that would like to have you as their customer. However, before making any switching decisions, conduct some due diligence. This will help you to make the right decision.
Here is what you should do.
Find Out If You Are Free to Switch your Carrier
Although carrier contracts are becoming rare nowadays, it is essential to ensure that you are free to switch your carrier. This step is crucial because failure to do so might mean getting fined with some hefty penalties by your current carrier. Also, if you want to move to another carrier, make sure that you have already paid your phone in full, or you will be forced to pay off the balance.
While comparing alternative carriers, check and see if there is one that would be willing to pay the balance that you owe your current carrier. Do not forget to check their conditions if they offer such a service.
Do You Need to Buy A New Phone?
When comparing carriers, it is crucial to find out if you can use your phone or you will need to buy a new one. Some phones are compatible with different carriers, while for others, that is not the case. As earlier stated, find out from various providers if your current phone is compatible with their services. Some carriers like Republic Wireless have a requirement that makes it mandatory for you to buy a phone from them if you are to migrate to their network.
Compare The Phone Carrier’s Various Plans
Different carriers have different plans. However, the two basic plans are the individual and family plans. A family plan or a shared plan divides the data bucket among individuals on that plan. The advantage of this plan is that it is cheaper than the individual plan. The disadvantage though of the shared plan is that you get a smaller share of data. Additionally, it is difficult to determine the amount of data each person will use.
But the good news is that some carriers like Verizon, AT$T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have very elaborate shared plans. However, some providers, mainly resellers like Republic Wireless, do not have very elaborate plans, and you might have to work out the shared plan.
How Important Is Pricing?
One of the factors that everyone considers before making any purchasing decision is the price of the product. However, should that be all that you consider while comparing carriers? Obviously not, there are other equally important factors that you should consider. Although, you can take advantage of some seasonal sales to get a good deal.
These seasons include Dads and Grads, national holidays and back to school period. Do you know that some carriers will give you a better deal if you migrate with your number to their network or if you trade in your old phone? In some instances, some providers pair a specific plan to a particular phone model.
At times though, carriers that charge a higher price for migrating to their network have some perks. For instance, they might have stronger network coverage even in rural areas.
They might also have more phone options for you to choose from. Other carriers let you carry over unused data to the following month.
Carriers like T- Mobile lets you stream music and videos from specific sites without charging you for the data used.
Therefore, while comparing carriers, put the price into consideration, but do not forget to analyze other perks that different carriers offer.
Compare Flexibility That Various Carriers Offer
Although most carriers have done away with the two-year subscriptions, you can still get this plan if you want. You might also choose to pay the full price of the phone upfront, although this will cost you more.
You can also choose a monthly installment plan where you pay a certain amount every month. If you want to be as flexible as possible, then the best option is buying the phone upfront. By doing so, you will have no obligations to your carrier.
Therefore, when choosing a carrier, it is crucial to understand the terms and conditions of each one of them to see which one offers more flexibility.
Consider the Strength of the Carriers’ Signal in Your Area
The primary purpose of a phone is to help you communicate. Your carrier of choice might have the best phones in the market, but it will do you no good if you cannot get a signal in your area.
Therefore, while comparing carriers, it is vital to put this in mind. As said, it does not matter how fancy the phone is. If you cannot access voice or data, then it will be of no use to you.
One way to find out the best option in this regard is by asking your friends and relatives which carrier they are use and the strength of the reception. Then from this information, you can choose a carrier.
You should also note though that network strength can be affected by several factors. The signal strength is affected by the weather, the time of day, whether you are indoors or outdoors and other similar factors. Service providers also do change their masts from time to time, and this might also affect the signal strength.
Having said that, though, there are carriers whose signal is generally strong no matter the weather condition or the time of the day.
You should go to such a carrier.
Alternatively, you can use third-party services to test the strength of a network wherever you are. You can use a company such as Root Metrics.
Different Types of Carriers
When comparing different types of carriers before switching, it is essential to understand the different types of carriers available. There are national carriers, regional carriers, prepaid carriers, and resellers.
National carriers: The national carriers include Verizon, AT$T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. They are usually referred to as the top four since they maintain the networks that resellers use. They have many customers, which means they control the lion’s share in the market.
Regional: One of the best regional carriers is the US Cellular. Its downside, though, is that it does not cover the whole country. However, it is a good option if you live where there is signal coverage.
Prepaid: They include Virgin Mobile, Cricket, Boost Mobile, and MetroPCS.
Resellers: They include Google Fi, Republic Wireless, GIV Mobile, Straight Talk (Tracfone) and many others. They lease their services from the big four.
Here Is What You Will Need to Know About Resellers and Prepaid Carriers:
- For most of these providers, you have to pay for your phone upfront in lump sum.
- They do have various phones, but your options are limited.
- The resellers and prepaid carriers do not require credit checks because you buy the phone upfront.
- They might let you come with your device if it is compatible, but not always.
Below is a summarized breakdown of what some of the carriers’ charge. You can use this information to compare different carriers.
- $115 for 15GB of data for one month
- Charge $15 overage penalty per GB
- If you go with the 2-year contract option, the phone use charge is $40 per month.
- $100 for 12 GB for one month
- Charges $15 per GB as an overage penalty
- You pay more access fee when you go the 2-year contract way.
- You cannot use the previous month’s data the following month. If you do not use it, you lose it.
- $80 for 10GB of data or one month
- At the start, you get 10GB free data.
- You can use your data balance in the subsequent 12 months.
- You can stream music and videos from specific sites free of charge.
- $100 for 10GB data for one month
- They give you a discount of $15 if you agree to installments or automatic payments. You also have port your number to Sprint for you to get this discount.
This is a summary of three carriers’ plans. To make a better comparison, it is crucial to find out the terms of other carriers.
How Do I Switch Phone Carriers Without Paying?
When you decide to switch your carrier, it means that you have already undergone the process described above, and you have come to a decision. You might be wondering how you can switch your phone carriers without paying.
Contact the Carrier That You Have Chosen
After you have done your due diligence, then it is time to contact your new carrier. The carrier can facilitate the transfer either online or physically by visiting their store. At times, the online process can be a little tricky to follow, and having somebody there to explain the process might make the task way much more manageable.
Note : Do not cancel your current subscription before switching over to the new carrier. The new carrier will need to transfer or port your new number and other information to their system.
Once the transfer is complete, your old subscription will cancel automatically.
Enquire If You Can Keep Your Old Number
Although the Federal Communications Commission prohibits carriers from refusing you to keep your old number, not all will agree to do so. Therefore, it is essential to check with your new carrier if it okay with them for you to keep your number.
Note : Porting is transferring your number from your old carrier to the new carrier
When Switching Carriers Decide If You Want to Trade-In Your Phone or Keep It
It is really up to you. You might want to trade-in your phone when you switch to the new user (the Big Four), or you might decide to keep it. Trading-in is advantageous in that your new carrier will pay the charges that might arise from switching to their network. However, if you decide to keep your phone, make sure that it is compatible with the new carrier. Otherwise, you will need to unlock it. Unlocking a phone can be a tricky affair. Luckily, you do not have to be a techie to crack it, technicians from the carrier you are switching to can do that for you.
Early Termination Fees: Tips to Avoid ETFs
When you switch carrier’s mid-contract, you are bound to pay ETFs or Early Transfer Fees, which can set you back hundreds of dollars. When you terminate your contract with your current carrier, you either have to pay the ETF or chuck up the money to pay off any balance you owe your current carrier. These costs might prove to be a hindrance to many people who want to switch carriers.
The primary purpose of service contracts is to discourage you from moving from your carrier to the competitor. The contract gets its power from the penalty that a subscriber is charged for switching carriers.
Carriers have come up with monthly subscriptions where a customer pays a certain amount every month. One downside with the program, though, is that the phones are not subsided as they were with the longer terms. As a result, users pay for the full price of the phone.
If you want to avoid the hefty penalties of leaving one carrier, then you should avoid the long contracts. By doing so, there will be no ETFs applicable. However, this cause of action means that you will have to pay more money upfront. But if the cost of getting the phone upfront is too steep, then you might be forced to go for the more extended contracts.
But it is not all gloom and doom. There are a few tricks that you can use to avoid paying these hefty costs. Some carriers have some incentives to try and woo customers into their fold. You can take advantage of such deals, which can enable you to move from one carrier to another one of your choices. Are you wondering how this is possible? Worry no more, below we focus on these tricks.
1. Tricks of Switch to Verizon Phone Carriers Without Paying ETFs
It is sad news for anyone who wants to switch to Verizon from other networks because they currently do not have any plan that can assist a new customer to move to their network. But there is good news. As a customer, you can recover some of the money that your carrier might charge you by trading in your old phone to the company. The company also has very competitive plans and phone deals.
2. Switch to AT$T Phone Carriers Without Paying ETFs
AT&T is one company that is doing a lot to attract customers to its network. As such, the carrier is offering up to $650 to any user who is willing to migrate to their platform. However, you will need to get a new smart phone from the carrier to enjoy this incentive. As a new customer, you will also have to port your number from your service provider to AT&T. You also have to trade in your old phone. After you have done the above, then you can present your ETF bill to AT&T.
For any line that a customer ports, the company will cover up to $350 in ETF charges. If you were paying for the phone in installments, then the company will pay an amount of $650. What’s more, as a new customer, the value of your trade-in phone will be deducted from the payments that you are obliged to make to AT&T.
3. Switch to Sprint Phone Carriers Without Paying ETFs
The company has a program known as “Clean Slate.” Through this program, you can get $650 to cover your ETF and the phone installment payments.
The deal gets sweeter as all you have to do to take advantage of this offer is trade in your old phone and get a new one under one of Sprint’s payment plans. You can also decide to buy a new phone from the carrier in cash.
After this, you only need to port your old number to the new phone and choose one of Sprints mobile plans to start enjoying Sprints services.
4. The Trick of Switch to T-Mobile Phone Carriers Without Paying The ETF Costs
T-Mobile is the pioneer in wooing customers to their network by paying off their ETFs. The company’s strategy is simple but effective. When you move to T-Mobile, they pay off the ETF charged by your previous carrier. Additionally, if you have any balance on the phone installments, they pay it off.
However, for you to enjoy these benefits, you have to trade in your old phone and get a new one from T- Mobile. You will then subscribe to one of the plans offered by the company.
Best Deals When Switch Phone Carriers Without Paying
Now that you have some tricks up your sleeve of switching carriers without having to pay ETFs. Let us look at some of the best switching deals in the market.
1. Switching Deals by Verizon
Verizon has some amazing switching deals, as highlighted below.
Deal One: Get $600 Discount from Verizon
To get this offer, you have to switch to Verizon. You can do this with either the port-in card or without it. Order any android phone that is eligible and has a monthly installment plan.
To get 2/3 of the promo amount, all you need to do is visit the Digital Rebate Center. While there, use the Prepaid Master card promotion code to get the cash.
To get the remaining $200, use an unlimited data plan to activate the phone. To do this, you will have to add a new line.
You will get the $400 after eight weeks from the date you get the Master card. You can use this cash to buy stuff, but you cannot withdraw it from an ATM.
The remaining $200 is disbursed in monthly installments over 24 months.
Deal Two: Get $400 Discount Offer
To get the offer, you will need to switch to port-in to Verizon and subscribe to a monthly installment with a selected phone.
Activate the phone using a new Verizon line by subscribing to an unlimited monthly plan.
After this process, you are eligible for the discount, which will be disbursed over 24 months.
Deal Three: Bring Your Own Phone
When you switch to the network with a smart phone, you are given $250, and when you switch with a tablet, you are given $100.
If you have a good standing account after 45 days, then you will get a prepaid Master card. However, you must place the claim within 30 days of activating the account. You cannot get the cash from an ATM, and no other deal or promotion can be combined with this deal.
Deal Four: Contract Buyout Deal
What this means is that you receive $650 when you switch on to Verizon. With this cash, it is possible to pay off any monthly installments that you owe your current carrier or pay any ETFs.
You will access the money through a Wireless Visa Prepaid Card, which will be delivered to your address within eight weeks of making your claim. You can buy stuff with the cash, but you cannot access it from an ATM. The visa card is valid for six months, but the money has no expiry date.
2. Switching Deals by Sprint
Here are the switching deals by Sprint
Deal One: Clean Slate Deal
There is an excellent deal by Sprint called Clean Slate. With this deal, you get up to $650 to cover your ETF or pay off your monthly installments from your current carrier. However, taxes and any other fees are not covered in this offer. What’s more, the transfer process is quite simple and fast too.
Deal Two: Switch to Sprint And Save On Phone Charges
Another fantastic deal that splint has is of leasing you two models of LG phones (Lg Tribute empire and LG tribute Royal) at no cost.
That is a great save since you not spend money to buy a phone. However, additional fees and taxes are applicable. You will also need to purchase a Splints line and the eligible upgrades. Splints have more deals, and you should check out their website for more information
3. Switching Deals by T-Mobile
With T-Mobile, you do not have to trade in your phone. You can come over with it to the network. However, you must confirm if it is compatible with T- Mobile. Additionally, for the process to go smoothly, your phone must be unlocked.
If you do not want to keep your new phone, then you can also trade on the old phone for the new one. In this deal, you get to choose from a wide variety of phones that the carrier offers and get to pay in very affordable installments. What’s more, the value of your trade-in phone will be deducted from the price of the new phone that you purchase.
4. Switching Deals By AT&T
AT&T has a deal whereby it pays the early termination fees and installment payments when you choose to join the carrier. When you port your line, you are eligible for up to $650, which you can use to pay off the costs that come with switching.
Another deal that the carrier is offering is called the “buy one, get one free” deal. Under this deal, a switching customer gets a second smart phone from AT&T. If you prefer Android, then you can get a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy s6 edge +, or the Samsung Galaxy S6 active. If you prefer iOS, then you can get I phone 6S.
5. Switching Deals by Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless will give you 30 days of unlimited text and talk time and 1 GB free data when you switch and port your number to the network.
When you buy a new line of service, you will get a discount of $40 on your new mobile phone.
Another great deal is that you get a new Samsung Galaxy A10e for only $179 when you buy it from Republic wireless. You can also decide to pay for the phone on monthly installments of $10.76 spread over 18 months. However, you will be charged a 10% APR.
6. Switching Deals by Boost Mobile
When you switch to boost mobile, you get four lines for $100. This means that each line only costs you $25 per month. This is a great deal, especially for the family plan option. What’s more, taxes and fees are included in this fee.
With each line you get:
- Unlimited data, talk, and text
- you receive 1GB of mobile hotspot
- You can stream video through SD
- Unlimited music streaming capabilities(capped at 500kbps)
You get this deal by porting in your number from another carrier.
You can opt for a three deal for $100 per month.
With this offer you get:
- 4G LTE for most of your activities
- Video streaming through the SD
- 30 GB mobile hotspot
Discounts on Mobile Phones Deal
Boost Mobile has excellent deals, especially on android phones.
Here are some of the crazy phone deals:
- Get a pre-owned Samsung Galaxy S8 for $159. 99 which is a $240 saving
- A Samsung Galaxy A6 at $249.99 which is a $100 saving
- Get a Cool pad Legacy S at $39.99, which is a $60 discount.
- LG Tribute Royal at $59.99 which is $50 saving
- Get a Motorola Moto E6 at $79.99 which is a $30 saving
However, if you are an iOS person, then fret not since Boost Mobile has got you covered. You can either have the iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11, or the iPhone 11 pro at a discount of $100 for each one of them.
7. Switching Deals by Metro by T-Mobile
If you get on the $60 unlimited plan, then you are in for a fantastic deal by Metro by T-Mobile. With this plan, you get two lines at $45 per month for each line. However, you only get this deal when you port a line from another carrier.
- In this deal, you will get unlimited data, text and talk time
- A 4GT LTE 15 GB mobile hotspot
- A subscription worth $12.99 per month to Amazon Prime, cloud storage by Google of up to 100 GB worth $1.99 per month.
iPhone 7 Deal
With this deal, you will get the iPhone 7 for $30 only when you switch your number and port it to Metro by T-Mobile or Metro PCS. This offer, though, is only found in-store. You also get an instant discount of $370.
Four-line deal at $120 per month
When you are on the $60 Unlimited plan, then you get a 4-line family plan where you pay $30 only per line/month. This deal is available when you switch to the carrier.
With this offer you get:
- Amazon prime subscription worth $12.99 per month
- A mobile hotspot of 15 GB high-speed data
- Unlimited text, talk, and 4 G LTE data.
8. Switching Deals by Cricket Wireless
Get Samsung Galaxy S10 At A Discount
When you switch to Cricket Wireless, you get the new Samsung Galaxy S10 for a discount of $200. The usual retail price of this phone is $899.99, but at Cricket Wireless, you get it for $699.99. However, you have to subscribe to a plan that costs at least $30 per month.
If you do not want to port your number, then you can still get a $100 discount on the sleek phone.
Get any of these nine phones for free from Cricket.
You can get these deals when you switch from other carriers apart from AT&T. These phones include:
- Cricket Icon Smartphone
- LG Harmony 3
- Alcatel Tetra
- LG Fortune Plus
- Alcatel Insight
- Nokia 3.1C
- Alcatel Onyx
- Samsung Galaxy J2 Pure
You can also get sleek phones like Moto G7 Supra iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy A 10e for under $100.
However, to get these deals, you have to be on a plan that costs $30 – $50 per month.
Frequently Asked Questions on Switch Phone Carriers
Which Carrier Pays You to Switch
Three of the big four carriers pay you to switch. They include Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. These carriers can now pay for your early termination fees or phone payment installments for up to 650 dollars.
Can You Switch Carriers Over the Phone Without Paying?
Yes, it is possible to switch carriers over the phone. However, if the process becomes complicated, you can always visit the nearest customer service center of the carrier you want to switch to.
When switching carriers, you need to have the following information:
- Your name and address
- The account number
- The account password or PIN if it has one
- Your phone’s ESN/IMEI number if you are not trading in your phone
- Your phone number if you are retaining your phone
How Long Does It Take to Switch Phone Carriers Without Paying?
Usually, the switching takes between 10 minutes to 2 hours. The process might take longer in some cases. Some of the reasons for delays include switching rejections from your carrier, your provider does not respond to your request immediately, or your switching request is complex. Complex numbers have family plans and special voicemail services, among other additional call features.
Should I Change My Cell Phone Number?
When switching, it is not mandatory to switch your cell phone number. Many carriers allow you to port your number. Porting means you can move with your number to the new carrier. However, to access some deals, you need to buy a new line.
Do I Need A New SIM to Change Carriers?
When switching to another GSM network, you do not need a new SIM card. Once your SIM is unlocked, then you can migrate with it to your new carrier.
Can You Get A New Phone with Current Carrier and Switch to T – Mobile and Let Them Pay Off?
T-Mobile will pay for your phone. However, they will only pay up to $650. Therefore, if the cost of the phone is more than this amount, then you have to top up the balance.
Do I Have to Pay Off My Phone Before Switching Carriers?
You do not have to pay off your phone before switching carriers. In a bid to attract customers, some carriers offer to pay off the phone for up to $650. However, you should check if the carrier you are switching over to have this facility.
Will Spectrum Pay to Switch Cell Phone Carriers?
If you are in contract with another carrier, Spectrum will buy out the existing contract up to $500. To qualify for this deal, you have to buy and install a package offered by Spectrum. Download and fill the Contract Buyout Form. Email both a completed copy of your ETF bill from your previous carrier and the completed buyout form.
Can You Switch AT&T to Cricket Carriers Without Finish Paying Off the Phone ?
AT&T owns Cricket, and it is, therefore, possible to switch from AT&T, but you have to continue with the phone payment.
What Happens If You Switch Phone Carriers and Do Not Pay the Old Bills?
Although it is possible to switch phone carriers and not pay the old bills, it is not advisable to do so. This is because those bills will reflect as unpaid debts in your credit history, which will adversely affect your credit score, especially if the outstanding bill is enormous.
Switching carriers has become easier over the years. More good news is that you can switch phone carriers without have to Paying a dime in Early Termination Fees or installment payments. However, you have to know how to take advantage of such deals. To be able to switch mobile carriers as smoothly as possible, it is essential to have a few tricks up your sleeve. For starters, you need to understand if your current carrier and the carrier you want to switch to have any special requirements before you make the switch. In some cases, you will have to unlock your sim card or phone to make the switch successful.
When choosing to switch carriers, you should understand that there are four main categories of carriers. They include the national carriers, regional carriers, prepaid carriers, and reseller carriers. The national carries are often referred to as the Big Four since they have wide network coverage and also have many customers. One thing that you should note, though, is that their plans are usually priced higher because of their premium brand. The main regional carrier is US Connect, which provides exemplary service. The downside though, is that it does not cover a wide geographical area. But if you happen to be in its area of coverage, it is an excellent option to try out.
The third category that you can check out while looking at carrier options is the prepaid carriers. The Big Four companies own these prepaid carriers. The advantage of the prepaid carriers is that they offer better-priced packages than their parent companies. The final option that you can look at while you want to switch carriers is resellers.
We believe that with the information that we have provided in this post, you are now thoroughly equipped to navigate through the world of switching carriers. What’s more, you now know what to look for in each carrier and even know the deals that you can take advantage of to avoid paying ETFs.