Switch Flopped: How to successfully switch cell phone carriers

Whether you’re T Mobile, Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, the name of the cell phone carriers game is an easy one: get as many customers as you can on your network.

And, by any means necessary.

If you pay close attention to how these providers are marketing toward consumers, you’ll notice a very similar trend in their advertising, and that centers on getting you to switch to them no matter what it takes.

Most commercials, print ads (yes, they still exist) and online banners as you surf the web ultimately are going to give you all the incentive in the world to bid farewell to whatever cell phone carrier you’re using at the moment and switch to something else,

That “incentive” can be anything from buying out your contract, paying off your devices that you’re leasing from your current provider or giving you a bundle deal to save even more off your monthly bill (think AT&T and Direct TV, for example, being under the same banner).

But before you decide to make that switch, you’ll want to think long and hard about doing it the right way, if changing at all.

A lot of the marketing is limited in nature, but look so flashy and appealing across your television set. For starters, most of the time when a provider says they’re going to pay your contract or devices off, what they really mean is they want you to pay the termination fees and they’ll give you a gift card worth up to a certain amount.

A gift card. Really?

What makes more practical sense in the eyes of a consumer is paying off the contract or device in the purest sense.

Sometimes keeping your device isn’t an option, so even though a provider will offer you that gift card to say so long to your current plan, you’ll have to turn around and buy a new phone from wherever you eventually land, provider wise, so you’ll want to inquire about not only keeping your old device but also making sure you don’t have to lose your number (although most port the number over without much issue these days).

This isn’t to say switching doesn’t make sense. As a consumer, you’re in the midst of a battle for supremacy between these providers, and they’ll do just about anything to get your business. Taking advantage of that and shopping around for the best coverage and price, among other things, makes sense, as long as the promotion and how you go about it also is equally logical and beneficial for you.

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