5 ways to save on your cellphone bill
Verizon has joined other major carriers in no longer offering unlimited data plans to new customers. So how can you keep your costs down?
This post comes from Ross Boissoneau at partner site Money Talks News.
This week marked the end of an era is cellphones: Verizon joined AT&T and T-Mobile in dumping its popular unlimited data plan. That leaves Sprint as the only major wireless provider still offering one-price-for-all-you-can-consume data. And who knows how long it'll be before Sprint follows suit.
Now, new Verizon customers will have to sign up for what's called a usage-based data plan. (Existing customers are grandfathered in, but Verizon hasn't announced what will happen when those contracts expire. Most likely, they'll have to go usage-based too.)
So instead of one price for all data, Verizon is charging $10 for 75 MB per month, $30 for 2 GB per month, $50 for 5 GB per month, and $80 for 10 GB per month. (For more details, PC Magazine has a really great Q&A.)
Even if you're not affected by this move, it's a good reminder to check your own usage and your bill for any potential savings. Here are five ways to save money on your cellphone bill.
Look at how you use your phone. Think less about cost per minute or per text and more about cost per month. If you live on your cellphone and have dropped your land line, then you might need a plan that lets you talk, text, and check sports scores on an unlimited basis -- and that just leaves you with Sprint among the big providers. But if you just have your phone for emergencies, then look at a prepaid plan.
Equipment protection sounds fairly reasonable, but unless you destroy the latest and greatest smartphone shortly after you get it, by the time you wreck or lose it you'll probably have already paid for it in monthly fees and the deductible. In my case, an accident with my iPhone (it intersected with gravity and met my kitchen floor face-first) resulted in simply extending my plan another year -- which I would have done anyway -- and getting a brand new iPhone 3G for only $50.
And roadside assistance? Look to your auto insurance or motor club membership, or even a premium credit card. You don't want to pay for something you already have or can get cheaper elsewhere.
Yes, this happened to me. And when I went into my local AT&T office, the folks there quickly offered to switch me to a new plan including text for only an additional $10 per month, saving me $40 from that bill. Great customer relations.
That's just one example. And you can be sure of one thing: Your service provider doesn't want to lose you to a competitor. So ask about better deals. Don't threaten to switch, at least not at first, but it doesn't hurt to tell your service rep that a competitor is offering you a better plan. Chances are they'll do whatever it takes to keep you.
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