Navigating the Puzzling Wireless Carriers and Devices Doesn’t Have to Be Confusing

January 26, 2021
Brenda Eisenschenk

If you pay any attention to wireless carrier advertising, you know that they are spending advertising money like crazy trying to win your business.  How do you know which carrier has the best prices, the best coverage, AND the right phone for you? How can it be that they are all the best?? What about industry mergers (Sprint and T-Mobile for example)? How, and potentially when, does that affect you? What about 5G? Who will do that first and who will do it best? According to the ads, they all will.


All those numbers/promises/claims from carriers competing for your dollars — monthly rates, gigabytes (GB), upgrade fees, phone purchases vs. leases – it’s definitely confusing at best and downright, drive you crazy, at worst.  Have no fear – Intelligent Wireless Management is here!


So, before you make the switch to a new carrier, consider these questions:


Are you still under contract or free to make the switch?

You have to make sure you are free and clear to start up somewhere new without getting hit with early termination fees (ETF’s). You should have a clear exit plan.

Did you buy your phone? Do you still owe money on it, or is it paid off? It might make sense to make sure you’ve paid off your phone in full. BUT IT MIGHT NOT! Would the carrier you want to switch to offer to pay out the rest of your debt? Some carriers do this, and it is always good to ask. Worst they can do is say no.


Will you incur any additional charges for a phone? Meaning, do you need to buy a new phone, or do you have one already?

If you have a phone, is it unlocked and will it work with your new carrier’s network?  If you need to buy one, this could mean you will be paying for the whole thing up front or making monthly installments — these costs need to be considered as part of your decision.


Individual, family, or business plan?

Are you looking for just yourself or for a group? Most carriers promote unlimited plans for individuals and business groups. However, looking at how you use your phone is helpful as it will show if a metered plan may suit your needs and cost you less.


Ask if there are any promotions running on phones. Some carriers offer a cost break on certain phone models if you are a new customer or are porting form another carrier.


Is the lowest price something or everything?

There is a lot to be said about lowest price vs. best value. Consider how important price is to you? If it has to be the absolute lowest, shop during seasonal sales, like national holidays, back-to-school season, etc.  Remember they want your business and may offer specials for you to switch, or to trade in your old phone. Occasionally, you will find a deal that pairs a specific phone model with a particular rate plan. If you can be a bit flexible, it may help you get the best deal/value.


If value means more, like getting more less tangible perks, such as better coverage, you may be okay with paying a bit more monthly. Some carriers have lured customers with programs that let you carryover unused data to the next month. For example, you can stream music or content from certain sites at no additional charge. Of course, now more than ever carriers are promoting unlimited data use, and for many that is a big draw. You just need to know what is important to you and how you use your phone.


How flexible and frugal are you?

Can you “limp” along with an older phone until you can get a new phone, or do you need it immediately?

Do you want the latest/greatest, or will an older or used phone work for you? You can buy your phone outright in one lump sum, or through monthly installment pricing.  Remember when buying new you are still on the hook for paying off the hardware before you can switch, unless you can find a carrier that’s willing to pay that to earn your business.


If you need to be able to switch carriers at a moment’s notice, you may want to buy the phone outright. If the new carrier doesn’t work out and you do bolt, keep in mind that you usually get a 14-day grace period.


How good is carrier coverage in your area?

This should be the most important factor when deciding what is best for you. The fanciest phone on the market won’t keep you happy if it doesn’t perform. Ask your friends, colleagues, and neighbors which carrier they have, and how good their reception and signal strength are where you need it.


Network strength is so variable, and can change by time of day, weather and even where you are located inside or outside a building.


How are you supposed to know what’s best? Which carrier to choose? Which plan? Most importantly, who can you trust? With all this info in mind, even we can’t recommend a single carrier that’s guaranteed to work for you all the time, but we can help, based on our many years of industry experience.


We have helped businesses big and small, individuals, and school districts as they’ve all tried to figure out what’s best for them.  We have assisted when carriers changed plans with little or no notice to ensure our clients best interests are protected. Seriously, we look at it from your side of the checkbook!


Anytime there is an industry change, or upgrade that could affect your bill, who is looking out for your business’s bottom line? We are?


IWM is your trusted technology advisor that can help your business fit all the pieces of your wireless services/plans together in a manner that makes financial sense for your business. Everyone’s pieces are different, and we understand that. I’ve always said you have one neck to wring or one back to pat, we greatly prefer the latter!!! We will do everything we can to earn your trust.


We would love to EARN your business and help you navigate the murky wireless waters?

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