We get a ton of search engine inquiries every day. Many of them are the same, but a few are not common.
This is our Grab Bag, Part One. Or in other words, a little bit of everything. And it’s all from YOU, our readers and visitors.
Due to the lengthy nature of this article, we’re going to skip the smarmy intoduction and ask you to click on the MORE button. Thank you.
Almost every one signs them, virtually no one reads them. That’s right, contracts. Many people think that they’re agreeing to have service with their carrier for two years and their carrier is agreeing to provide them with service for 2 years. A glance over your contract will tell you that your carrier is actually agreeing to very little. You’re agreeing to a lot.
Although you may not see it mentioned in the agreement itself, the main thing you get out of the contract is subsidized pricing on a phone.
So what did you agree to? What did your carrier agree to for that matter?
Read on to get the less-boring-almost-as-good-as-reading-the-real-thing overview of the main points of the standard wireless customer agreement.
Last week, Verizon Wireless carefully announced that they were going to eliminate one-year contracts as an option for their customers.
The truth of the matter is, one year contracts likely comprise of less than 1% of overall contracts. We have no real data on this, but a long observation of the business tells us that the numbers are minimal.
The problem, though, is choice.
We’ve talked at length about contracts, discounts, upgrades, and phone pricing until we got blue in the face. But there’s one phrase in this business that we have yet to spend much time on: the “free” upgrade.
The writers and editors of PhoneCan are asked one question more than any other: how do I get out of my contract without paying a fee?
Many carriers have Early Termination Fees (ETF) built into their contracts. This is, by far, one of the biggest reasons why people don’t like signing contracts (even though the overwhelming majority do). But most people don’t run into this bill killer unless they have an emergency or immediate need to cancel or transfer service. When they do, though, they tend to feel like their service provider is raking them over the coals.
We’ll take a quick look at Early Termination Fees, talk about your options, then reveal the truth about trying to get out of your contract without paying a fee.
Everyone hates them, but most people sign them: contracts. And in the wireless business, contracts are part of standard everyday business for most service providers. Prepay plans aren’t always what they seem - there’s often a sacrifice to be made for not signing a contract. Carriers give few incentives for going without a contract (even though more money can be made on non-contract plans). And we haven’t even talked about phone discounts yet!
How did we get into this mess? Is there a way out?
Come with us as we explore the past, present, and future of those stinkin’ phone contracts, and why you really CAN do without them.
Samsung and Verizon made some waves today when they announced that the newly minted Tab would run for $599.99, and no contract options. For those of you not familiar with the device, the Tab is the first Android tablet to officially come with the Google marketplace in tow and major carrier support. It’s a 7″ all touchscreen device, and features 16gb of memory (expandable to 32gb), a 1ghz processor and both a rear and front facing camera.
Sounds great right?
Most of you are likely thinking “Not really. Look at that price!” To paraphrase one internet commenter; “Why would i get something that is only 3″ bigger than my Fascinate and 3x the cost?” When I first heard the cost, I thought the same thing. Then I remembered that the Fascinate is actually $589.99 so for an extra $10, you get a noticeably larger device.
The problem is that as consumers, we’re trained to think of anything cellphone related in terms of contracts and subsidies. We don’t care how much a device costs because we only have to pay a fraction of that cost with our contracts. We’re pretty vocal about allowing unlocked devices on our network of choice. Getting used to the unsubsidized cost of a phone is just the first step towards carrier independence.