Reviewing Phone Carriers

With the new line of Samsung 7 series out in the market and the Apple September event happening just days away, I have been spending some time thinking about which phone carrier I want to go with.

The features that matter to me most are unlimited data, free international data and a competitive pricing.  This quickly narrowed it down to two major players on the field: T-Mobile and Sprint.  I am very familiar with both; in fact, Sprint is my current phone carrier.  I’d continue to renew with Sprint, had it not been for the news that Sprint is moving away from 2 year contracts at retail stores.

This news is giving me some pause.  It seems like you cannot get the two-year contracts at the stores, though it still may be possible to get that option online. However, it’s barely on its last leg if Sprint is phasing out two-years contracts altogether.

Why I am sad that two years contracts are going away

Believe it or not, I want to get locked in to a 2-year Sprint contract.  I have a competitively priced unlimited data family plan and I get consistent LTE service.  Sprint offers free international data plans, much like T-Mobile.  Best of all, I can upgrade to a new device every two years.  Since I am not bothered by the commitment, there is no reason why I wouldn’t want it in exchange for new subsidized phones.  I crunched the numbers for the 5 phones on my family plan, and I still come out ahead.

This is not to say I don’t see the appeal of leased (or other “upgrade anytime”) plans.  I get that not having a contract give customers the flexibility to change plans anytime. It’s an empowering option compared to the days when a contract is the “standard”.  However, I think the benefit of that flexibility can sometimes be overstated. The average customer isn’t going to hop between carriers once they find a plan that works for them.  There is little or no incentive to “switch” if things are working fine.

Ironically, Sprint would be leveling the playing field if they got rid of the two year contracts (and not in their favor). I would actually be inclined to get an unlocked GSM phone if I am going to be paying full price for a phone, and that means looking at carriers other than Sprint or Verizon.

Monitoring changes

I will be actively monitoring to see if I can get into a two-year contract with Sprint for the last time.  If the two-year contracts are going away, I expect that I won’t be upgrading as often as I used to.  While I understand that many people are not fond of getting locked into a two-year contracts, I, for one, am sad to see the 2-year contracts and subsidized phones go away.

Do you have a two year contract? Have you moved onto a leased version, and if so, do you find saving more in terms of costs? With the upgrade anytime options, do you find yourself upgrading more or less often?


Related Follow-up Posts:

Goodbye Sprint & T-Mobile’s Black Friday Promotion Leak

T-Mobile’s Limited Time Promotion: 4 Lines for $120!


How We Fared on T-Mobile’s Promotion, Sprint’s Offer, and a new Trade-In Offer