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What are the signs it’s time to switch phone carriers?

Mint Fox with signs to switch phone carriers and join Mint Mobile

There comes a time when you’ll want to leave your old, Big Wireless phone carrier behind for less-expensive pastures. But when is that time to switch phone carriers? Maybe you’re streaming more than you used to, or adding loved ones onto your plan. Maybe you’re going through a midlife crisis (the kind where you want to change phone carriers to save money, not the kind where you buy a sports car), or maybe you’re making a big move. Whatever it is, there are many signs that it might be time to shop around and find a new carrier.

How do I know if I really need a new phone plan?

There are a few life milestones that might trigger the need for switching phone carriers, and a few questions you might want to ask yourself:

Are you paying what you want to be paying?

If you’re using more data and spending way too much for it, or on the flip side, not using as much data but don’t have the flexibility to change your plan to one with a lower data bucket, it might be time to switch to a carrier with more flexible plans

If you’re trying to save for something in particular (there’s that sports car again), you might also want to switch to a low-cost and/or more flexible phone carrier. Especially because some carriers will try to entice you with free subscriptions, streaming services, baskets of fruit, etc. that you don’t actually need. And, if you do need them, using a low-cost carrier and signing up for the streaming service is probably cheaper and you’ll have more control over it. 

consider how much data you need when switching phone carriers

Do you know how much data you actually use?

Pop quiz: how much data do you use every month? If you don’t know the answer, it might be a good time to take a look. Hint: the average person only uses 5-6GB of cellular data per month so when people are forced into a one-size-fits-all unlimited plan, most are overpaying. Here’s how to check your current data usage:

How to check data usage on iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Mobile Data.
  • Scroll down and see which apps use your cellular data.

How to check data usage on Android: 

  • Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage
  • Under Mobile, you can see how much total data you use.

If you’re seeing anything that surprises you, like you use a pretty significant amount of GBs looking up archipelagos on Google Maps or checking your horoscope on an astrology app, it might be time to take a look at switching to a different plan and a different carrier offering a better price for the plan you need. You can also look at your statements from the past three months or so to see if these are patterns in your use.

Or, maybe your job situation has changed and you’re working from home and constantly on Wi-Fi. Since your phone is using your Wi-Fi, you might not need such a big plan (more on Wi-Fi vs. Cellular Data here). The same goes if you’re traveling less (or more), and so on. This is why it’s good to keep tabs on how much data you’re using (and whether Aries will have a bad Friday). Especially since some Big Wireless companies actually charge for overages.

Has my family or personal situation changed?

Maybe you’ve been riding that family plan wave for a while now and your parents are ready to kick you to the wireless curb. Or maybe you’ve got a family plan of your own now courtesy of the wireless stork, or you need a plan for a senior or kid in your life. If your family situation has recently changed, that’s a great time to take a look at a new plan. Alternatively, maybe you’re flying solo now and can pick the exact wireless plan that’s right for you (and not have to wonder how many phone calls Uncle Bob will be making that month on the family plan). 

Have you moved lately?

If you’ve relocated recently, it’s a good time to check whether or not you could be saving more money on your phone service, especially since you’ll be setting up all of your new utilities anyways. Moving is a great time to reassess how much data you need and the right plan for you (and the right cost).

If you’re moving, you’ll also want to double-check that you still have the network coverage you need in your new area. You might find that a new carrier will give you better coverage (and at less of an expense). Mint Mobile runs on the nation’s largest 5G network, so y’know… that’s an option.

bring your number when you switch phone carriers

Are you fed up with your current carrier’s experience?

Maybe you find yourself shouting the f*!-word after every call to your carrier’s customer service (and we didn’t say fox). Maybe they’re increasing their rates, or maybe they’re trying to lock you into an ironclad contract. Now is a good time to start looking. There’s plenty of fish in the wireless sea, including fish that have an actual-human Care team available 7 days a week, super short wait times, a 24/7 Fox Bot and over 94 percent of customers saying they’re highly satisfied with their care. It’s us. We’re talking about us.

Have you been with your carrier for over 5 years?

A lot can change in five years. Suddenly people are telling you to part your hair differently, or wear gigantic jeans. This goes doubly for the wireless world, where things like eSIM cards, free wireless trials (ahem) and other innovations have popped up in the last half-decade. 

A lot of other services have also gone direct-to-consumer to save you money and are now available online, including everything from eyeglasses to mattresses, and now premium wireless, too. So now is a great time to take stock of the wireless landscape and see what other carriers are offering.

Where are you in your billing cycle and do you have a contract?

You don’t want to pay two phone bills (or maybe you do…if so, skip ahead). If you’re in the middle of your billing cycle for your current phone carrier, it might be best to wait until the end of the month (or whenever your billing cycle ends) before you make the switch.

If you’re coming from Big Wireless, you know they love long-term contracts and monthly bills. You’ll also want to consider whether they’ll charge you an early termination fee, or if you’re still paying off your phone on an installment plan. 

If you’re switching to Mint Mobile, you can plan ahead and make sure you activate your service at the right time for you, because our SIM cards can be activated up to 45 days after the purchase date

Are there any deals running?

You might want to check if a carrier you’re interested in has any current promotions for new customers, like free months of service or any device bundles. But also make sure you know just how much you’ll be paying when the free promo ends (or opt for a carrier like Mint, where bulk wireless savings is our bread and gigantic-tub-sized butter). 

checklist graphic to switch phone carriers

Things to consider when switching phone carriers

Besides asking yourself these important questions, it’s also worth keeping a list of some of the things you might want when you’re searching for a new carrier. And just as an aside… we may or may not (we do) check all these boxes.

  • You can bring your old number along so you don’t lose any texts or contacts
  • You can do everything online, including purchasing your new plan and managing it. No more trips to the store and salespeople trying to upsell you on plans
  • You don’t need to buy a new phone (unless you want to) and can even bring your own phone along and still get the best price
  • There are options with no surprise monthly charges (and no monthly bills altogether)
  • There are no switching fees or early termination fees 
  • The coverage you need is available in your area
  • Check reviews of your potential new phone carrier’s service (and ask friends, too)

What to do before switching phone carriers

While making sure your potential new wireless beau ticks everything off your checklist, there are a couple of things you should also keep in mind that you’ll need to do when you switch, like:

  • You may have to have your current carrier unlock your phone 
  • Some devices aren’t compatible across all networks—it’s good to check your phone’s compatibility
  • Grab important information like your PIN and account number, password and billing address associated with your account before you leave
  • This will be important if you want to bring your phone number when you switch
  • Don’t cancel your current phone carrier until after you switch, so you won’t miss a moment of wireless.
  • Make sure your data is backed up just in case

Are you ready to switch phone carriers?

We know. Our checklist skills are pretty persuasive. 

If you’ve thought hard about your situation and have decided now is the time to switch phone carriers, well, we check everything off that list (and then some). And our plans are right here.