Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What the Cell Phone Providers Won't Tell You...

...and why I hate them.

So, my phone was stolen as all of you are probably now aware, and I have found myself in a predicament. Right now, my service is suspended so the thugs who stole my phone can't use it. T-Mobile will only suspend my service for a maximum of 30 days. If I don't buy a new phone and call T-Mobile and ask them to reactivate my account within 30 days, they will automatically (without contacting me) terminate my account and charge me the astronomical early termination fee. I don't want to sign another 2 year agreement with T-Mobile because I plan on switching to Verizon and getting on Jared's (and his family's) plan as soon as my contract is over in a few months. Waaay cheaper.

So basically, my only option is to buy a phone at full price. But have you ever looked at the full prices of cell phones (i.e. - the price without a 2-yr service plan)? They are ridiculous. We're talking anywhere from $150 - $2000. I called T-Mobile and asked them what the absolute cheapest phone they have is and it was $80 for a piece of crap brick phone. I might not mind spending a $100 or so - or even more - on a phone if I would be able to use it for a long time. But Verizon uses a different network than T-Mobile, so their phones are not compatible. That means I will need to get another new phone in a few months when I switch over. (By the way, if you want to know more about cell phone providers and which ones have compatible networks, this is a great resource.

BUT, I am lucky enough to have a brother that used to work for T-Mobile and has all sorts of insider knowledge that the salespeople will never tell you. Maybe this is old news to some of you, but I had never hear this/thought of it before. My brother told me that I can just go to Wal-Mart or any other store that sells prepaid phones, buy one of those cheap phones (we're talking under $20), and ask T-Mobile to send me a new sim card (or go get one at a T-Mobile store...unfortunately I live in the country and the closest T-Mobile store is over an hour away). Just pop the new sim card in the admittedly-piece-of-crap-but-way-cheaper-than-full-price phone and you're good to go. My brother told me to make sure I get a T-Mobile prepaid phone, but you could try getting a phone from another provider as long as it uses a compatible network. Sometimes, providers "lock" their phones so they cannot be used with other service providers, though. In that case, you would have to get someone who works for your provider to unlock the phone for you. Again, reference this website for more info on that.

Is this news to anyone else?


  1. YES! This is news to me. I'm glad you shared it in case anything disastrous happens to my T-Mobile phone.

    I do like T-Mobile. Granted, I think they are overpriced, but I think ALL providers are overpriced. But nothing can compare to New Zealand where the people don't even talk on their phones because it is too expensive.

  2. I actually just learned about that recently. Julie needed to buy a new phone, but like you didn't want to pay a ridiculous price for it, so she bought one off of ebay for cheap (it came from China... a little sketchy to me, but... it was cheaper) and put her sim card in it and it works for her. You should definitely try that out.

  3. Holy moly you have had the most adventurous month EVER!! Wow.

    As for the phone - I've gone through many hand-me-down phones before I chose to renew my contract. Ry and I have used our parents old phones & also bought some from ebay. Definitely works, and is much better than buying a brand new one!! Good luck. And I'm praying about your car!

  4. Wow. I love, love, love, dealing with companies in general. Especially when you get to do it over the phone! I am sorry for everything you've been throug lately. On the bright side, making it through your first month is a definite plus, especially with all that has gone with it. Congrats!

  5. funny thing... that was news to me until Lorna told me about it a month ago... and then another friend two weeks ago...

    cell companies basically all suck..

  6. News to me too. If you didn't live in the boonies you could try getting a used phone off of Craigslist to last you until your contract is up. Might be worth looking into.