Admittedly, cellphone sales benefited a lot from packaged carrier plans. The idea was that the cellphones were “free” when you sign up with a two-year plan. Nowadays, two-year plans are no longer the same as they were a year ago. Due to changes in how carrier plans and cellphones are marketed, there are a lot of advantages when you want to switch phones without renewing your phone contract.
Free phones were not free anyway. A few years back, carriers sold plans with “free” cellphones. The truth is, the cost of the cellphone was included in the plan. You are actually paying for the cellphone for two years, or the lifetime of the contract. However, when you continue with the plan even after the two years lock in period, you would still be paying the same monthly cost.
Possibly cheaper phone bills. Today’s carrier plans no longer included embedded charges for the cellphones. Instead, a separate billing is included for the monthly installment for the phone. That means that if you choose a cheaper phone, you would be paying less. This translates to savings on a monthly basis.
Leveraging the older phone. Unlike before, where you pay for the same monthly charges even after the two year lock in period of a plan, these days, you have a separate line item for the payment of the . Once that is fully paid, the line item is also discontinued. This allows you to keep using fully-paid smartphone and cellphone. Consider the new monthly fees as a discount on your old monthly rates.
If you are in the middle of paying for the cellphone, there is still a way to stop paying for it when you switch phones. It doesn’t matter if it is a newer phone, or a used one. This is the basic procedure used by the carriers.
- You need to separately acquire the second phone. You can pay for it cash brand new, or you can buy a used cellphone instead.
- Inform your carrier that you are no longer going to use your cellphone and that you are switching cellphones. Depending on your contract, you would need to inform your carrier about your decision. You would also have to ask them to unlock your phone (assuming that it is locked to their service.)
- Inquire with your carrier, how much you need to pay up front to stop the monthly installment. You would have the option to pay for the remaining balance of the cellphone.
- With the above option, pay for the outstanding balance of the cellphone. You can take out the SIM card on the phone and transfer it to your new phone. Your next monthly bill will no longer have the monthly payment for the phone.
- Alternatively, if your cellphone is unlocked, you should ask your carrier, if you can transfer the SIM to a different cellphone. If the contract says that you can do that, then you can also just continue with the monthly payment for the phone. This might be better for you if you still have a large balance.
In terms of unlocking phones, you can ask the carrier about their policy of using unlocked phones on their network. Their service personnel should be able to assist you in setting up your new phone.