My family and I have been getting tired of having limited data, 4 lines share a 30gb plan on our current mobile carrier AT&T. We currently squeeze by with a few gigs remaining each month. We’re constantly on the go and tiered data just doesn’t work for all of us. We got this plan on the tail end of “Unlimited” data and ended up getting a double data promo so we pay for 15gb and get 30gb. While we’re not constrained, it would be nice to have a little more freedom with how awesome 4G LTE has become. We wouldn’t have to tip-toe at all around streaming or sharing pictures and videos as much as well as other bonuses we could get. Therefore, my dad and I went on a journey to get a the best price possible for what we wanted.
What did we want?:
My dad and I first established we wanted high speed streaming and hot-spot data with our plan. Hot-spot data is helpful especially when traveling. My brother and I enjoy streaming video out of the house and public Wi-Fi is still not safe or super fast. My family did not want auto-pay though. We wanted to make sure we have the freedom to look over our bill in case anything changed. We wanted the most freedom possible, without our bill going more than $15 or $20 higher per month. That would put as at around $210 a month for 4 lines (with taxes and fees).
Our first stop was a carrier we were familiar with, AT&T. They had a rough start. One of the first thing they told us was that new plans would not be compatible with my dad’s employee discount. Given this information, our dreams of the Unlimited and More Premium were dashed. That plan, with taxes and fees worked out to be about $246 a month. After pushing with customer service we were directed to the “loyalty” department. My family has been with AT&T for about 4 years and we have never been late on a payment. We were hoping they could help us out.
The plan we were offered by their loyalty department was similar to the previous plan but with some features taken off. The new plan took away:
- 5gb of hot-spot data
- giving us about 10 gb per line
- 30+ channels of live TV
- 1 premium music service
- About $25 as compared to the other plan
We were hovering around the top end of our price range, however everything seemed close enough with what we wanted. We didn’t go with this plan because we didn’t feel like we were gaining as much for the price we were paying. The loyalty department didn’t try to sweeten the deal, they simply through another plan at us to meet our price. The other issue was how the plan was presented to us. We did feel like loyal customers, however they didn’t explain much to us. They only seemed to want our money and off our old plan, at all costs.
This may sound petty but, for the 3 hours I spent between 3 or 4 different agents, each of them giving me different information my dad’s discount, plan details, no exact details regarding taxes and fees, and no way of going back to our old plan with the promo. Onto the next!
Verizon Wireless is an attractive carrier if only because of its second to none coverage. My family came from Verizon in 2014 and were hoping we could get a good deal. We were happy they’ve been more open to unlocked phones. We were hoping they had changed their ways on prices a little bit and become more competitive but that wasn’t so. My family would be paying $200 (not including taxes and fees and taking off autopay) if we’d switched to Verizon with their “Beyond Unlimited”. This would have given us the same data allocation as AT&T’s unlimited and more premium without the live channels and premium service. We were bummed that we would be capped at 720p video streaming.
With the taxes and fees, we would have most likely gone above our price range. We unfortunately didn’t have much weight to pull with trying to get special deals so that was out the window. My dad and I also understood that Verizon barely met our minimum requirements with no add-ons to strip away. Given my sister’s phone she also would have needed a new phone.
After taking everything in, we decided to move on. Unfortunately, Big Red just didn’t do it for us.
T-Mobile a really compelling offer with their One Plus plan. I’m not going to list all all the features, however a few stand outs will be listed below.
- 2x data abroad
- HD streaming (apparently up to the resolution of your display)
- 50gb of High Speed LTE data
- Taxes and Fees INCLUDED!
This plan would have put my family and I at around $180 – $200. This had all the features we wanted as well as useful extras for my family with the travel bonuses. Our main worry with T-Mobile is coverage. T-Mobile has had a very bad rap with their service in the past. We asked some friends and they said their coverage with T-Mobile was passable. Given our AT&T service is currently just “passable” for us, we weren’t convince at the close pricing. Although the additions would have been great it would have been better if we could actually use them.
Has T-Mobile’s service gotten better? Most likely, yes. Will it improve once they buy Sprint? Probably. The fact of the matter is their prices just don’t blow me away with their current stigma. Would I like to try out T-Mobile? Yes I would, however it’s just not something I’m willing to pay for right now. If T-Mobile’s price was lower though, I’d consider it, however not yet. Now when prices are still close.
My dad and I really didn’t want to consider Sprint. With all the fluctuation and bad stigma with Sprint we felt we were going too far down the totem pole when switching from AT&T. I truly hope things get better though once they merge with T-Mobile. Right now though, the money savings would not have been worth the degrade in service.
Why not an MVNO?:
MVNOs are great for one or two people, or for those who don’t mind cut down data speeds but for a family of 4 it wasn’t logical. We’d be paying around the same for less. It just didn’t make a lot of sense unfortunately.
What did I learn?:
I learned and I want to share most is that is that you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around. Push your carriers for a deal that meets your budget. Have a clear idea of what features you want and what your budget is. Ensure you have good, and precise questions to as customer service. I also learned that, if you don’t find what you want, don’t jump ship so fast. Your current plan is probably pretty good if it has lasted you this long.
Lastly, keep your eyes and ears open. There might just be a promo with a carrier that meets your wants and needs. If you see it then dig deeper. Do your research and ask questions. If there’s one thing we need carriers to understand is we are their customers. We have wants and needs and we deserve to get what we want and know what we’re paying for.
I want to know if you all learned anything? I also want to know what carrier and plan you’re on and why? Lastly, I want to know what I missed. If so please let me know! I’m always a shopper and want what’s best and what is the most appropriate price for my family. Leave a comment below!
My likeness and work with any mobile carrier did not influence my family’s decisions. We did not disclose to any customer service representatives of our relations to the companies.