How to Pay Less and Get More Out of Your Cell Phone Plan
Here are two clues you’re probably spending too much on your mobile bill… Either you haven’t chosen a fresh deal lately. Or you just opted into a shiny-new plan, and then you inexplicably get more perks for free.
(Like… how often does that happen?)
Here’s a cautionary tale where I tripped over both scenarios…
Data Limits are a Drag
For years, I’ve been holding for dear life onto my legacy unlimited wireless plan from AT&T. Not that I use all that much data…
I do stream the occasional video while I’m commuting on the train to
New York City.
(Netflix/Amazon Prime Video)
But I’m not risking the integrity of the entire wireless network!
I just like the idea of not having to worry about data limits. And when unlimited plans went out of vogue some years back, I clutched to mine even tighter.
Time zipped by, and I thought I still had the deal of the century.
Unlimited Data Plans are Back
But a funny thing happened. I recently spotted some advertising from the competition about new unlimited plans. Huh!
(What’s old is apparently new again.)
Then I realized my legacy plan was no longer such an unbeatable deal…
International Day Pass
I stumbled upon this unsettling realization when I temporarily upgraded my iPhone’s plan to help it operate overseas during my family’s vacation to Barcelona.
In preparation for a lot of Gaudi and a little Cava in Spain, I called 611 on my iPhone to contact customer service and find out about my international-use options.
I quickly realized the best move was to add AT&T’s “International Day Pass” plan to my account for just ten bucks a day. This offering gives you free calling and texting and mirrors the same data plan as you have at home.
For me, that’s a far better deal that AT&T’s older “Passport Gold” plan, which costs a whopping $120/month, plus 35 cents/minute calling, plus a paltry 800 MB for the month. And then 15 cents per MB of overage.
So I thought I had the perfect solution…
AT&T Unlimited Plus Wireless Plan
But then the operator told me my existing unlimited data wireless plan was “too old” to ‘accept’ the International Day Pass feature.
She explained I would have to upgrade to one of AT&T’s newer plans.
I defiantly proclaimed that I wasn’t willing to give up my cherished unlimited data flow.
But then she said the oddest thing…
“What about upgrading to one of our new unlimited data plans that will work with the International Day Pass feature?”
“Yes, we just started offering them.”
“It’s really unlimited data… like my legacy plan?”
“And our new AT&T Unlimited Plus wireless plan is forty dollars less expensive per month than your old plan.”
“And that’s with the wireless hot spot feature.”
“I get the hot spot option too for my iPhone?”
(That’s always an à la carte add on.)
Still in consumer shock, I finally agreed to let my legacy plan go and entered the less expensive present of wireless phone plans.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Hello HBO Streaming!
A week later, while on vacation in sunny Barcelona, I received a text from AT&T telling me I would also be receiving HBO streaming for free, because I had so wisely joined the new Unlimited Plus club.
(The text didn’t really affirm my consumer prowess… but it’s how I felt.)
Clearly, I had bought into a higher-level tier plan. Deep down, I knew I didn’t really need to take the full boat. But I was paying less per month than I had been. So it still felt like a really good deal.
(Plus, I’ve been meaning to catch up on some HBO programming.)
I’d say you can confidently place me in the column of happy AT&T customers!
Your Old Deal Stinks
The moral of the story is you just need to pay attention when it comes to using consumer tech.
(Buying at a good price is often just the beginning of the journey.)
Is your wireless plan really the latest and greatest?
(Yesterday’s deal never lasts forever, even if the monthly costs do!)
Yes… sometimes it makes sense to hold onto a feature that gets discontinued… but usually the rule of thumb is both tech and tech usage get less expensive over time.
There’s always a better deal waiting around the corner…
So go find it!