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6 Questions You Need to Answer Before Switching Carriers

Switching Carrier

Thinking about switching carrier but worried it’s going to be complicated? It doesn’t have to be super complex but it does require some decisions. We’ve got you covered, because finding the best carrier for you, boils down to six simple questions.

1) Can I Leave My Current Carrier?

You can leave your carrier at anytime but it may cost you. If you’re free of a contract, because your plan has ended or you didn’t buy a subsidized device, switching carriers shouldn’t cost you anything. But if you’re in a contract you’re usually the subject of an Early Termination Fee which depends on remaining time and/or device payments.

Some carriers will reimburse you for some of the switching cost. Different carriers will have different offers. A common catch with this is that they force you to switch device, which means that you end up on a new subsidized device plan, thus locking you in for a certain period.

US Mobile doesn’t offer subsidized phones but we don’t lock you into a contract. You can come and go as you please on a monthly basis.

2) Do I Want a Prepaid or Postpaid Plan?

Prepaid and postpaid both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of prepaid Benefits of Postpaid
No commitment in terms of a contract Usually cheaper phone upfront
No overage charges, only pay for what you use Flexibility to use more than your plan (but there are overage charges)
No credit check Sometimes added benefits like free music streaming or rollover minutes

US Mobile is a Prepaid carrier, set up on a monthly basis.

3) Is There Coverage in My Area?

One of the most fundamental questions before switching carriers is if there is coverage where you’ll spend the majority of your time. In general, all carriers have a coverage map on their website where you can look up if you’re covered. This is helpful but we encourage you to ask other people already using the network you’re considering. You can friends or use forums like Reddit and/or Quora.

US Mobile has a 30 day risk free trial, offering your money back if you’re not satisfied with coverage or any other part of the service.

4) Can I Bring My Own Device (BYOD)?

If you have a phone you want to keep using, you need to figure out if your device is compatible with the new network. In the US carriers operate either on the CDMA or GSM networks. Switching carriers but remaining within the same type network, usually means that you can BYOD (bring your own device). Phones like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and newer are designed to work on both CDMA and GSM. These phones are usually called global phones. We recommend Will My Phone Work to check if your phone is compatible or not.

It doesn’t end there though. Sometimes carriers have blocked phones from being used at other networks. If you’re not in contract or is still paying for your device, most carriers will however offer to unlock your phone.

US Mobile operates on the GSM network and if you want to BYOD we can unlock your phone. Generally phones from AT&T  and T-Mobile, and 4G LTE  phones from Sprint and Verizon will work will work on US Mobile.

5) Can I Keep My Number when Switching Carriers?

If you’ve had your number for several years you probably want to keep it even though you’re switching carriers. According to the FCC you have the right to keep your existing phone number if you remain within the same geographic area. It’s fairly easy to switch (also known as porting) your phone number over to your new carrier. Most carriers can guide you through the porting process. Most likely you will need to have your phone number and account number on hand when speaking with your current carrier, the process takes roughly 3-5 business days.

Read about how to port your number to US Mobile in our porting guide.

6) What Phone Plan Do I Need?

When researching plans and carriers, make sure you check if there are any “hidden” fees. Some carriers charge an activation fee, which may or may not include the cost of the SIM card, most carriers charge a monthly service fee and sometimes you’re even stuck paying a restocking fee if you trade in a device when upgrading to a new one. If you’re on a postpaid plan, you will  also be charged for exceeding your plan or using additional services like international calling. Make sure you know what the true total cost comes down to before switching carrier.

Many carriers love to offer unlimited option, but use caution, unlimited plans may not always be what they seem.  It help to  monitor your data usage before choosing a plan. We’re big believers that the best plan for you is the plan that you can make yourself. Some people realize that they barely talk or but use a lot of texts, thus a 1000 texts and 100 minutes plan would be better for them than a unlimited talk and text plan. If you decide to go the prepaid route, you could always adjust your plan as needed.

At US Mobile you can choose between 252 different plan combinations of talk, text and data. Our SIM card cost is $3.99 (unless you’re a free for students) and we only charge a $2 monthly service fee. There are no activation fees or other hidden fees.

Don’t forget when you change networks so do your settings. For example, when you switch to US Mobile’s network you need to configure your APN settings to ensure internet and MMS work perfectly. But don’t worry we make it very simple and this only takes a few minutes. At the end of the day, if you’ve tackled these questions, you’ve probably realized that switching carriers may be a small inconvenience, but will yield larger savings.