On The Cheap: Multiple Phone Carriers Want To Be Your Valentine
By Mordechai Osdoby. February 10, 2012, 1:40 PM CDT
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be some of the most well-known bargain tech shopping times, next week is working out to be one as well. In honor of Valentine’s Day, many U.S. carriers and some retailers offer some surprisingly good deals. However, like a box of Valentines Day chocolates, you want to be careful that there’s no nasty coconut underneath.
Take T-Mobile for example. As with past years, the magenta ones are offering any smartphone for free. That’s right, even the high-end HTC Radar 4G or the Samsung Galaxy S II. This year, however, they’re allowing users on their Classic and Value Plan users to take advantage. In the past, this plan had only been open to Value Plan users. Not only that, but tablets are included as well. While tablets have a slightly higher month-to-month cost, an initial cost of free could tempt some buyers. Just be sure to do the math and make sure that being locked into that rate for two years isn’t pricier than buying it outright.
Sprint has surprised some by launching an Early Upgrade program. I’ve got a chart below, but it’s insanely hard to read (nice design choice, Sprint). Essentially, if you’re locked into a plan and want to take advantage of some of the new phones that have come out, you can sidestep the early termination fee and instead pay based on how long it’s been since your last upgrade, with a minimum of eight months. You also have to buy the phone at a Sprint Corporate Store, can’t have a corporate account, must have an account in good standing, and you can’t be using it for an iDen device, Airave personal hotspot, or a tablet.
It’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but if you’re stuck on contract, this is a good option if you just can’t wait for that new phone. Although, a better and cheaper option might just be buying a used smartphone on eBay or Craigslist.
(That’s actually an important OtC tip: Remember, you can switch out a phone on your account at any time for no charge, on any provider)
Not to be outdone, the largest provider in the U.S. also wants your money. Verizon is offering double data. This means you get 4 GB of their 4G LG data before they throttle you, for the same price as you’d pay for 2 GB. To be blunt, I don’t think anyone who reads an article on cheap tech options should be going for Verizon. I find them to be exceptionally overpriced and their phones tend to skew to the pricier end of the spectrum when bought directly. However, if you have a good corporate discount, they can be worth it. One huge advantage of this sale over the other two is Verizon doesn’t care where you buy the phone. You can use a third party and get double the data, as long as you sign up. That means cheaper prices on sites like Lets Talk, Amazon, and Wirefly are worth looking into.
Keep an eye on those third parties too. Even big box retailers like Best Buy offer good deals. You may even be able to find a good deal on AT&T phones, as they don’t seem to be offering any specials this weekend.
That’s right, you heard it here first. AT&T hates love.
About Mordechai Osdoby
One of the co-founders of Techcitement, Mordechai is a man whose obsession with tech once led his wife to refer to a laptop as "the other woman".