There's a lot going on at the nation's carriers this month! Much of what's happening may be the result of T-Mobile's aggressive Un-Carrier marketing strategies but regardless of the spark that may mark the beginning of carrier wars, you the consumer win in the end! Read on to see what deals the carriers have for you on plans and phones this month.
First up, Sprint Spark. The Yellow carrier (they all have a color) is rolling out its upgraded 4G LTE network which is said to be able to reach theoretical speeds upwards of 60Mbps. Here in Los Angeles, you should be able to see some Spark love and we're working on getting some review devices to tell you just how well (or not) the city is covered in the latest wireless tech. Sprint has 10 devices on the network which are Spark capable, among them, one of my favorites, the LG G2. So, if you're a G2 owner, drop a comment below and let me know what your Sprint coverage is looking like with the upgrades here in L.A. Stay plugged in for my review of the network in the coming weeks.
Merged But Competing
MetroPCS isn't letting T-Mobile have all the fun and recently announced that they're offering all of their 4G smartphones for just $29, mated with their $40 plans which include unlimited data, talk and text which includes taxes and fees. Two points to consider before making the jump... the network and the phone selection. Only 4 phones in Metro's lineup qualify under this deal. Of those, I'd stick with the LG Optimus L9 and if you're a Windows Phone fan, the Nokia Lumia 521. As far as the network, this is not their LTE network, but the 4G network which, is really T-Mobile's 4G aka HSPA+ network. So, what does all that gibberish mean for you as a consumer? You're going to want to make sure that you're getting a good signal with that HSPA+ network during the trial period; you should be doing that with any carrier you're thinking about switching to anyway. If you're fine with those phones choices and MetroPCS' 4G/HSPA+ network works for you, party on!
Captain of the UnCarrier Wars
T-Mobile made a huge announcement at the beginning of this month... they'll pay your early termination fees if you switch to them from another carrier and trade in your old phone. Now, there is a bunch of small print on this one -your phone must be an eligible phone- but under the best circumstances you could qualify for as much as $650 per line though it may take you a few weeks to get your money so you better have those bills and ETFs covered when you switch. And if you're going to make the switch you'll have some great phones to come over to with the launch of the curved display LG G Flex in the beginning of February and Sony's Xperia ZIs which are both set to be pretty awesome devices!
And I'd be remiss if I didn't also offer up this T-Mobile tidbit: if you're using check cashing places and their debit cards, T-Mobile wants to help you keep it all under one roof and is now offer a new service called Mobile Money by T-Mobile. From their press release, "Mobile Money helps counter that trend with the combination of a simple, smartphone money management application designed for use with a reloadable T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card that offers $0 cost or reduced fee services for registered T-Mobile wireless customers. That means no charges for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, overdraft, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. Mobile Money also lets customers enjoy everything traditional checking accounts offer, including direct depositing paychecks, depositing checks from capable smartphone cameras, making retail purchases, paying bills and withdrawing cash from more than 42,000 in-network ATMs nationwide with no ATM fees." I don't know about this one, but it could be a good thing. If you take them up on this offer, tweet me, hit me up on Google+, send up smoke signals and let me know how it works out for you!
AT&T, Verizon Are Still In The Game
With the smartphone wars upon us, you may also check with Verizon and AT&T if you're considering leaving their networks for one of the less expensive carriers. AT&T is currently offering customers up to $450 for leaving T-Mobile (AT&T was just ranked 1st or tied for 1st in call, text, data performance by RootMetrics here in L.A. & Riverside) and Verizon has specials which may help lower your phone bill. Just the other day, I was helping my own Mother-In-Law out and checking to make sure she had the best current plan for her use and ended up being able to take advantage of a promotion Big Red has that is going to save her $30 a month on her bill. You know I earned some points with that one and brownie points with the MIL are never a bad thing!