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When is the best time to switch phone carriers

With carriers constantly battling for your business, when is the optimal time to switch providers and score the best phone plan deal? Here are some of the best times to make a carrier change:

When Your Contract Expires
If you’re currently under contract with your existing carrier, wait until it expires. This avoids expensive early termination fees that negate any savings from switching. As your contract end date nears, research new carrier options so you’re ready to make a change as soon as possible.

During New Customer Promotions
Carriers regularly run promotions to entice new customers and win over switchers. Keep an eye out for deals like unlimited data for the first 3 months or up to $800 to pay off your old device when you switch. Signing up during new customer sales events can score you deep discounts.

When Your Bill Increases
Review your wireless bill annually or whenever your contract renews. Look for unjustified rate hikes, added fees, or removal of discounts like employer discounts. Locking in a lower price with a competitor is an easy way to cut costs if your current carrier increases your bill unexpectedly.

Before a Big Phone Launch
In the weeks leading up to major phone releases like the latest iPhone or Galaxy S model, carriers deploy aggressive deals to gain and retain subscribers. Look for big trade-in credits, discounted or free flagship devices, and plan promotions.

When Carrier Upgrades Networks As carriers expand their network coverage and launch new technology like 5G, they’ll offer incentives for new and existing users to take advantage. For example when 5G rolled out, T-Mobile offered special Discounts and free 5G device upgrades to gain and keep customers.

After Moving Locations
If you’re relocating, your old carrier may not be the best fit in your new area in terms of coverage and performance. Run service checks on different providers in the new neighborhood before deciding whether to stick with your current carrier or capitalize on new customer promotions from competitors.

When Traveling Frequently Those who travel domestically often should switch to a national carrier like Verizon or AT&T for wider network coverage. And frequent international travelers may want to switch to T-Mobile or Google Fi for free high-speed roaming data in 200+ countries.

When Bundling Services Some carriers like Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile offer discounts when you bundle wireless with existing internet or cable TV services. Adding a mobile plan to your current services could yield monthly savings and convenience having all utilities on a single bill.

During Major Life Events Having a baby, getting married, graduating college, or retiring are all convenient times to re-evaluate your wireless needs. You may be able to save by adding family members to a shared plan or taking advantage of new wireless deals aimed at students, seniors, veterans, nurses, teachers etc.

To get the most savings when switching carriers, timing is key. Do your research to see which promotions different carriers are offering and align your switch with new customer incentives and exclusive discounts. As long as you’re not under contract, it never hurts to explore your options and capitalize at the right moments.

Updated: November 13, 2023 — 5:59 pm

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