By Taylor Martin | April 26, 2013 7:00 AM
A lot of factors play in a decision that ends in you agreeing to keep a service in good standing for upwards of two years.
Each and every time I go to upgrade one of my lines, it gives me pause. There’s just something daunting about signing a two-year agreement, something that makes you think, “My contract will end soon. Is it time to shop around again?”
My first cell phone was a Motorola T720c (dumb phone) through Alltel. It was a hand-me-down that my mother had used for about a year. I was 14 and I was in a band, playing shows almost every weekend and spending a lot of time away from home … sometimes for days at a time. My mother wanted to keep tabs on me, so she went in to the local Alltel store, added a line to the account, got herself a new phone and gave me her old one.
I stayed with Alltel until the end. In mid-2008, Alltel was purchased by Verizon, and we were taken under the wing of Big Red … mostly unwillingly. My mother put up a serious fight – she wanted to keep “her Alltel.”
But we’ve stuck with Verizon ever since. At the time, we lived in a mostly rural area, where Verizon was practically a monopoly. AT&T service was virtually nonexistent. And Sprint and T-Mobile had almost no presence.
I’ve since moved to a (mostly) metropolitan area of North Carolina, in a suburb of Charlotte, where all four carriers have a fairly strong presence. And I’ve now had an account with them all at least once. I currently have a line on Verizon, AT&T and one on T-Mobile.
So how did I choose my carrier(s)?
Well, technically, I didn’t … I just tried them all and now have accounts with three out of the major four carriers. Brute force?
I have kept the Verizon line open since my family and most the people from back home use Verizon. I’m part of a family plan with my mother, sister and grandmother. When I worked in wireless retail, I opened discounted ANR lines with both AT&T and Sprint. When I quit, I surrendered my lines. So I went to T-Mobile, since they didn’t require a credit check, and used it for about a year. I temporarily moved back to my hometown, where I was limited to EDGE on T-Mobile, so I opened an AT&T account.
I guess you could say pricing was the big selling feature of T-Mobile at the time. And keeping a $40 per month line open on Verizon was a no-brainer. But coverage and the Lumia 900 were the core reasons I chose AT&T.
Tell me, readers. What was it that made you choose your carrier? Was it the pricing? The coverage in your area? Data speeds? A specific phone? Do all your friends and family use that carrier, too?