Why Did You Choose Your Carrier?


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?


The Pocketnow TLDR is a series of sub-500-word editorials aimed at getting you in, out, and back to life. Comment is always invited below, as well as on FacebookTwitter, and Google Plus.

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About The Author
Taylor Martin
Based out of Charlotte, NC, Taylor Martin started writing about technology in 2009 while working in wireless retail. He has used BlackBerry off and on for over seven years, Android for nearly four years, iOS for three years, and has experimented with both webOS and Windows Phone. Taylor has reviewed countless smartphones and tablets, and doesn't go anywhere without a couple gadgets in his pockets or "nerd bag." In his free time, Taylor enjoys playing disc golf with friends, rock climbing, and playing video games. He also enjoys the occasional hockey game, and would do unspeakable things for some salmon nigiri. For more on Taylor Martin, checkout his Pocketnow Insider edition. | Google+