Carrier Contracts: What's Your Opinion?

Discussion in 'The Water Cooler' started by Mitchell_A, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Worldwide, contracts are the popular route for clients to take with cellular operators. And what's not to love? Carriers will often times "give" you the latest phone for $0. That's great, considering it may otherwise cost upwards of $600. However, you'll be obligated to sign a 36 month contract in order to take advantage of said hardware deal. Well three years doesn't sound so bad either, does it? In the average run of life, it's a small fraction. However, in the world of technology, new technologies are released daily, with major breakthroughs sometimes occurring more than once a year - not to mention the mobile device your carrier sells you today is in many instances already several months old, sometimes as many as six.

    I myself am locked into a 36 month contract for another 21 months, with a Windows Phone device which was originally released in November 2010, I signed off in December. While I have the cheapest plan (a promo at the time), made for students with more data and minutes than other "Fab 10" plans on my carrier (Bell Canada), it still runs me $77 a month, taxes in with call display and voicemail included. I'm "OK" with paying that for 3 years, although I will of course change my rate plan if I see fit. That's not my issue at all. But my device (of which I actually have two, picked an extra up from a BBM addicted friend who migrated back to the failing platform) is beginning to show it's age. Loaded with a 1 GHZ processor, it still packs lots of "punch" in terms of performance, but the newer Windows Phone "Mango" devices with 1.4 GHZ and similar processors outperform the general performance of first gen devices. The device is also showing it's age physically - after being dropped several times, it's has nicks on the body, scratches on the screen and battery compartment. Despite being a great platform that still gets questions and compliments from anyone who uses my phone, the actual device itself looks like a piece of ****. I have ordered a complete new body and screen for the phone, to make it looks completely new for about $50.

    My carrier offers me an upgrade when I have 12 months remaining: Get a brand new phone for the 3-year signing price, and sign another 3 year contract (5 years, WTF. I can see how they manage to keep people with them). Which really isn't a bad deal, except for the fact that you have to sign for another three years, but get an upgrade every 2. I kind of see it as a lifetime lock-in for interested customers.

    I know that once my contract does expire (dependant on if I take the upgrade), I will never sign another three year contract. That said, the discount on the device is so low for 1/2 contracts that I'll likely never sign another mobility contract for the rest of my life, but rather purchase the device up front and pay monthly, with no requirement of sticking with my device OR carrier for extended periods of time.

    What does everyone else think on the entire deal? I'm interested to hear and hope this starts a productive discussion. :)
     
  2. catilley1092

    catilley1092 Extraordinary Member

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    I don't like carrier contracts & suppose that's why I chose Cricket as my provider. No contracts, no activation fees, no bull. And usually, the phones (of the data type) are less than $200, some just over $100.

    Just pay for what you want each month & go. Now, they don't offer the latest & greatest phones, but at least I can cancel my service with no penalty. Actually, I use a phone for a phone & a computer for a computer (for the most part). But I get close to my 5GB monthly allowance, after which there's no overage, but the network will slow to a crawl.

    Cat
     
  3. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Interesting. I believe there is similar carriers in Canada, and if Bell does not have any suitable devices at my time of upgrade eligibility, I will probably wait until my contract is over, and migrate.
     
  4. whs

    whs Extraordinary Member

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    Anything that locks you in for more than 3 months should be avoided. As mentioned, the technology moves so fast that yesterday's good deal may look dull tomorrow. Look for the deal that gives you best flexibility - not best price as of today. That may be expensive tomorrow.
     

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