PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to getting a new cell phone, things are looking up for consumers.
You no longer need to sign a two-year contract and be tied to just one company.
Many consumers are opting for no-contract plans, and they’re saving money in the process.
Christine Iwanski ditched her phone with Verizon. She became a free agent by signing up for a pay-as-you-go plan with a small company called Ting, which uses the Sprint network.
“I love it. I can use as many minutes as I want and I’m not locked into a certain amount each month,” says Iwanski.
Her bills went from $120 a month with Verizon to around $45 a month with her new plan with Ting. She did have to pay for a new phone out of pocket, which set her back $400. However, she used her tax refund to buy it.
Based on her savings each month, she basically paid off the phone in just five months with her new no-contract plan.
“It makes up for having to pay for the phone outright because of how much I am saving each month,” says Iwanski.
With a traditional two-year plan, consumers can get a new phone for free or at a discount, but they need to sign a contract and pay termination fees if they decide to leave early.
David Lazarus, a consumer columnist for the L.A. Times, says with no contract plans, wireless companies now have to compete for customers’ business.
“They need to have lower prices, faster speeds, greater reliability or you are going to leave,” says Lazarus.
Plenty of consumer are now choosing to go with no-contract plans. According to CTIA – The Wireless Association, 23 percent of wireless users have pay-as-you-go plans. There were 76 million no-contract subscribers in 2012, up from 71 million in 2011.
Iwanski says the best part is knowing she can leave at any moment if she’s not happy with her service.
“I like that I can choose another carrier and not get hit with a $175 termination fee, if I want to get another carrier.”