Why I’m Switching to T-Mobile

I distinctly remember the day I signed up for AT&T. It was 2009 and I had just woken up to find my Palm Treo nonresponsive. Rather than try to plead some sort of case for replacement to my then-carrier Sprint, I headed down to my local Apple Store and purchased an iPhone 3G — which you may recall was exclusive to AT&T at the time. Ever since that day a decade ago, I’ve stayed with the company for really no good reason other than it was convenient.

Well, it seems that’s about to change. Sometime last week, I got it in my head that I should take another look at our monthly expenses and see where else we could be saving money. To be sure, it’s certainly not like my wife and I hadn’t done this before — it’s just that, as I wrote about in my column this week, there have been certain bills we’ve just taken for granted. Among the cuts I made this time were downgrading our Sirius XM subscription, potentially changing our car insurance provider, and now switching our cell phone service.

I’ll be honest and say that the decision to leave AT&T was not taken lightly. And, to be clear, we had no issues with the service other than the price. It’s really just that T-Mobile has a slew of enticing features that make a lot of sense for our lifestyle.

To start, something I’ve heard about for some time is that T-Mobile allows customers to utilize their unlimited texting and data plans while traveling in several countries around the world for free (voice calls will cost you, though). It turns out that, with the standard T-Mobile One plan, this free roaming data is limited to 2G speeds. That said, with the pricier One Plus plan, that gets upgraded to 4G where available. Similarly, the One Plus plan entitles you to free Gogo In-Flight WiFi on your device, whereas the standard plan only offers you a free hour. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at how much in-flight WiFi goes for, but that could amount to a huge discount.

Granted, for as much as we travel, we’ve never bothered to pay for in-flight WiFi, so this can’t really be counted as savings. However, the roaming data is another story and will probably save us between $10 to $20 a day while we’re traveling. Considering that we already have one overseas excursion booked this year and another in the works, these savings alone seem the make the switch worth it.

The downside is that, with these upgrades in consideration, the monthly price difference between T-Mobile and AT&T isn’t as significant as it once seemed. That’s when I remembered the company’s “Netflix on Us” promotion that comps your standard subscription for the streaming service. In other words, while that $10+ savings might not show on our phone bill, it will cut another recurring expense we have.

As of right now, we have yet to officially make the switch, but we are in the process of getting everything in order (the credit check requirement means we need to temporarily thaw our credit). With our next international trip scheduled for March, I’m looking forward to trying out both the Gogo WiFi and the free roaming data then. Of course, I’ll report back with my findings after that and let you know if it was all worth it. In the meantime, what expenses do you have that you may be taking for granted? I’d love to know!


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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