New Perks From AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile: Cheaper Data and Free Netflix
Ever since Verizon Wireless announced it’s doing away with contracts and changing its data plans, other wireless carriers have upped the ante to fiercely battle for your business.
And guess what that means? Big opportunities to save!
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and other carriers are offering great deals to entice new customers to switch to their plans. If you’re not ready to ditch your cell phone plan altogether, it’s worth looking into whether you can take advantage of any of these offers, especially if you’re willing to compare cell phone plans and consider switching providers.
So check out these new options! And if you hear of other offers that have popped up as a result of the so-called “wireless wars,” we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
AT&T Revamps Its Data Plans
After Verizon announced its plan changes, AT&T jumped in the lower price game and changed its plans as well, a move that could help you save. AT&T has simplified its data plan offerings and dropped rates on certain plans, while adding additional free data to other plans.
For example, the carrier has added data to its 10 GB plan, without raising the price. That plan now includes 15 GB, but the price remains the same at $100 per month. AT&T's other new options include 300 MB for $20, 2 GB for $30, and 5 GB for $50.
The carrier dropped the 1 GB option (which formerly cost $25) and now lets you double the data to 2 GB for just $5 more ($30).
However, the “per line” charge for smaller data plans are $25 per line per month versus $15 for larger data plans, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to add several lines for family members.
Another appealing option for savings is the 20 GB plan, which has dropped in price by $10 per month, down to $140 per month. Select this plan and you'll save $120 per year while still having access to the same amount of data.
Get Free Netflix With Your New Phone
If you're looking to snag a Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge +, both of which are due to be released on August 21, you’ll get a fun bonus if you go with T-Mobile.
With five major U.S. carriers offering the hotly anticipated new phone, T-Mobile is hoping to win your business by offering a free year of Netflix when you buy one of those two phones.
Save on International Voice, Text and Data
Several providers have sweetened the deal with international voice, text and data additions. This is ideal for anyone who communicates often with friends or family outside the U.S. or travels to the countries listed below.
Here’s what several carriers now offer:
Sprint’s International Deals
Open World is a new, free add-on available for Sprint domestic service plans.
This program offers cost savings for travelers or those who live near the Mexican and Canadian borders. It provides free roaming in Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay.
If you travel in those countries, you’ll also get 1 GB of free data, which is enough to send hundreds of photos to family and friends, catch up on emails, and download music for the airplane. If you need more data, an additional GB costs $30, but you only pay for what you use with a prorated fee.
The carrier also offers calls to more than 180 countries starting at just 5 cents per minute. And in many parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, data is $30 per MB, texting is free, and calls are 20 cents per minute, which can add up to meaningful savings if you spend a lot of time overseas.
T-Mobile’s International Deals
Just last month, T-Mobile announced free roaming in Canada and Mexico for anyone who commits to their Simple Choice plans.
This perk lets you visit friends and family in those countries and go on vacation without worrying about your phone bill. Voice, text and high-speed data charges are free in North America.
"We just created one giant country in North America,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere told PC Magazine. This gives you the freedom to roam and communicate freely throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
AT&T’s International Deals
Customers with AT&T can now enjoy free calls to Canada and Mexico.
Call a friend in Toronto and text your aunt in Puebla without running up your bill. If you purchase a 15 GB or higher plan, you’ll have both unlimited talk and text to both countries, which can be a significant cost savings if you spend a lot of time communicating with people who live in those countries.
Get a Refund If Your Cell Provider Was “Cramming”
If you've ever had a mysterious charge on your wireless phone bill, you may be due for a refund from your carrier.
You've probably heard of texting a certain code to a certain number to make a donation to the Red Cross or another charity, but sometimes unscrupulous companies use this system to rack up your bill with unauthorized charges.
Typically, these charges are under $10 a month and many people don't even notice they're added. Oftentimes, they’re for “premium text message subscriptions” such as horoscopes, sports scores or trivia.
Several carriers have reached settlements recently with state attorney generals and federal authorities over these unauthorized charges. This means you could be eligible for a refund.
If you've had unauthorized third-party charges on your Verizon bill since July 1, 2010, submit a refund claim by December 31.
If you're a Sprint customer with unauthorized third-party charges on your bill since July 1, 2010, submit your refund claim by December 31.
And to prevent any further unauthorized charges, call your carrier and ask them to block third-party charges from your account. Many companies will allow you to block these charges before they even pop up on your bill.
Negotiate Your Cell Phone Bill
If none of these options apply to you, you’ve still got one more avenue for decreasing your bill: call your carrier and negotiate with them. They know you’ve got lots of options for providers, so they might be willing to work with you. It never hurts to compare cell phone plans!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to negotiating your monthly bills.
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.