Cell phone contracts – Who’s got the best fine print?

One of the few magazines I still subscribe to is Popular Mechanics. The latest issue had a very interesting comparison of contracts that cell phone companies make you sign when you subscribe to the service. What they compared is not the minutes or rates - things you typically pay attention to. Instead they looked at the less noticeable numbers, the ones however that can turn out to be just as important when you shop for the best plan. Here they are, listed for the major carriers.

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon
What is the early termination fee? $175/ prorated $200/not prorated $200/not prorated $175/ prorated
How long is the trial period? 30 days 30 days 14 days 30 days
Will changes to my plan extend the contract? No (*) Yes (**) No (*) No (*)
Any rollover minutes? Yes (***) No No No
Notes: (*) - No, unless switching to a promotional plan
(**) - Yes, after first six months
(***) - Yes, but they expire after one year

See also:

2 Responses to “Cell phone contracts – Who’s got the best fine print?”

  1. 1 Barbara Stapf Feb 15th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    The Verizon info is misleading. If you change anything in your plan (up or down) they start your 2 year contract over again. The only way it would’t change is if you went to the most basic plan with no features. Anything they have that is worthwhile they consider a promotional plan. They don’t even publish or promote what they consider their base plans.

  2. 2 Sean Oct 18th, 2008 at 8:45 am

    T-Mobile also extends your contract for 12 months, if you have less than 12 months remaining in your contract. It doesn’t effect your phone upgrade eligibility.

Leave a Reply