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

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