Hello Metro

Yesterday, I went to my local MetroPCS store and officially ended my seven year relationship with T-Mobile.

Why?

You probably expect me to flash dollar signs at you and I will, but that is not the first and foremost reason I ended my relationship with T-Mobile. It all started over a year ago. I was at the point, in my fifth year as a customer of theirs and until then was very happy with their phone service and customer service. The price was pretty good compared to the carriers of their caliber– AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, etc.

But then, my Sidekick Slide started to act funny. It took over four months of back and forth phones and customer service calls and different people spinning different stories when I finally got fed up. Last summer, I stripped my line down to the basics and got a super basic and cheap little phone. I asked when my contract would expire and made a mental note to explore other options at that point.

I absolutely hate the fact that the only time my five year relationship with T-Mobile became something worth meriting their attention was when I expressed the feeling to cancel. It did nothing to improve their crappy device solutions. It did nothing to improve the constant network issues. It did nothing to improve anything except giving a rep a chance to up-sell me again.

My contract ended yesterday and I was ready. I’d done some shopping around over the past several months, and had talked to lots of people about the different types of service they experience with different carriers.

Imagine my surprise when again and again, people were singing the praises of none other than– MetroPCS. Metro had not enjoyed a great reputation around here for a long time. As a matter of fact, I knew several people who referred to them as Metro Piece of Crap Service. Not nice. But, Metro’s done a lot over the past few years to improve their network and their devices and the big carriers should be quaking in their boots.

Friend has his phone on my account so we could take advantage of what ended up being some pithy discounts T-Mobile had offered. His contract wasn’t due to terminate until April of next year and so moving him with me would incur a $200 early cancellation fee. This usually gives most people pause. I mean $200? To cancel?

But, what if paying the $200 cancellation AND buying a new phone actually ended up being way cheaper than riding the contract out until it expired?

And there lay the final rub. My bill at T-Mobile for both of our lines was $177.12 this month. This is for:

  • Unlimited calls on both phones
  • Unlimited text on both phones
  • Unlimited web and Blackberry service on 1 phone
  • Insurance on 1 phone
  • Taxes and Fees up the ying yang on both phones

My bill at Metro PCS is $102.00 a month and doesn’t come with a contract. This is for:

  • Unlimited calls on both phones
  • Unlimited text on both phones
  • Unlimited web on both phones
  • Insurance on both phones (I only do this for a few months then it’s not worth it)
  • Back-up services on both phones
  • Taxes and fees on both phones

I am saving $75 a month and am receiving upgraded services and phones (I. Love. Android.).

I actually called T-Mobile to see how much it would be to let Friend’s phone ride out the contract alone. I never got a concrete answer but was told it’d be $100 before taxes and fees. Let’s say those come to another $15 (I’ve been told 15% is a good estimate) and I would’ve had a $115 bill for another 7 months. Friend’s line at Metro comes to $51 a month which means I’m saving $64 a month or $448.

But Mutant what about that cancellation fee? And you had to buy a new phone! What about that cost?

Yes and Yes. Cancellation fee came to $200 so my savings are now $248. Because I was buying a second phone, his android phone came to $84.53 after taxes. So with these two expenses, I am still saving $163.47 in moving him over. Yes, it’s a big amount up-front.

MetroPCS makes you pre-pay and T-Mobile charges you retroactively so you are paying two monthly bills for two months while T-Mobile finishes catching up. And you have to pay the cancellation fee too. Plus the cost of new phones. But, the savings are there and if you can afford the up-front cost it’s a no-brainer. I’d been saving money for this because I knew it was coming. I’m proud of myself for being able to afford a money-saving change like this. And there is room to downgrade should I be beset by a financial crisis. My plan is the second most expensive one at MetroPCS.

It wasn’t too long ago I would’ve been trapped with T-Mobile because I wouldn’t have been able to set aside the money for this kind of long-term savings. I honestly probably wouldn’t even have looked past a $200 cancellation fee.

And this is the type of experience that makes me feel, more than any chart or meter can do, that I am on the right track. I’ve been writing a lot on the why’s of debt management and re-payment lately. And I think where I start to break away from the rest of the pack is that I am not interested in being debt-free for moral reasons, or because it’s what I “should” do, or because a lot of other people are doing it, or because I’m interested in a minimal and/or frugal lifestyle (I’m not).

For me, the single most important reason I do this is because I am learning real and true control over my money. I am learning to control how it comes in and how it goes out. I am learning how to reduce the outage in one area to increase the outage in another area. I am learning to make goals, to prioritize, to make meaningful decisions. I am learning gratitude for my hard-earned dollars, instead of having a sense of entitlement. I am learning to choose what is important for me and to disregard by and large what is important for the rest of the pack.

Is being debt-free important to me? Yes. But, being debt-free is not the most important thing to me. Making smart choices on the path to being debt-free is what I truly value. And also, it’s worth mentioning I don’t see Debt-Free as a destination. For me, it’s only part of a journey. That understanding makes it easier to widen my range of vision when it comes to managing my money.

What about you? Have you recently made changes with your cell phone? Have you learned things about yourself in ways you wouldn’t have thought?

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13 thoughts on “Hello Metro

  1. We did the same! Hubby had T-Mobile for nearly a decade and he is now with MetroPCS. He pays $45/month for unlimited everything compared to what he paid at T-Mobile for the same, but with more add-ons that he was told were necessary TO have the ‘unlimited everything’ options. His monthly service was around $100 or so, so we discontinued the service. I currently have AT&T, which I switched to them from Sprint upon relocating from Miami to Atlanta six years ago. Sprint service in Miami was great, but in Georgia where you’re surrounded by wooded areas which make up your front, side and back lawn space, the service was utter crap. My company offers a 35% discount off monthly service for AT&T (compared to 25% for Sprint) and this is why I switched. However, I got the iPhone last year and now my monthly bill is $99.99 (a laugh with that one, right?) for a basic plan. If it weren’t for my roll-over minutes I’ve accrued this year, I’d probably spend 10x that monthly amount because I go over the basic 450-minutes I signed up for when I got the iPhone (450 minutes is the lowest and cheapest plan). My contract is about to end and I, too will be switching to Metro and making it a family plan. Although I’m an iPhone enthusiast, I can hang with a Droid as well. I love them both! My reasoning for the iPhone are the photography apps…but, the Droid has the same. 🙂 Cheaper is always better!

    Reply
  2. When I graduated, my parents decided it was time for me to pay all my own bills, including cell phone. It didn’t take long for me to turn off the web features. I had to buy a new phone to do it though. My savings are $35/month, and the new phone cost around $150, even for something not-so-great. But, I figured out that it wouldn’t take too many months for me to be saving money, and I quite like not having to see emails on my phone when I see them all day at work anyway.

    I am going to look into metro PCS, but with 4 of us on one plan, it seems really hard to switch providers…

    Reply
  3. I am counting the days until our plan with att is done. If it wasnt a 5 line family plan I would have already cancelled it. Although my son is cancelling his and going with net 10. The price for cancelling the 4 lines would just be to much. So I will ride it out til may then they are gone

    judy

    Reply
  4. Good for you! I’ll probably be done with T-Mobile as soon as my contract expire. When my husband and I went to renew the contracts a year and a half ago, we got the dumbest store employee I’ve ever encountered, who tried to charge me for a phone that said very clearly “Free with a 2 year subscription”. I let it pass, but 7 month later, I discovered they had been billing me for phone insurance when I had never asked for it, nor was it in any paperwork. I called, talk to a customer service representative, then to a supervisor, and they only agreed to refund me for 3 month, because “it’s your fault if you do not check your bills”. That’s what I got for going green and paperless. I said OK, and that they had just lost a customer.

    Reply
  5. We’ve got cheap regular phones with the cheap monthly plan. #2… you will not believe this, but #2 has a landline and no cell phone. I’m not really sure how she went through the job market with that situation, but she got a job so it worked out.

    Reply
  6. This:
    “the single most important reason I do this is because I am learning real and true control over my money. I am learning to control how it comes in and how it goes out. I am learning how to reduce the outage in one area to increase the outage in another area. I am learning to make goals, to prioritize, to make meaningful decisions. I am learning gratitude for my hard-earned dollars, instead of having a sense of entitlement. I am learning to choose what is important for me and to disregard by and large what is important for the rest of the pack.

    Is being debt-free important to me? Yes. But, being debt-free is not the most important thing to me. Making smart choices on the path to being debt-free is what I truly value. And also, it’s worth mentioning I don’t see Debt-Free as a destination. For me, it’s only part of a journey. That understanding makes it easier to widen my range of vision when it comes to managing my money.”

    is why I read your site..

    I switched to an HTC Incredible droid phone from my former blackberry earlier this summer. I miss my BB terribly just for the keypad. I could have written a novel on that thing. And sometimes did.. But the droid apps are cool.

    Reply
    • Thank you jacq. There are some android phones with keyboards. I’m blown away by the apps. Supposedly I get a $15 gift card for Amazon apps with a rebate on this phone. Until that comes in, i’m playing with the free stuff.

      Reply

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