For months now I’ve been handwringing about our wireless bills. I’ve been trying to cut our monthly expenses and our cell phone plans just keep smacking me in the face, but I’m hooked on my iPhone and haven’t been sure what my options are for spending less. I was overwhelmed with the idea of searching each provider’s site for their rate information, but then I came across the site Myrateplan.com, which allows you to put in your needs (minutes, texts, and data) and compare plans by providers.
My husband and I spend about $170 each month (on two individual plans), including taxes, for our iPhones on AT&T. That covers the phone minutes, texts, and data we use. Most new plans offer unlimited talk and text, so we would just be deciding how much data to sign up for. I knew an AT&T Family Share plan would only save us about $10/mo, but would give us the option of adding family or friends to our shared plan to bring costs down further. So that was the bar that MyRatePlan has to help us beat.
How well did it work?
The website also compares home phone service, bank accounts, credit cards, and more, but it first pops up to the cell phone page. It was easy to select my preferred phone (to ensure it eliminated plans that don’t work for that phone), and my current plan details and price. You can choose to search plans with contracts, no contracts, or both.
When comparing plans, the website shows each plan provider, the plan details, the monthly cost of the plan, and your cumulative savings (over two years) from your current plan. It also displays the cost of the phone based on your choice (i.e. an iPhone might be discounted to $99 for a provider that offers a two-year contract, but would cost $650 with a no contract plan), but does not take this phone cost difference into account when showing your “two year savings,” and in many cases that difference would be almost a wash. For example, when looking at my own individual plan, the website showed that I could save $600 over two years by switching to a Straight Talk Unlimited plan costing $45/mo. However, the phone would cost me $650 (and my current phone is a sunk cost), so that option would only save me money if I chose to hack my current phone, or buy one used, in order to take advantage of the cheaper plan.
Clicking on “details” for any plan listed will take you to fairly comprehensive info for comparing, including a “cost breakdown” page which even included one carrier’s $36 one-time activation fee for a new phone. The “phones” page shows the cost of many different phones available for each listed plan (however, when comparing AT&T Family Share plans, I noticed the iPhone 5S was listed at $99 on the results page but $199 on the details page). So it appears that while they are relatively thorough with comparing all applicable fees, of course you should confirm all costs and prices with your prospective carrier before making any purchases or signing any contracts.
The website reports that it receives compensation from the companies featured, and clicking on “purchase this plan” will take you directly to that company’s website.
The website was overall helpful in being a one-stop-shopping place to compare cell phone plans. But in the end, it turns out that the cheaper plans (on smaller carriers, and with no contracts) end up costing the same amount (when taking into account the cost of the phone). And the plans on the big national carriers are on par with what we’re paying now. So our best bets are to add a family member and ensure we keep using all our tips and tricks to keep cell bills low.
How have you saved money on cell phone plans?