– Ben Martens

Switching Carriers

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer since 2000, partly because I like their coverage and partly because the companies I’ve worked for have always had employee discounts with them. When we were part way through the pandemic, I started wondering why we were paying so much for cell phones when we hardly ever left the house. We had the minimum 2GB plan (shared between both of us) but it was still $83/month. I have known about Xfinity Mobile for a long time but never really dug into it until recently. I should have considered it more seriously months ago! This week, we get our new SIM cards and we’ll be switching over. I dropped down to 1GB shared between the two of us but the grand total for our bill after all taxes, fees, etc? $19.70.

So what’s the catch? The first big one is that if you’re already an Xfinity customer (they provide our internet) then they don’t charge you anything per line. You basically get unlimited calling and messaging for “free” but you have to add on some kind of data. The smallest one is the 1GB chunk for $15/month before taxes and fees. Their service also only works with certain phones. If you’ve got Samsung you’re out of luck but it looked like most recent Google and Apple devices were available.

Here are some reasons why I was willing to give it a shot:

  • Xfinity Mobile is a Verizon MVNO which basically means that they use Verizon’s infrastructure but sell their own service. I should get the same cell coverage that I did before. One downside is that Verizon does have the right to throttle MVNO usage on their network but I’m hoping/expecting that won’t be a problem.
  • There are no contracts. I can change my mind and go back to Verizon at any point.
  • I can adjust my data allotment by the month. 1GB is $15, 3GB is $30, 10GB is $60 and unlimited pricing varies by the number of lines you have but for us it would be $80. So even if we go all the way to unlimited, that’s within a couple dollars of being the same amount that I’m paying right now for 2GB of data on Verizon. (Note that “unlimited” applies to the first 20GB per line and then you are throttled to 1.5 down and 768kbps up.)
  • Some day Elijah will have a phone and this makes it a lot cheaper to add him on. It’s also easier if we want to start adding some tablets, watches, etc on to the plan. Those aren’t all totally free to add on but they’re cheaper than Verizon.
  • They have a deal right now for a $25 prepaid card per line when you switch so that’s $50. Plus I ended up doing it over the phone because I started by asking some questions and agreed to let him get the sale. He tossed in an extra $25 credit since I’ve been an Xfinity customer for a long time.
  • 5G is included. We don’t have 5G phones now but it’s nice to know there’s no goofy “with or without” 5G plan options.

We’ll see if I regret this in the future but even if I use this but it’s going to have to be pretty bad for me to want to pay that much more to go back to my old Verizon contract. As we start to think about traveling again, I’m excited to have the option of easily going to unlimited data for a month and then flipping to a lower setting when we get back.