Ready for a smartphone upgrade? The pace of innovation in mobile devices means new features and improved functions come to market all the time, and that means those standard two-year contracts can feel way too long.
You don’t want to be locked into a device that quickly becomes yesterday’s hottest thing. So, how can you keep up with the latest and still have flexibility and affordability? The good news is there are more options today than ever before, so check out just a few of the following:
- Prepaid Phones
The great thing about this option is that there is no bill after the fact. This can help you be in control and know you’re never going to get a surprisingly high bill at the end of the month. In general, you can bring whatever phone you have to this type of service. All you need to do is slip in a new SIM and you’re set. There are companies that specialize like Tracfone, and some big carriers offer these plans as well. However, this can be expensive if you always want the latest smartphone because you don’t get the great deals major carriers provide on new tech postpaid plans.
- Trade in the Old
Sometimes you can get more than you think when trading in your old phone — it all depends on what device you have and whether you kept all of its accessories. Amazon, eBay and the big carriers all offer this choice, and Apple also takes some iPhones back. The idea with this is that you can offset whatever financial hit you take for early upgrading with money earned from resale. Techlicious compares your options if you want more information.
- No Contract Plans
What’s the difference between no contract and prepaid? Unlike the prepaid, you get your bill after the billing period, but you’re not locked into a several year contract. Major downside: typically the latest model is not an option or you have to bring your own unlocked smartphone. Take a look at Consumer Reports‘ take on this option.
- New Carriers
What if you’re still under contract? You no longer have to wait out your contract or pay a large difference to upgrade. T-mobile has an innovative new option called JUMP!, which lets you upgrade whenever you want. If you enroll in the JUMP! program for $10 per month, you can upgrade your phone without paying a contract penalty.
- Shared Plan
This option can help you defray costs if you have multiple lines with the same billing address. As long as you have a solid agreement with your housemates or family as to who holds the responsibility for the “main” phone line, this can be a good choice. The Simple Choice plan from T-Mobile was ranked well for value and customer service by Consumer Reports. Although this route can be a little more complex, it can be an effective way to offset the cost of an upgrade.
There you have it. Options abound, so you don’t have to feel stuck with an outdated phone. Go forth and connect!