It makes little sense to give away your hard-earned money to a carrier that fails to provide you with the best of service. If you are looking to switch carriers to benefit from various deals that are currently being offered, you should choose a service provider after making some key checks and preparations.

We recommend you to sign up for a new carrier service and port your number four days prior to the end of your billing cycle with the company you are dropping. Typically, it takes up just a few minutes to transfer a number. However, it is better to give yourself a few days.

Evaluate Coverage Plans

A carrier may have the best of packages, customer support or handsets but all this won’t matter if it fails to offer you the kind of coverage you need to stay connected at all times.

Make sure you assess the official coverage map before making a switch to maximize your chances of getting 4G LTE data. Don’t assume that all maps are accurate. Even the most popular and trusted carriers have confessed to a mediocre signal strength in places such as your basement. However, a coverage map gives you a fair idea of how well your particular area is covered.

Make sure you check the location of your weekend getaway or your parents’ house to guarantee a strong signal without any interference. Check for factors such as data and voice coverage while comparing the speeds of different services. That’s why people turn to independent companies such as RootMetrics which routinely checks network strength across the U.S.

Seek Advice

Another way to get good advice on deals, prices and coverage quality of a carrier service is to ask a friend or previous customers. You can ask a family member or a friend who has been on the same network that you are considering switching to. This way you can get first-hand advice to know about how the process works when switching to a particular carrier service.

Discussing a service with someone is the same as checking product reviews of a gadget or product on Amazon. Not only you get feedback from real-time users but also get to know whether a new service will be the best fit for your needs. Ask for relevant information such as international roaming, etc.

Compare Offers

One of the biggest steps when it comes to switching carriers is comparing different cell phone plan offers with a tool like CompareMyRates to evaluate the best one for your needs. Service provides lure you into subscribing one of their packages by throwing in plenty of sweeteners. For instance, Verizon re-introduced unlimited plans to beat its rivals and captured a large segment of customers.

But what the company won’t tell you is that it can limit the speeds users get once they hit the 22GB mark in a month on the same unlimited plan. Don’t just get fooled by an enticing price. Check for additional perks such as any discounts you can get on regular packages.

Issues surrounding mobile tethering should also be checked while switching to another carrier. This feature goes a long way to reward users, especially those who need to travel frequently. If you are looking forward to stream YouTube on your next road trip, make sure your chosen carrier service gives you all the features to give you an inclusive coverage.

Get to Know the Process

From unlocking your SIM to moving all your data to another phone, the entire switching process may involve quite a few steps. This experience can be overwhelming and more complicated than most users realize. It helps to keep your old plan intact and make it run until your new one is up and running.

Users must port their existing cell number over to their new carrier; however, it might be suspended for a couple of hours. Hence, the best time to switch to a new network is when you don’t have to fly around the town.

In case your new carrier suggests that your old handset is incompatible (For instance, AT&T phones and T-Mobiles use the GSM network), you may get a new one. This is probably the biggest perk of switching to a new carrier.

Calculate the Cost

When jumping to a new carrier, you must pay off your old phone. Make sure to check with your current wireless provider in case you are unsure. The best part is your new carrier also offers you some prepaid credit to help you manage the cost.

If a user does not contact his current carrier to inquire about the cost of leaving, your current service provider might offer you a few special deals to let you re-consider your decision. You might want to re-evaluate all offers and costs to know what makes more sense.

Luckily, networks no longer offer two-year contracts; however, if a user hasn’t finished his old one, this could another charge to consider. Technically referred to as ETF or Early Termination Fee, you might need a calculator at hand to deal with this issue.

Family or Individual Plan

Make sure you know whether a family plan would best suit your interest since it splits a monthly bucket of data among multiple phone lines. Naturally, this plan is cost-effective and cheaper than going solo. However, you would be unsure of how many GB’s everyone else had been using.

Established services such as Spring, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile offer the best shared plans while resellers like Republic Wireless need more math on your part to calculate.

Bottom Line

Changing your current cell phone plan to switch to a new carrier is not as bad as it seems. Once, you get to know what you should look for in a service and decide the best time to make a switch; the process becomes fairly simple and convenient. Switching cell phone plans may need some research and homework but the effort is worth it. Who knows if you are going to score a better and cheaper deal that also gives you more coverage.