If anything, 2013 has been an interesting year in the mobile industry. While years previous have seen awesome phone launches, with plenty of interesting features and hardware making it to the market, this year seems to be a little bit more about the carriers. Yes, we did still see plenty of interesting new hardware, but hopefully some of the biggest announcements that carry over into 2014 will be the ones the carriers made regarding their own plans.
AT&T recently announced their new NEXT initiative, for example. This gives subscribers the ability to stretch out the payment of their phone or tablet over the course of 20 months, and upgrade every year. It isn't the cheapest situation, but for those who hate to pay any kind of money up front, and who don't want to worry about extending their contract, it's a plan that will admittedly be perfect for many.
And then there's Verizon, which looks to be trying to keep pace with T-Mobile in the number of changes, even if they're missing the impact. Earlier this year Big Red announced their Device Payment Plan, which, like AT&T, allows those under the Verizon-branded umbrella (because we all know they'd brand it -- a lot) to spread out the cost of a particular piece of hardware. Another initiative that isn't cheap for the subscriber, but does indeed spread out the full cost of a device over several months.
That could be changing though, if Verizon's "VZ Edge" is real. Leaked documents suggest Verizon could allow customers to "upgrade" to a new phone after they've paid off half of their current hardware, whenever they do that. The leaked document didn't actually provide any key details beyond that, save for the expected launch date: August 25.
Sprint. Well, to be honest, Sprint's stayed pretty quiet on this front this year. They've kept with their unlimited data pitch, and they've been focusing their efforts on LTE. With the three other major competitors initializing new plans that allow customers to spread out the full retail cost of devices, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Sprint is working on its own changes, but the company is staying quiet for now. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the other carriers.
And then there's T-Mobile, which has rebranded itself as the UNcarrier, and for good reason. They are indeed doing their best to stand out amongst the crowd. They've done a good job of making the cost of a contract and phone as transparent for the customer as possible, and with their new JUMP! program they've made it easy to get a new phone twice a year -- which is much better than the current situation.
T-Mobile has made waves in the wireless industry here in the United States. The fourth largest carrier is making the two biggest carriers actually change the way some key components function, and that's a good thing. But, the obvious question is obvious, and has to be asked:
Are you switching carriers this year?
We've passed the halfway point for July, and 2013 is flying by. We've seen high-end, flagship devices launch earlier this year, and we know that newer devices are making their way to the market soon. But, if we're just looking at the changes that the carriers have made this year, I want to know where you stand, and what you're options are.
You could be changing because Verizon's plans just don't work for you, and you don't agree with them. Or, there's a chance that you could just like AT&T's options better. Maybe T-Mobile's UNcarrier initiative is just too good to pass up? Or, maybe you're tired of not having unlimited data. There's always another carrier that is eager to fold you into the mix. Which is why I want to know if you're planning on assimilating yourself with another carrier this year, and why.
So are you switching this year? Are you able to switch? And if not, would you if you could? If so, to which carrier? Are you making the jump to another company because of the new plans they are announcing, or because of a particular handset that you really want, and just can't have on your current network? Let me know!