Navigating the Telco Bureaucracy

By: Mark Marinelli

With growing inflation and tightening budgets in the United States, consumers and businesses alike need to save money however they can. One place people are starting to look at tightening their budgets is within their monthly phone plans.

For years, the process of finding a new phone or telecom plan has been riddled with complexity for consumers. The gauntlet that customers are forced to navigate just to switch phones or plans is enough of a hassle to make them passively accept wireless plans that are ill-fitted to their needs. Or perhaps they believe that the plan they signed up for years ago was a good deal, and they have never bothered to look for a new one. Experiences with this difficult process translate into most consumers being reluctant to switch phones and plans with their carriers.

Still, more than 30 million Americans switch phones or plans every year due to changing technologies, coverage maps, special promotions and more. Consumers looking to trade in or get the latest, greatest phone must be aware of the dynamics by which this complexity and opaqueness arise that result in purchasing phones and plans that may not necessarily be best for them.

However now, with better data and more awareness of how phone and plan pricing changes, consumers can more easily identify the best deals and their relative value that suits their individual needs.

Variables affecting phone pricing

Finding a great deal on a phone is not as straightforward as you might think. Many variables affect the price you pay when buying a new phone or signing up for a new wireless plan. Some of those variables include:

  • The time of year you buy
  • The phone you’re trading in
  • Whether you’re a new or existing customer
  • Whether you have an entry level plan or a premium plan
  • Whether you pay in full up front or over time with financing
  • Special promotions, and more

When combined, these variables result in more than two million unique pricing outcomes for consumers when making a switch. With that in mind, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to fully understand their options—especially when talking directly to carriers who have a stake in converting conversations with customers into new contracts.

All these variables make the process of acquiring a new device or plan difficult. However, there are still a few guiding principles that Navi has identified through its unique market data and knowledge that consumers and enterprises should be aware of to make switching easier. Here are some of those insights consumers should keep in mind in order to get a great deal.

Timing is everything

Phone prices can fluctuate a lot depending on the time of year, product lifecycle, and planned promotions. Additionally, the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) are just that—suggestions, but they are not written in stone. When certain carriers or vendors need to boost sales for a given quarter, they may dip well below the MSRP line to get customers in the door and close new contracts. With that in mind, give yourself time to shop around and monitor different prices from a multitude of vendors, and you might be able to secure a flagship phone at a lower-than-average price.

If you identify a good phone at the right price, it’s important to purchase fast, especially if the offer is through a carrier as they can change their promotions rapidly. Most of the time, the best promotions from carriers tend to launch early in the workweek. If you miss a flash promotion or sale, you’ll probably be waiting at least a few weeks before you find a similar deal. 

Explore a variety of phone options

One bottleneck for many consumers in getting a great deal is feeling constrained by offers on the one specific phone they want. As wireless technologies have matured, the playing field has been upleveled to the point that many of the newest devices offer


Latest Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel