Georgia Bill To Make Cell Carrier Contracts Less Restrictive

A Republican state senator in Georgia has filed a bill that aims to prohibit cell phone service providers from forcing customers to restart their contracts just to move to a new rate plan. The pandering doublespeak from the cellular service providers in this article is sickening.

Kristin Wallace, spokeswoman for Sprint Nextel. “In principle, Sprint Nextel believes the competitive wireless marketplace is serving its consumers well and that regulation of wireless service would be harmful to innovation and costly for consumers.”

Caran Smith, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, said … “By limiting a carrier’s contract options, the state in effect is limiting a consumer’s flexibility to move to rate plans and take advantage of services that meet their wireless needs.”

We understand that to subsidize the cost of phones your carrier wants to lock you into a contract—really, we get it. But there’s no way to justify the inability to switch plans to suit your needs within your contract period. (Not to mention the inability to purchase your own phone independent of the carrier subsidy and use their service on a month-to-month basis without using pre-paid.) (Thanks, Erendira!)

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  1. airship says:

    Out here in rural Iowa where I live, you’re screwed if you go with a big national carrier like Verizon or Nextel. They invariably only have towers near the Interstates and in the bigger cities. U.S. Cellular is a regional carrier that not only has 99% coverage of the whole state, but they allow you to switch plans at any time without cost or contract change. I would never go with anyone else.

  2. L'Emmerdeur says:

    The beautiful thing is, that senator probably went on the war path after he changed his plan in the last month of the contract, and the CSR “forgot” to mention that that would reset the clock on the contract to one year again.

    TMobile did this to me more than once.

  3. When I signed up for Verizon a few years ago, part of the contract at the time stated that I could change to any other plan at any time without penalty. This was for a two year plan.
    I’ve changed plans a number of times since then, and while they often mention I need to extend my contract, I often point out my original deal and they tell me not to worry.
    Alas, my two years are almost up, which was verified on the phone recently by Verizon.
    We’ll see if they really honor this when I attempt to strong arm them into a better deal when my contract is up…

  4. AFD says:

    My 2-year agreement ended earlier this year, and my carrier keeps pestering me to either A) switch to a more expensive GSM plan with less minutes and an additional 2-year contract for an entry-level handset or B) verbally agree to extend my TDMA service for an additional year for a free month of service.

    Generally, once a month they (Dobson’s Cellular One) call me w/the same offer, and always try to sneak in the verbal 1-year contract.. “So, you’ll be staying with us another year, right?”

    “Yeah, probably. Wait, what? No. I will not agree to an additional contract.”

    =P

  5. Jay says:

    Just regarding the last sentence: I’m not sure about other carriers, but I have it in writing from T-Mobile that they offer a number of service plans without contracts. There aren’t any plans with free nights and weekends, but there are quite a few plans with free weekends, so while you don’t get quite as good a deal as you would signing a contract, at least you’re not locked in. They also only require a one-year contract to get better rates, which I think is far superior to the 2-year commitment that Cingular looks for (which sucks, because most cell phones are just not built to last that long). I’m seriously thinking about switching to them once my 2-year AT&T/Cingular stint is up.