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5 Reasons to Drop Your Cellphone Carrier

Poor service and extended contracts leave many looking for better service

3. You can no longer afford it. You've watched your monthly mobile bill tick up and over your monthly budget. "Loyalty is great, but if their pricing structure has changed, it's a good time to look around," Marick says. It's also worth it to call your current carrier, vent about your bill and coolly throw in that you're looking at cheaper competitors. "Tell your carrier that you're thinking about leaving, and they will often magically come up with ways to help you with deals and discounts," Costello says.

4. You're tired of contracts. Prepaid phones give you the option to play the field with no papers to hold you back. You'll have to be OK with paying the retail price for the phone, in lieu of the free upgrade with your current company. "No-contract providers are simpler and less invasive; there's no service agreement and no credit check," says Jessica Dolcourt, a CNET.com senior editor. "Selection is one big drawback; you can't always be as choosy about what you get."

5. You don't want the bells and whistles. The customer service rep talked you into buying a phone with fancy features you never use. Sound familiar? Well, experts say that most providers carry a range of phones — from the very basic to the very sophisticated. Look at what your company offers, first. But if you're not satisfied, there are competitors who design senior-friendly phones with buttons that are larger than normal, for example. The Samsung Jitterbug, the Doro PhoneEasy and the Snapfon ez ONE are just three of many to pick from.

"It's really important for customers to feel that they are empowered to find the service that's best for them," Marick says. "Just because they've had someone for a while isn't a good reason to settle. They have options."

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