For the past year or so, everyone in our household has noticed the Verizon Wireless service degrading. As in the reception and signal are not nearly what they once were. We must not be alone, as I have seen plenty of similar complaints online from all around the country.
The clueless folks at Verizon made many outlandish suggestions to us – most notably that we would need to upgrade our service to a newer plan because our older grandfathered plan was de-prioritized within their network. When I asked for further explanation, they told me that newer customers who pay for the top Unlimited plans get priority on their bandwidth. I’m not even sure this can technically be accomplished, but it sounded like complete nonsense and an insult to me. And the kicker was that when I recently asked to price out an Unlimited plan for my family, I was told they would first need to completely eliminate and terminate our current educator discount – just to give me an estimate. I asked the rep to repeat that because I thought I heard it wrong. And then she admitted it sounded “ridiculous” but that was the only way she could provide an estimate. I declined.
So I started shopping around for alternatives. Mind you, we are under contract until next summer while we pay off a phone that we bought at a huge discount. If we pay it off early, we must pay the full retail price for it – which is kind of outrageous.
One wireless company that’s intrigued me has been Mint Mobile, which essentially operates on the T-Mobile network at a large discount. For 99 cents, I ordered a SIM card starter kit that I could use for one week – getting 250 talk minutes, 250 texts and 250 MB of data. Mind you, T-Mobile used to not get a signal in our home but things have improved. And indeed, this past week it came in stronger than Verizon’s signal. But getting to this point was a bit convoluted. I have several extra phones lying around the house. I ran the IMEI number through Mint’s website to see if each phone was compatible, and they all were. However, the network didn’t work on the first two phones I tried it with because they were Verizon- and T-Mobile-specific phones that required those exact services to operate. Then I moved it to an old iPhone 6 and voila: instant connection.
While I wanted to test out Mint’s 5G service, the old phone could only get 4G. But it was a pretty solid connection. The only place it wouldn’t work around our home was a dead spot in the back of a park near the house. In all fairness, most services don’t work back there. But sound quality on phone calls was great and texting was reliable and quick. I took the phone with me up to Canada for three days, but instantly discovered that Mint doesn’t work up there unless you buy a plan and additional roaming. With company owner Ryan Reynolds being Canadian, you’d think he’d have figured this out. But it did open my eyes to the plausibility of using less-costly wireless services.
Like other large companies, Verizon recently jacked up its prices – $18 per month to us. And all for what is now an inferior experience. I cannot wait to jump ship, and will probably go to either Mint or one of the other lower-cost services that won’t make me feel like I’m being gouged every month. Maybe the customer service will be lacking, but I can assure you it can’t be that poor compared to what I’ve experienced with Verizon the past year. It’s a risk I will gladly take.