Ask Natalie: Can I Scare My Phone Provider Into Better Rates?

"My iPhone contract with AT&T is set to expire soon. I know that everything's negotiable, so what leverage do I have with the service rep I'll talk to?"

May 31, 2011 at 1:01pm | Leave a comment

Dear Natalie,

My iPhone contract with AT&T is set to expire soon. I know that everything's negotiable, so what leverage do I have with the service rep I'll talk to? I know Verizon has better call coverage, but are there any other points of competition I can mention to scare AT&T into lowering my rates to keep me as a customer? I'm not really unhappy with them and I'd just as soon keep my current phone, but I'm not against switching either, so I feel like I'm going into this with the upper hand. What should I do?

-- Megan

 Megan, we're in the same boat!  I'm facing the same decision, and, being a good, educated consumer in our competitive economy, I also want AT&T to feel threatened when I talk about leaving them.  

But, the truth is, we have so few options when it comes to mobile phone carriers, we don't have a lot of leeway. And our options just got even slimmer, since AT&T, the second largest provider in the market, just combined with T-Mobile, making the combo the leader.

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Source: New York Times, March 20, 2011

Had we talked about this a few months ago when Apple announced that the iPhone would be available on Verizon, I'd say you might have a shot. And we could talk about other cool Droid phones that T-Mobile is going to support, like the Aphex Twin or whatever it's called!  And we could even gush about how T-Mobile people I know have claim to have never dropped a single call! And how responsive and supportive and nice their Support team is, and how not any of those things AT&T is by comparison!  

Until it looks like we have more options (better cell-phone reception, better devices, more price differences), yadda yadda yadda, I'll be very o_O about the whole situation, unfortunately. 

Posted in Tech, ask, phones