AT&T, T-Mobile cellular war saves families big bucks

Doreen Christensen

Doreen Christensen

All is fair in love and cell-phone wars.

Thanks to a brutal battle between AT&T and T-Mobile, we foot soldiers get to save big bucks on family phone bills.

The blitz started Super Bowl Sunday.

Tim Tebow kicked off T-Mo's campaign, saying the carrier will pay switchers up to $650 a line to "break up" with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Then, they can "save a ton" with four lines of unlimited no-contract service for $100 a month.


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AT&T countered with cheaper Mobile Share Value plans. Unlimited talk, text and 10 gigs of data starts at $130 a month for two lines and $15 extra per line up to 10. The company also offers $100 credits on new lines added through March 31.

Now's the time to go into the foxhole if you want to save on those crushing bills.

AT&T's new pricing is designed to lure T-Mobile customers to its massive 4G network and keep existing mobile share customers happy, saying they can save $40 to $100 a month, according to a Feb. 1 press release. Find details at ATT.com/MobileShareSavings.

I called AT&T, and indeed saved $30 a month ($720 over two years) on existing service for my two YouTube-obsessed teens and bagged four gigs of extra data. I was paying $160 a month for six gigs.

I watched as a colleague clicked a button on ATT.com and saved a whopping $101 a month ($2,424 over 24 months!) on four lines and scored an extra six gigs of data for her clan.

Call and see what you will save.

T-Mobile's $300 trade-in deal for working devices and the $350 offer to buy-out existing contracts is a full-on assault on competitors. Get details at Switch2Tmobile.com.

If you don't use an unlocked device, unsubsidized phone prices are steep. The iPhone 5S starts at $648. Still, the no-contract Simple Choice Plan is a bargain, costing $100 a month for four lines for unlimited talk, text and Web with up to 500 megabytes of 4G LTE data.

Not so fast. Up to 500 megabytes of 4G LTE data a month?

That's a few photos uploaded on Facebook. Then, you're all packed off to 2G-Neverloadland until the next month. It makes absolutely no sense to use a $600 super fast smartphone on a 2G network, and could even be a danger to your health. You might get an ulcer waiting for content to load.

But wait!

Add two gigs of high-speed data for $10 a line or get unlimited data for $20 per line. Now, you're paying $140 to $180 a month.

Those prices are similar to AT&T.

In the end, premium 4G service costs, no matter what carrier you have.

So switch or stay, review coverage maps and fine print and pull the trigger.

Carriers duke it out because high-speed data is a lucrative venture and they want hands in your pocket.

You will win a savings battle now, but ultimately, the carriers will win the war.

What's your deal? Email dchristensen@sunsentinel.com or go to Facebook.com/Doreens Deals.
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