It’s almost impossible to get a decent deal on a mobile phone nowadays unless you’re prepared to accept a very long contract period, and for most people 24 months is a norm. The problem is that 2 years is a long time to be tied to one service provider and handset, and it often means you’re stuck to with an inferior service or product long after you should be. But there are options, if you know where to look.
A few companies out there specialise in offering cellphone escape services, which link together buyers and sellers of mobile contracts, with or without handsets included. The benefit for people buying into a contract is a much shorter contract before they can upgrade, and for those escaping it means they can quickly adjust their monthly spend, or move on to a new provider which is better suited to their location or needs.
The big deal is you can save yourself having to pay early termination fees, as well as the remainder of any monthly rental due, by passing it on to the new subscriber. In all cases you’re doing this in conjunction with the service provider, and usually you can even keep your old number if you want, depending on the cooperation of your service provider’s transfer department.
* CellTrade USA
US and Canada focused service which lets you enter or exit cell phone contracts across a wide variety of service providers on the North American continent. Registering for both services is free, but users looking to escape their contract pay a $19.99 listing fee once they’re happy that enough people are interested in their plan and wish to go ahead. The fee covers the ad listing until the contract has been transferred.
This service is available in the U.K., Australia, and Canada and again offers an online classifieds system for connecting up subscribers and purchasers wishing to swap contracts. In this case the fees are the equivalent of £14.95 for the ad listing, and there’s a special featured listing fee if you need a more prominent placement. Once you’ve found a buyer for your contract, simply send them the SIM card and/or phone having deleted all your private data from both.
Another North American service which covers a large variety of suppliers and plans. The interface for this service is easy to use, and there are the usual features such as the ability to search for contracts based on time of contract remaining, monthly cost and contract features. The big difference here is that listings are completely free of charge, which makes it a solid choice if you want to try out this kind of service without spending money on the process.