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Can cell re-sellers offer better monthly rates than providers?
November 16, 2011 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Can/do cell phone re-sellers (for the big four) offer better deals on PLANs or are they only authorized to offer better deals on PHONEs.

I have looked at T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint re-sellers and it seems that they all have better prices on phones than directly from the provider, but all of the monthly rates are the same (or a subset, anyway) as the vendor's website.

I assume that the monthly billing comes from the provider and is the same irregardless of the re-seller that signs you up. But I wanted to verify that.

It looks like going directly to a provider is the better option because if allows the most flexibility in only signing up for features that you want whereas re-sellers tend to have only a few prepackaged bundles of plans.

Thanks
posted by n-palmer to Shopping (3 answers total)
 
The resellers generally get a certain amount of money (a SPIF, or Sales Performance Incentive Fund, or a "kickback") from the carrier for every new cell contract that they sign someone up for. The resellers can use some (or all) of that money to discount the cost of the phone. However, they generally cannot modify the rates or service contracts that the phone companies offer. The monthly billing after that will indeed come from the provider.

Some high-volume resellers, such as Amazon, can offer extremely good deals on phones that the providers themselves don't offer by giving back to the customer a higher percentage of the kickback, so they are worth a look. Also, while one's monthly base is determined by the contract you enter into with the reseller, you can generally sign up for additional features with the carrier after you activate the phone on their network.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2011


Virgin Mobile offers better rate plans than you can get from their parent company Sprint.
posted by COD at 8:23 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


COD: Virgin Mobile offers better rate plans than you can get from their parent company Sprint.

That's true, but Sprint lets you roam on Verizon while Virgin does not. They're not really the same carrier, as such.
posted by thegears at 2:40 PM on November 16, 2011


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