DTMF, eh?
February 2, 2012 2:25 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to make things go smoothly when I quit Sprint for another mobile provider in a few months?

In June 2010 I switched from Virgin Mobile USA to Sprint. When my contract is up later this year, I want to switch back to Virgin to save money (yeah, I'll be buying another new phone—but even at two hundred bucks it won't take long to make that back in savings on service).

I'd really like to keep my current number (something I wasn't able to do when I switched to Sprint). Also, my wife (we're on the "family everything data" plan and got our phones at the same time) doesn't want to switch service at this time.

Is there anything I can do in advance to make things go more smoothly when I quit Sprint? Will porting my sprint number to google voice make things easier or harder? How is having a "family" plan going to complicate this?

Bonus question: As someone who has hated his Samsung Moment from day 1 for being slow (e.g., to change among apps) and flaky (GPS and wifi, I'm looking at you), should I pick up the LG Optimus Slider or the Samsung Intercept? Or, more to the point, any reason not to go with the LG?
posted by jepler to Technology (6 answers total)
No, there's nothing you can do to make it go more smoothly. It will probably go smoothly enough on the day.

There is no complication involved in having a family plan. If you have more than one line you have a family plan ($130 for two lines), if you only have one line you have an individual plan ($70). In other words you won't have a family plan once you drop your line from the plan.

On Virgin, you'll get a smaller selection of crappier phones than on Sprint. For example, the HTC Wildfire has a 600 MHz single-core processor, giving it about a quarter of the raw performance of a phone like the HTC Evo 3D on Sprint (which is half the price of the Wildfire with a new contract).

You'll save about $25 a month switching, assuming you go for Virgin's $35/month plan, which will pay for your $200 phone in 8 months. Of course, you could also save that $25 a month on your current plan just by getting an AOL e-mail address and telling Sprint you work for AOL Time Warner... and you'll get a wider selection of better phones at lower prices, plus 4G.
posted by kindall at 3:01 PM on February 2, 2012

Response by poster: I'd rather not make this into a Sprint vs Virgin thread, if possible. so it's with trepidation that I post this reply.

I figure my savings at more like $35-$45/month, depending how much sprint's fees decrease with only one line (they turn the nominally $129 plan into a $153 bill; if the fees are an equal proportion of the $69 plan then the new Sprint bill would be about $83), and whether I buy a new device that locks me into the $10/month "premium data" fee that Sprint is now adding to every newly-activated smart phone.
posted by jepler at 3:40 PM on February 2, 2012

When we switched from Sprint to AT&T, it was seamless. AT&T took care of porting our number over. We turned on our new phones and they worked. No advance preparation needed. If you're not sure whether you can keep your number and are thinking of switching to Google Voice, you could call Virgin in advance and ask.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:26 PM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: I switched from a family plan on T-Mobile to AT&T on iPhone 4S day. I ported over three of our four numbers that day; when the rep pushed the "port" button, my T-Mobile phone went dead in a minute or two.

My daughter's phone remained on T-Mobile for a week or so while I mailed the SIM to her. When I called T-Mobile a day or two later to verify that her line was on the cheapest plan, I found that her phone was still on the family plan; they hadn't cancelled the family plan just because there was now only one phone on the account.

If you switch your line to Google Voice, then all you'll do when you make the switch is turn off your Verizon line and configure Google Voice to point to the new Virgin number. I suppose that removes some pain because you'll be able to do the port of your number away from Sprint at your leisure.

The switchover will be painless, but make sure you call Verizon to verify that your wife's phone gets switched to an individual plan.
posted by chazlarson at 6:31 PM on February 3, 2012

I switched from Sprint to Virgin last summer and ported my number with zero problems. I don't get very many calls or texts, so I didn't worry about missing anything over the day the number was ported.

I went from this Sanyo phone to the LG Optimus V smartphone, so that was a major transition. I had my Sanyo for over 6 years and loved it so much (I charged it once a week!). But now I have crazy amounts of free data with Virgin, which makes up for the horrible battery life.
posted by Maarika at 10:19 AM on February 5, 2012

Response by poster: I have an update: I decided to switch now and pay sprint the early termination fee, because I expect to save enough during the months between now and the end of my contract that I save more money overall the sooner I move.

I chose ting, a very new MVNO also using the Sprint network because it looks like it'll cost me even a little less than virgin would, and they had a phone option I liked better (HTC Detail, which is essentially the HTC Evo Shift 4G with modified branding).

The wait from filling out the activation information on ting.com to having service on my new phone was about 4 hours. I was able to port my number without any trouble.

I marked chazlarson's answer as the "best answer", because chaz correctly predicted that it would be necessary to give Sprint a call to switch from a family plan to an individual plan for the remaining line. It was a relatively painless process, except for any irritation I felt at the need to do it via a phone call.
posted by jepler at 10:29 AM on February 11, 2012

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