Last month I returned from working overseas and needed a cell-phone. In a spectacular failure to do my homework, I went straight to Verizon (all I knew was that their coverage was superior to AT&T in my area) and asked for their cheapest option. I got a basic phone for $50, a two-year contract, and a plan that provides 700 minutes for $40/month. Let me be clear: I'm not a heavy user but as a mid-20s working professional I simply MUST be available 24/7 by both voice and text...
After my second billing cycle I was not happy. I paid $52 to use only 90 minutes and receive a bunch of text messages from family/friends/co-workers (at $0.20 each).
Today I finally did some research and discovered the array of lesser-known pre-paid carriers. I kicked myself for signing a contract. Looks like I could have just paid full price for a phone and met my needs with a plan for just $12/month, and still be using Verizon's network with PagePlus. I knew there was a large fee to terminate my contract, but decided to look into it anyway given the huge difference in cost per month. To my delight, the fee is only $165, which is dwarfed by $1,200 in savings over the next two years.
This seems like the clear best course of action for anybody who is under contract, especially since the termination fee is roughly equal to the discount given on the phone, and you can keep the phone (which I intend to use with PagePlus).
Has anybody else done this and experienced any pitfalls?