I never worked for ATT or Cingular, but I was always impressed how well they marketed “Rollover ™” minutes, -the idea that if you don’t use your entire allotment of monthly minutes, the minutes roll over to the next month, with certain restrictions and caps. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I had a general intuition that there had to be catch, that people were probably paying much more for those special minutes than they realized and to roll over means you weren’t using them in the first place. Something drilled into my head when I began working in cellular was that people generally call about the same amount every month. This turned out to be true with the obvious exceptions, emergencies, moving, and other life-altering events. You got the exceptions now and again like soldiers deploying for training, but it wasn’t common. So, call me skeptical about the desirability of the ATT plans. Recently, I decided to look closer.
ATT’s 900 Minute “Nation Plan”
$59.99 (plus Rollover ™)
T-Mobile’s 1000 Minute “Individual Plan”
$49.99 (No rollover minutes)
Obviously, the T-Mobile plan is cheaper, and it’s just an example. What about a sudden need for more minutes? You have just paid $120 (over a year) more with ATT to have those extra minutes if you need them, and more importantly, if you have them. Now, let’s say you need about 500-600 extra minutes this month because you’re moving or something like that which causes you to be on the phone a lot more for a short time. If you’re on ATT, -great, you guessed right. If you’re on T-Mobile, you simply pay an extra $10 and jump to the 1500 minute plan for $59.99 and you’re set. Yes, that’s ten dollars, but you already saved that much even in the first month of service. This isn’t praise of T-Mobile, a company that has problems of its own, as you can find comparisons with almost every other carrier. This is a warning about thinking the answer to your calling problems is paying more for minutes that transfer from month to month.