I've been a loyal Verizon customer since the mid-1990s when I got my first StarTac. Heck, I even work for them, technically. And for the duration of that two-decade relationship, despite the company's excruciatingly lackluster customer service, my fealty to Big Red never wavered -- even as my bill monthly slowly bloated. It was a gradual increase, barely noticeable with the company's auto-pay feature. In fact, it wasn't until I recently renewed my two-year contract and found myself conscripted into Verizon's EDGE program that things got out of hand.
Suddenly, I found myself paying just north of $130 a month for a single line and 6GB of data (even though I rarely use more than 3GB) on last year's Nexus 6. Even with my 25-percent Verizon employee discount I was still shelling out $113 every billing cycle. That's absurd. Even crazier, if I reduced my data allowance from 6GB to 4GB -- you know, to save some cash -- I would somehow end up spending $2.50 more each month. It was clearly time to show Verizon the door, but who was I to use instead?
After looking into the alternative services, I zeroed in on Google's Project Fi. Its coverage is strong in San Francisco, Fi works on the same phone that I already have, and it's far less pricey than Verizon. By my calculations, I'd only spend around $40 to $50 a month for Fi's basic service and 2-3GB of data -- saving me $60 to $70 monthly. Also, my colleague Nicole swears by it and she's way more competent at this sort of thing than I am.
Unfortunately, Verizon is not about to let me switch that easily; I would have to pay off the $432.64 balance of my Nexus 6 first (because that's how the EDGE program works) if I wanted to take it with me, plus zero out my remaining service bill before leaving. Here's how the math broke down:
Verizon says I owe $545.64 in total ($113 for the December billing cycle plus $432.64 for the phone balance) if I want to keep my Nexus 6. My initial thought was to simply pay that amount and wash my hands of Verizon in one fell swoop. Bad call. Why would I spend $432 to buy out a phone that is already a year old when I can get the new Nexus 6P for the same price? Seriously, Google just trimmed $50 off the 6P as part of a holiday promotion, bringing the price of the 32GB model that I was eyeing down to $450.
That means if I give Verizon back the Nexus 6 and buy a Nexus 6P from Google, I'm basically getting a model upgrade for $18. I'd still have to shell out a couple hundred bucks for the handset but at least it's for a new phone.
Wait, no I wouldn't. Because I'm a proper, financially responsible adult, Google will let me to pay for the phone in 24 monthly installments. It's just like Verizon's EDGE program but, you know, less expensive and for a superior product. Whereas I was paying $27 a month for the Nexus 6, I'd only have to give Google $18 for the 6P. Best of all, I don't have to put any money down which means I won't have to raid my savings account or give Verizon any more cash than I absolutely have to.
So, in the end, I figure I'll have to shell out just $154 initially ($113 to Verizon for December and around $40 to Google for the taxes on the 6P purchase) and, at most, $60 a month for service, data and paying off the handset itself. That's still half (half) what I've been paying Big Red. I just wish I'd thought to do it sooner.