I need a new mobile phone. Don't want to lease a phone. Advice?

Next silly question. I'm not sure how this works -- I need a new phone. I want a Windows phone (I like the Windows phone platform). But I do not want to lease a phone -- for example, I do not want to enter into a two-year lease with Verizon or AT&T or some such corporation.

My questions:

Can I purchase a Windows Phone, perhaps from the Microsoft web site? Something like one of these?


Can I then contact a mobile service provider, such as Verizon or AT&T, and tell them: I have the phone; can you service my existing mobile phone number?

I've never done this before. Thank you for any advice.

Eric BourlandAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
A lease is something you have to return after the specified period.  To the best of my knowledge, none of the major US carriers lease phones.  They sell them to you by charging a partial up-front fee and locking you in to a 2 year contract assuring them that they'll make the money back for subsidizing your phone purchase.  A top of the line Samsung Galaxy or iPhone can cost $500-800 but you only pay $100-300 with a promise to stay with them for 2 years.

If you don't want that, you just need to purchase a phone for the carrier.  I believe T-Mobile and AT&T have slightly different data networks, so you might want to pay attention to which one the phone was made for.  But in general, you're looking for UNLOCKED phones and Microsoft has many that are unlocked.  You could also look at phones with AT&T Go, for example - they are also using the AT&T network and are month to month.

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Eric BourlandAuthor Commented:
Lee, thank you for this very helpful note. My current plan is to get an unlocked phone from Microsoft -- something simple.

>>>They sell them to you by charging a partial up-front fee and locking you in to a 2 year contract assuring them that they'll make the money back for subsidizing your phone purchase.

This makes sense and seems to be the kind of deal I was locked into with Verizon. The Lumia phone they sold me had some problems after one year -- and Verizon would not replace or repair the phone, which is too bad. Verizon was eager to sell me another phone and extend my contract, however. =)

One more question: after I obtain the new phone, and choose a carrier -- what happens next? Do I contact the new carrier and ask for a new account? Can I keep my current phone number?

Obviously I know very little about this and I appreciate your time and help.

Hope your evening is great. Thank you again for your help.

best from Eric
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If you buy a GSM based phone (which is usable on AT&T and T-Mobile networks, you just buy a SIM Card and install it, activating it as the directions state.  If you want month to month then you want something like AT&T Go Phone.  I just activated my girlfriends old iPhone by buying a SIM Card for H20 Wireless (No opinion on them one way or the other at this point).   But my main phone is with AT&T.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Most carriers will sell the SIM Card for $5-10.  H20 Wireless uses AT&T's network; most though, I THINK use T-Mobile's network (which isn't quite as robust).
Eric BourlandAuthor Commented:
Got it!

So, I will purchase the phone from Microsoft; and separately purchase an account and service plan from a carrier -- and also purchase a SIM card from that same carrier. Do I have it right?

Thank you again!

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Basically.  Like I said, pay attention to fine print.  GSM SIM Cards for talking and texting should work fine with either AT&T or T-Mobile.  But the data may be different.  If the phone says it's for the T-mobile network then you will probably have a better experience buying a SIM Card for a carrier that uses the T-Mobile network.
Eric BourlandAuthor Commented:
Lee, thanks very much for your time and advice. I'm doing some more reading and research, but you have explained some important basics that I did not know.

Wishing you the best.

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