Moving Out of State? 5 Factors to Consider with Your Mobile Plan

If you’re moving to another state, you have a lot of line item details to track. A new cell phone plan with a new provider probably isn’t top of mind, but the wireless carrier you have now might not be the best choice in your new home. Coverage and performance issues vary across states, and so do wireless taxes and fees. Consider these five factors when you move to save money and get the most out of your mobile phone plan.

a couple packing boxes to move

1. Coverage area

As you consider the service providers in your new area, do your research to make sure you’ll have the coverage you need. For a good overview of providers in your soon-to-be new state, Clark Media has links to maps of the country by major mobile carrier, as well as by mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). Each map gives insight into how well you’ll be covered anywhere in the country.

2. Performance

Performance can vary greatly by location, the phone you’re using, and the network operator you sign on with. Research the providers you’re interested in to see which is doing best in network reliability, network speed, data performance, call performance, and text performance. Check out reviews for MVNO performance, too — sites like, Wirefly, and FierceWireless offer the most up-to-date stats.

3. Taxes, fees, and surcharges

Taxes on wireless services vary from state to state, according to the Tax Foundation. For example, if you’re moving from Oregon to Washington state, expect some sticker shock. Washington, Illinois, Alaska, and Nebraska have the highest wireless taxes and fees in the nation, making up 25% of the bill. If you’re moving to Oregon, Idaho, or Nevada, you’ll get some relief as they charge the lowest.

As you do your research, look for fees that may differ by carrier. For example, some providers charge line access fees, while others don’t. Depending on your options, you may need to consider a cheaper plan if you’re on a tight budget.

4. Your phone’s age

According to Business Insider, most people hang on to their phone for about two years. If your phone is older than that, you may notice some performance issues no matter where you live. For instance:

  • Updated operating systems can slow down your phone’s performance.
  • You may start running out of storage.
  • Your battery may no longer hold a charge.

If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time for a new phone and ultimately, a new carrier.

5. Reason for your move

Are you an empty nester who is downsizing? Need to upsize because you’ve had children? Getting married? Retiring? Any of these changes to your family size could give you an advantage for finding a better deal.

If you have several family members who use a smartphone, look for a family cell phone plan that offers unlimited or shareable data. If you don’t need or use a lot of data, a simple, budget-friendly plan might be best for you. Finally, a by-the-gig plan might work best if you’re single and don’t need unlimited data for your day-to-day activities.

Moving to a new state can be an exciting and rewarding life journey. Although there are many details to manage ahead of your adventure, don’t overlook your mobile phone plan. These five factors can help you decide if it’s time for a new cell phone plan that works better for your day-to-day life. After all, who doesn’t like to save a little money on their monthly bills?

Tracy Staedter is an experienced science writer, author, and contributor for Xfinity Mobile. She has covered everything from smart home technology to Internet satellites and founded Fresh Pond Writers, a creative fiction and nonfiction writing group. 

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