How to swap your cell phone

A few simple steps to get you onto a phone and plan that doesn’t have you screeching at customer service. Let us know how you find your new phone!


It’s intimidating and it’s confusing – the process of switching over your cell phone let alone service providers is daunting. I recently came across an offer too good to pass up, and had to switch from a carrier I’ll call “big red”, to the one with the fuzzy animals in their campaigns. It was liberating.

In the past two years I’ve managed to swap phones three times. I started with an iPhone 4 (it was stolen while travelling), then over to a 4S, an S3 to get familiarized with Android, and finally to an iPhone 5. There was a cracked screen and a few phone drops in between, but I’m happy to say I think I’ve figured out the system. Here’s a step by step on how to make the switch:

Find Your Hardware

With so many great phones on the market right now, it’s hard to narrow it down. A good place to start is whether to get a smartphone or not (my recommendation is a yes). Android or Apple? And of course, the ultimate question is about COLOUR (we’ll get to the custom phone cases later). There are different options in terms of memory, upgrades, limited editions and more. Do a little comparison-shopping online and be sure you know what you want!


Select Your Services

Data, minutes, text messages, long distance calling – all considerations you’ll need to make when you review your options. What’s your budget? What’s your usage look like? Review the last few bills that you’ve received and make a decision based on what your normal use is. Ask if you can make adjustments as you go (the answer is usually yes). Remember to tailor it to you, you never want to have too many leftover minutes or get dinged with overages.


Make the Jump

Let the magic happen! I recently upgraded to an iPhone 5, and it was easily shipped to my door. Then, I was advised when the service transfer was happening (it was about 2 hours of downtime, so make sure you have a book or something to entertain yourself) and voila, I was transferred! There were a few hiccups, but they were resolved lightning-fast when I tweeted them a few concerns.

Be Patient

Try to wait out your contracts before you switch over, nothing worse than cancellation fees. Also, it’s okay to call in a few times to negotiate deals, at the end of the day if a company can get a new client, or a provider wants to retain you as a client, you have power. Don’t rush – you don’t want to regret your decisions!



For the fun part now, let’s find you a case! There are some great ones located on eBay (and for cheap), though you won’t get the immediate satisfaction and protection. I liked the TNA silicone cases for temporary protection, and then I hopped online and browsed on etsy for a few custom cases. I settled on a galaxy print hardcase in white. Creative! The case is the window to your tech personality.


What about your Old Phone?

If you’re not interested in keeping your old phone as a backup (and by that, I really mean that it’s brutally collecting cobwebs and dust), you can always list your phone and sell it on Kijiji. Some key pointers:

  1. Be HONEST about the condition of the phone – is it New In Box (NIB) or gentle used? Are there scratches? It’s better that a potential buyer knows up front before wasting any time.
  2. Be DETAILED, because people want to know everything from the size to the colour to the accessories included. Include great photos of the ACTUAL phone
  3. Be EFFECTIVE in your Listing – choose a site like Kijiji or other listing sites to get your old phone out there.
  4. Be PERSONABLE in your description. You can be funny, witty, interesting all in a matter of paragraphs. Info on how to do that coming in our next article.
  5. Meet in a Public Space: I like to meet people at the Apple store with a genius bar appointment, if it’s an Apple product, of course. Be safe, and bring someone in tow if you’re nervous about an expensive item.

Just a few simple steps to get you onto a phone and plan that doesn’t have you screeching at customer service. Let us know how you find your new phone!

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