By Tech Powered Dad | December 29, 2011
2018 Update: I recently realized this almost 7 year post was still getting some views. I have updated the information and links to the best of my ability and it should be pretty accurate as of late 2018. However, you should definitely validate these numbers by checking with the providers at the provided. In other words, your mileage may vary.
TL;DR Links to Discount Pages and Other Bargain Providers:
At the end of the year, my cell phone contract was up, meaning it was time to see what plans were out there and what discounts I might qualify for as a teacher. Since the last time we signed up with Sprint, there have been a lot of changes to billing. The biggest change, though, was that we lost access to my wife’s corporate discount offers since she is now a stay at home mom for our little girl.
That meant I needed to do some investigating. We wanted to get smart phones with a good plan, but also needed to keep cost down since we’re now a single income family. I went in search of the most affordable plans with a lot of data, text, and talk time. I found several sites that explained about cell phone discounts for teachers, but I found all of them lacking hard data about how the discounts work and how much they were for.
These discounts work a little different for each of the major providers. In some cases, you will qualify for a discount because you are considered a state employee, in others, it really is a true educator discount just for teachers or even a union discount. If you talk to a sales rep you talk to doesn’t know about a teacher discount, you should definitely ask about a state employee discount. One thing to note is that since I originally wrote this post, the providers have added more information on their sites. I have provided an exact link to the program pages where it applies. In most cases, you can get your discount and service right on the site.
Below is what I was able to find out about teacher discounts for those that work in public schools in Illinois. While these discounts may vary from state to state or district to district, I did find plenty of people online who claimed they were able to get the same discounts in different states. My best advice is to check the links that follow for any providers you are interested in. The discounts can change at any time.
Verizon Discount: 20% off service plans, 25% off accessories
Verizon has a discount program page that allows you to check your eligibility for a discount. Those discounts reportedly max out at 20% at on service plans and 25% on accessories. That does not guarantee that your state, university, or school district’s discount will necessarily be that large. To take advantage of discount on equipment, you need to order through the website.
Click here to take advantage of the Verizon educator discount.
Sprint Discount: 15% off service plans
Sprint gives this discount out via the Sprint Works Program. You have to visit this link and provide some information to Sprint to be able to take advantage of the discount. I have heard conflicting numbers of a 20% discount, but the last time I spoke to Sprint directly, they told me that as a teacher, I qualified for 15% off service plans, YMMV.
Click here to take advantage of the Sprint educator discount.
AT&T Discount: 15% off service plans, 20% off accessories
AT&T has a really nice discount, offering both 15% off plans and 20% off of accessories. You can visit this link to take get the discount. This is open to all NEA members, which includes most, but not all, teachers. If you are not an NEA member and you like AT&T, it’s still worth checking to see if you can qualify via your local district.
Click here to take advantage of the AT&T educator discount.
T-Mobile Discount: $100 off phones & tablets
T-Mobile is offering something different to teachers and students. College students, K-12 teachers, and college staff qualify for $100 off phones and tablets when you sign up for a T-Mobile monthly plan. Visit this link to see the details of the plan, and to see the list of devices that qualify for the discount because it is changing all the time.
Click here to take advantage of the T-Mobile educator discount.
So since I originally wrote this post back in 2011 (it’s now almost 2019), I’ve experimented with a lot of different providers. Some of them are from the big 4 above. Others are Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). An MVNO basically piggybacks off one of the big 4 by reselling their service at a cheaper price. You get the same cellular coverage, but you pay less because they don’t have the overhead of stores. This means you do most of your own shopping and sign up via the web. I eventually gave up my teacher discount to start using MVNOs because they have gotten so cheap. They are all also pay as you go, so it’s easy to jump from provider to provider as I choose. Here are a couple I like that have rates that compete well with a teacher discount.
- Boost Mobile: Boost runs on the Sprint network. As of late 2018, they have an unlimited talk and text, and 3 gigs of data per month for $35 per month.
- Republic Wireless: Republic Wireless runs on T-Mobile and Sprint. As of this post, they actually have an unlimited talk and text plan for $15 per month, and then data costs $5 per GB. It’s a wildly good deal if you are not a heavy data user.
Whatever you choose, enjoy your phone shopping and bargain hunting. It’s always exciting to get a new phone.
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