Freecell, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Topsail, Virgin Mobile, and others are all taking their fair share of the blame for the high rates and outages caused by Hurricane Maria.
All of them have agreed to pay a combined $3 billion in the first year of the settlement.
That’s not all though, because in 2018, some of these same companies could have also been held liable for the cost of damages and lost revenues caused by the storm.
As we’ve detailed in detail before, these companies were all among the first to receive billions in federal disaster relief, and each of them could have seen their shares of the costs of the storm rise significantly in 2018.
The only problem is that the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are still pursuing lawsuits against the companies in some states.
The companies could be on the hook for up to $100 billion if the cases are successful.
So, if you are a cell phone carrier that is eligible for the cash settlement, now is the time to get your hands on the most favorable possible terms.
As a reminder, this is not a guarantee, and there are plenty of companies out there that could have gotten away with a lot less.
If you want to get started, check out our free $25 cell phone guide.
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry—it’s easy to figure out what you can do.
First, it’s important to understand that the total cost of this year’s $3-billion settlement is $1.4 trillion.
So even if you’re a cell carrier, there’s still a lot of things you could do to help yourself.
Here are a few things you can actually do to lower your risk of a cell rate hike.
Save money with a low cell rate Save money on your bills with a cell plan You could use your cell phone’s data allowance to pay for higher-end service.
For example, if your plan costs $300 per month, you could save $50 by using your $3 cell phone allowance to cover the cost.
It might not seem like a lot at first, but if you manage to save $100 in the next year, it could go a long way in reducing your monthly bill.
If the price of your monthly cell phone bill goes up by more than $50, you might consider a new contract.
While some people may think this is a bad idea, the reality is that most people can save a significant amount on their cell phone bills by using a cheaper data plan.
A better option is to make a monthly commitment to a higher-speed plan like the $20 plan from T-Mo, for example.
It’s a good way to save money without sacrificing on quality of service.
But remember that if you don’t make the monthly commitment, you’re still at risk of getting a higher price in the future.
Make the switch to a lower-priced plan Save on your phone bills with an inexpensive plan If you’re on a $100 plan and you have one or more of these plans, you’ll likely save money by using that savings to get on the cheap phone plan.
While most of these companies are offering plans that aren’t quite as good as the $30 or $40 plan, they do offer some really great deals.
Take a look at some of the deals that we’ve found below.
If these plan options aren’t your thing, you can still save some money by signing up for a higher priced plan, such as a $50 plan.
This will give you the same benefits, but you’ll be able to switch to the lower-cost plan when you need it most.
Save some money with your phone service plan Save some on your data plan By far, the most popular plan is the $15 plan from AT&, which offers the best value for your money.
This plan has a $15 data plan, a $10 voice plan, and a $5 data cap.
However, it also has some other great options like unlimited talk, text messaging, and data bundles.
We highly recommend the $10 plan from Sprint, because it’s the best deal you can get on your $20 phone plan—especially since you can also choose a $20 voice plan or $20 data bundle if you want.
If your cell provider offers a more expensive data plan than AT&/T/T-Mobile/Sprint, it might be worth looking into a higher data plan such as the Verizon/Ting or AT&Unlimited plans.
For more information on all of the data plans available to you, check our detailed post on the best phone plans available for 2018.
If this plan doesn’t meet your needs, check your options for other cell phone plans.
If there’s a better plan, check the deals for the phones you’re interested in.
This is the one for you