US Cellular to once again require contracts for existing customer upgrades

Back in 2010, U.S. Cellular surprised many of us by announcing 'The Belief Project' -- a new, novel policy that gave existing customers increased freedom by no longer requiring that they sign a contract for phone upgrades. Only an initial contract was required to be signed by new customers; after that, subscribers could upgrade contract-free indefinitely. At the time, this was unheard of as far as the 'Big Four' carriers were concerned.

Ironically, as other carriers begin to move away from subscriber contracts, U.S. Cellular has decided that contracts are the best way "to invest in improving our customer experience." Beginning later this month, any existing U.S. Cellular customers who use an available upgrade to purchase a subsidized device will be required to sign a 2-year service contract. Also changing is the '15-Day Excellence Guarantee' policy, with customers now being charged a $35 restocking fee when a device is returned within the initial 15 day period.

How do U.S. Cellular customers feel about these new (or old, depending on how you look at it) changes? Sound off in the comments.

Source: Engadget

  • I'm not too enthused with the changes happening with Us. Cellular right now. I have the original 5gb 400min unli. texting plan (that used to have tethering till they stole it from me) Now all they do is try to pull me off my plan because they have "better" plans than what I have currently.
  • On older phones, the tethering capability was not disabled, due to a loophole in the software. Most people got used to being able to use this feature at no extra cost, but couldn't do this after upgrading to newer phones (where the loop has been closed).
  • I think you will find that the "loophole" you refer to is simply different APNs (access point names) in the phone, and getting a phone from anywhere else does not get those APNs installed. I've been tethering on AT&T with a nexus and an international model HTC One X, and they can't even tell I'm doing it. (I stay well under the max data limit). Neighbor has the equivalent phone from AT&T and the tethering plan, and they have a mess of (largely un-needed) APNs built into the phone. That might not be possible on a legacy CDMA network.
  • I'm sure both of their customers are furious.
  • Good one! Lmao Posted via Android Central App
  • "to invest in improving our customer experience." They said what they meant: to "improve our customer experience",
    They didn't say what you thought you read "to improve our CUSTOMER'S experience". Us Cell is the only one gaining any improvement, by locking down their customers.
    Its all about how they experience you, not the other way around. Somewhere there sits an Advertising Vice President, sipping a Merlot and chuckling about how well he managed to sell that whopper.
  • lol theyre just trying to get more money. Im Glad in Canada the CTRC has the regulations .
  • Damn you Verizon!! Wait....... Posted via Android Central App
  • In other news: U.S. Cellular is still a thing.
  • I hope sprint buys them and uses their towers to expand rural coverage. Posted via Android Central App
  • My wife was a US Cellular customer until we heard about this from a friend last week. Bought her an unlocked Galaxy GS4 and now she's using that prepaid on another carrier. If there's any way I can avoid it, I'll never sign another contract with a mobile phone carrier. It may be painful to pay for phone outright, but the long term savings are enormous.
  • I find it quite hilarious that only 7 comments have been posted in over an hour on this. We can see the vast customer base that US Cellular services...
  • Not sure...I do not have them so my opinion in the real world does not matter! I know post paid cost a lot more but I love having the option to buy a phone outright and just pay my current monthly bill!
  • I don't have an issue with this. They have been hemorrhaging money for some time. There was nothing stopping customers from getting a subsidized phone and then that person in turn leaving. That's what many people did...abused the system. I don't care about a contract...all it ever got me was a cheaper phone every so often. USCC is still the best call quality, coverage and value in my area and where I use it.
  • I second this comment completely.... Posted via Android Central App
  • Getting a subsidized phone and then leaving doesn't get you a free phone.
    You still get a charge on your credit card for the pay-out left on the phone. One more reason I think carriers should be forbidden to sell phones. They would have to make their money with quality of service, rather than a ball and chain. We don't let Exxon or Shell sell cars. You can't buy a TV set from NBC or CNN, or Comcast.
  • No. You didn't get charged if you were with USCC. That's the problem. And it's not about YOU getting a free phone, it's the carrier that is selling you a phone and fronting the majority of the money for you in good faith. You then leave because you are not bound and they will never re-coop their money from the lost customer. Contracts as much as I don't like them are a necessary evil for providers (mind you smaller ones) to stay afloat. I'd be all for no contracts and buying phones outright. Hell...I do that the majority of the time anyways.
  • I wonder if this change will be a justification for getting out of early termination fees under the "Changes to Relationship" clause of their contract.
  • Wonder what bandwidth they own and if it is worth someone buying them. It won't be sprint. Maybe Tmo? Posted via
  • Same here Posted via Android Central App
  • I won't be signing any contracts with them until they change pricing if you aren't subsidizing a phone. Posted via Android Central App
  • I signed a contract with US Cellular for a lot of different regions however after the first 8 months and now this. I will not be resigning my contract with them!
  • I am very disappointed in US Cellular,All the great benefits that made me stay with USCC are being taken away. Battery swap, I went to get one yesterday after I had gotten one in MArch (the 1st time I have used in 2 yrs) The battery they gave may started getting hot(105 F) then (112F)Now a 120 F and will not hold a charge. To find that they no longer have that! Now you tell me no more belief program, no more this and that. Like all companies suck you in then try to screw you with out any vasaline!Seems to me I heard more people were happier and changing over to USCC after these plans started. Humm now how many of us are thinking about "Switch to Straight Talk" and save money ?? Raise your hand! I live over in the stix as one would say. People I work with that live in the stix and they all have dropped t"THE BIG BOX COMPANY CELL PHONE providers. Straight talk is seeming better and better and I hear Crickett is not to bad either!I dont won't to be locked in an agreement with them. I should not have to as some others maybe like myself, have been customers long term. I was with GE Cellular that became Blue Ridge Cellular that became US Cellular.
  • I've been a US Cellular customer since the beginning, back in 1994. Until recently I would have laughed at anyone who asked me to change. I had always felt that US Cellular had valued me as a customer. Whenever I made a mistake that costed me money they always found a way to give it back to me, rebates, courtesy minutes, etc., customer reps always found a way to make me feel good. Now I feel like I'm at a used car lot and the salesman is out to gouge me for every cent he can get. I went for years and never paid an activation fee, NO MORE. You get anything you pay for it and pay as much as they can get. I have gone from being a completely satisfied customer to one who is has 6 lines and is looking for a way out.
  • Well that means I will be switching carriers, because now they're all the same and the coverage for US Cellular has really gone down.