We are switching our mobile phone carrier to T-Mobile. As a part of the e-rate funding process, we competitively bid services out every year to ensure we receive the best price possible for the telecommunications services we receive. This year, T-Mobile came out on top in our bid evaluation, so we are making the move.
Below you will find answers to the most common questions regarding this move. If you have any further questions or need more details, please e-mail Damon.
Q1. Why are we switching carriers?
Answer: During this year’s annual e-rate bidding process, T-Mobile made us an offer that would maintain, or in some cases increase, our level of service, while reducing costs. As such, we have chosen to move to T-Mobile as our mobile phone service provider for 2017-2018.
Background: The Federal Universal Service Fund (e-rate) started a “phase out” of subsidies for telephone service provided to schools (both landline and mobile). Mobile phone carriers have reacted differently to this development, with some standing pat on cost, and others seeing it as an opportunity to capture market share through more competitive pricing. T-Mobile has delivered an aggressively priced option to help schools stay connected without breaking the bank.
Q2. What service plan will we have? How does this compare with AT&T?
1000 min/user (pooled)
2GB/month add'l $15/mo
Unsubsidized 2-yr repayment
Subsidized 1-yr cycle
Q3. When is this happening?
Answer: We will work to schedule two days for device pickup and number porting. You will be able to choose a time slot on one of those two days. Please be sure to allow enough time to perform a backup, restore, and number port. For typical devices (16GB of data used) this takes about an hour. If you have more data, or know your device is having “issues”, please allow more time.
Q4. Why didn’t we do this before school was out? Or earlier?
Answer: The e-rate funding year goes from July 1 - June 30, in line with most government organization fiscal years. E-rate dollars for a given year are assigned to a specific provider and can only be expended with that provider. As such, if we made the move before July 1, we would not receive federal support for T-Mobile and we would lose the subsidy assigned to AT&T. This double hit on cost is not something we could afford to incur.
Q5. What if I (can’t/don’t/won’t) make it to one of the dates for device swap?
Answer: As mentioned above, cost is a big driving factor for this move. We cannot afford to pay for devices at full cost from AT&T with no e-rate subsidy. We will terminate service with AT&T on July 31, 2017 for ALL devices. If you are comfortable doing self-service, we can arrange for device pickup at a different time. Please note, self-service may cause delays with number porting because Damon must be personally unavailable to provide the necessary info to both carriers for the port. Similarly, data backup, restoration, and device unlock will be the responsibility of the end-user. The end-user will also be responsible for returning their AT&T device to UCCS by August 15, 2017. Failure to return the AT&T device by August 15, 2017, unlocked, reset, with iCloud device lock removed, will result in suspension of service on the new device, until the AT&T device is received.
Q6. Are there restrictions on use?
Answer: Devices are provided primarily for the purpose of carrying out your job duties at UChicago Charter School. Personal use is allowed, but should be in accordance with the direction of your supervisor and any applicable guidelines included in the staff handbook. Users may not use devices or services in a way that violates any applicable local, state, and federal law.
Q7. Will I have to change my phone number?
Answer: Users will have their existing number ported to T-Mobile as a part of our rollout process. The number porting process can take 24 hours, so in some cases you may receive a temporary number on T-Mobile to make sure you have no interruption of service.
Q8. Will I have to change my mobile device?
Answer: As a part of our contract, we will upgrade all users to a new device, in-line with the device they currently carry. We will use this as an opportunity to standardize our phone set to iOS, so we will not be providing Android devices. Current Android users will receive an iPhone.
Q9. What happens to my old device? Can I keep it? Can I buy it?
Answer: We will collect ALL existing devices as a part of the trade-in to a new device. To achieve further cost savings, we are NOT purchasing device insurance on the new devices and they have a 2-year pay-down period. A portion of our existing device inventory will be used as back stock should a new device be damaged or stolen. We will not be offering a device “buyout” option. Users must agree to pay for any repairs to their new phone if they do not want to be downgraded to a different used phone.
Q10. What happens to the data (my stuff) on my old device?
Answer: All current devices will be securely erased, with the user present, before being retained for inventory. We will also remove iCloud account settings and device lock. Please be sure to have your iCloud login information available when you come to pickup your new device. We cannot give you a new device until we can successfully disable device lock on the old one.
For current iPhone users we will work with you to back up your data. This can be done via iTunes before you come in to pick up your new device, or we can assist you with the backup and restore as a part of the pick up process.
We strongly recommend using iTunes to perform a device backup in this instance because it backs up ALL of the contents of your device, and it’s easy to restore that information to a new device in one simple step. Instructions for creating an iTunes backup can be found here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203977#iTunes
Please be sure to allow enough time to perform a backup, restore, and number port. For typical devices (16GB of data used) this takes about an hour. If you have more data, or know your device is having “issues”, please allow more time.
If you backup your own device, please be sure to bring in the laptop you used for the backup when picking up your new device. This is necessary to successfully move your settings and data to the new device.