Been working in wireless for over 5 years in retail sales, and I have worked for 2 of the 4 major carriers in the United States.
About myself, I started working in wireless part time, made about 60k my first year while I was in school. Got my bachelors, and decided to stick around because I like my job and because I make way more than I would at a "real" job. Currently working Full-Time for another carrier. Turned down multiple management offers because like I said, my job is super kush.

No I don't know anything about the new iPhone
Anything you're curious about? AMA!!


Comments: 172 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

wireless_throwaway26 karma

A few things I feel like everyone should know also. I am a commissioned sales rep. 75% of my income comes directly from selling you products. I have about 50 different sales metrics that I need to maintain. For example for EVERY phone I sell, Verizon requires me to have an attachment of $80 in accessories. 50% of my sales need to have insurance. If I do not meet these numbers, I will be written up and eventually terminated. Now this next part might sound kinda douchey, but its not because we are terrible people. It's because of the pressure on us to sell.

Does the rep seem distracted or not wanting to help you? He/She probably doesn't because you're going to ruin their metrics. You're judged the moment your car pulls up into the parking lot. We secretly hope you'll leave.

Check your bills carefully "I know you told me you do not want the insurance package for your new $700 droid maxx, but I do want to make sure your phone is protected. WE will start you with a trial and WE can remove it later when the trial ends. I just want to make sure I set you up correctly today" Trial doesn't mean "free" trial. The words WE vs I subconsciously give you the feeling that I'm working for you. Apparently this is worse at T-Mobile who requires 90% attachment. Some reps dont even bother explaining and just bundle it in

While I hope my company does well, YOU personally threatening to leave my company and go with a competitor affects me in no way. If I get the vibe you're wanting to waste my time and not going to purchase anything. I'll try to usher you out. That time could be spent with a customer that is there to buy something.

Upgrades don't matter. We make a few bucks and thats it.

Best way to avoid all the games if you're there to upgrade? "Hey we're out of contract and looking at getting a few new phones and I was also looking at the internet hotspot online and curious about getting one of those added onto my plan." Even if you have NO intention of purchasing a hotspot, the prospect of a new activation will have the rep bending over backwards for you. (We have a quota of 20 additional products - home phones / hot spot otherwise we lose a percentage of our commission checks)

ManfredH5 karma

I have a question regarding Verizon mobile. Much of what you describe in regards to requirements are similar to those my wife delt with in her two most recent jobs. She worked at the call center for Verizon home phone services, and later in both sales and then retention (The people who you call to cancel services.) for the local cable company in her area. In all those positions, she eventually became one of the top ten salespeople (Or in the case of retention, best at preventing losses.) in her state.

With Verizon, and later the cable company, she was fired on false pretences because from the managerial perspective, she was one of their most expensive employees due to commision and other bonuses she earned. Of her co-workers in both places, only a few of those she knew remain, and all of those were the worst salespeople, or agreed to take much lower paying managerial positions.

Are things much the same as a salesman on the mobile end of Verizon's business, or are the mobile salespeople less likely to be fired for being too good at their jobs?

wireless_throwaway3 karma

One of my good friends has been with the company for about 5 years now. While he was a rep he was constantly asked to take management which he declined because of the pay cut.

StreetDwellerBoards3 karma

Declined a managerial position because of the pay cut. How ridiculous are these companies? Pure greed.

wireless_throwaway3 karma

For alot of people it is a good upward step and a nice pay increase. Imagine going from making 13 bucks an hour + commission to a salaried 50k / year + bonus. For the average rep who is making 45k year now @ 65k / year its a good increase for top performers though who are currently making 80-90 k as a rep, why would they drop down to 60-65k / year, work more hours, have mandatory overtime, and alot more stress in management?

wireless_throwaway2 karma

But to answer this, I don't think this is true. Good employees are very beneficial to the company and can bring in alot more than their "cost". for example at a certain undisclosed carrier I was bringing in close to 900k in revenue yearly and getting less than 10% of that in pay.

Come-back-Shane15 karma

Do AT&T or Verizon have plans to kill off all the grandfathered Unlimited Data customers' plans?

wireless_throwaway17 karma

I don't think so. I feel these plans act as a great deterrent to churn and also create brand loyalty. While the carriers put up an image of wanting to get people off these plans, customers with these "cool" and "no longer offered" plans are some of the most loyal customers out there....

Come-back-Shane6 karma

I can vouch for that! I'm definitely moving over to T-Mobile once AT&T cancels mine.

wireless_throwaway15 karma

And if it never goes away, you'll never leave :D, AT&T knows this too and probably prefers to keep you as a customer.

On a side note, it's funny seeing how much data a large majority of "unlimited" users use... 1-2gb /month

bozboy20411 karma

As someone who hates using a phone with only a touchscreen, but wants a phone that can do most/all of the things other smartphones can do, what are some good choices for me in a new phone? I won't buy a phone without a keypad. I have always had very low end phones before which has worked just fine, but having a phone with an actual browser would be very useful when I'm on the road and don't have my laptop/access to wifi. What would you recommend? Also, I'm with AT&T now, but would happily switch to Tmobile if I had decent signal in my apartment. What are your thoughts between those two providers?

wireless_throwaway8 karma

Personally? I would look into getting yourself into a smaller tablet such as the iPad mini / Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (+bluetooth keyboard!). One thing to keep in mind is nowadays it is very rare to find any decent smartphone with a full slide-out keyboard, and the ones that you do find are going to be older and on the lower end of the spectrum. I know you mentioned you have used lower-end devices before without any issues, but also realize that regardless of the phone you use, you pay the same $ a month for data access, and newer devices are going to offer internet speeds up to 10x faster. A newer device will also have a much faster processor and will be able to switch between webpages much smoother, and once you do start "doing things other smartphones can do" the older device is no longer going to be able to keep up. If you were spending the same $500 a month to lease a BMW or a Nissan Versa, which car would you pick... Really though, I would go to an AT&T store and play around with a few of their mini tablets. The tablets are going to have a much larger screen which will mean larger keyboard!, and the data plans are much cheaper too. You're going to be able to do pretty much you can on a smartphone except make calls, and there are some pretty cool flip cover cases now for tablets that have built in keyboards...........P.S. if you ever fly, apparently you dont have to take tablets out of your backpack, whereas tablets you have to send through the screener seperately.

As far as at&t vs t-mobile, t-mobile is a value carrier. They are cheaper than AT&T but their coverage is pretty limited. AT&T's 4g network by itself is larger than T-Mobiles entire network data network. AT&T's LTE network by itself is larger than T-Mobiles entire 3g/4g network. Data coverage is non existant outside of cities, and for someone on the road alot, I'm sure its important to be able to stay connected wherever you are...

bozboy2043 karma

Thank you for the response.

I have zero interest in anything tablet. I'm perfectly willing to sacrifice performance for a keypad.

I referee, so I'm often driving and trying to confirm directions to a site, or calling members of my crew to coordinate pregame things. I can't deal with the distraction of a touch screen while I'm driving, but I can operate a key pad by feel. The browser would largely be for directions and accessing my game schedule/information on my assignment website. Whatever phone I get would need to be something I can carry comfortably in a pocket, so a giant tablet/phone is a no-go.

I've largely been happy with my lower functioning phones, I just need a marginal increase in capability. I don't plan on using the phone to do everything for me like many people use their phones for.

Do carriers have any way of letting me borrow a phone to test signal at places I would most need signal (my apartment and my place of work?). That would definitely me decide whether to stay with AT&T which covers me, or switch to Tmobile if they have similar coverage.

wireless_throwaway4 karma

Call AT&T request an "unlock" for your current device. Go to T-Mobile and activate a cheap pay as you go account with minimum load ($10) test out service :D Watch out when you do sign up for T-Mobile their reps are shady as heck. They currently have a quota for 90% attachment for JUMP! which is their "insurance" program, so theyll try to sneak it into your bill....

bozboy2043 karma

Thank you for that advice about the insurance plan thing! Wouldn't have known to look for that otherwise. I'll have to try out the service test idea too. My current phone number is from an area code far away from where I currently live. Are they going to give me crap about keeping my same # if I switch carriers and am living in a different area code?

wireless_throwaway3 karma

Nope. They are a national carrier you can port from any area code

bestonericky11 karma

Why is it hard to find Pre-paid cards and a lot of carrier companies try to sell you their 2 year plan?

wireless_throwaway10 karma

The reason us reps pushed 2 year contracts so hard was because it was more money for us (commission) and the company wants us to push it because they make more money (guaranteed stream of money for 24 months)

For example, At a certain carrier on a postpaid (contract) activation I would get paid 40% of the monthly recurring charge + a spiff for each phone sold On a prepaid I would get 25% of the monthly recurring charge + a smaller spiff So if you came in and activated 4 new phones @ $200/mo , my total commission for that sale would be $80+$50 = $130

if you came in and activated 4 prepaid phones on a pay as you go plan I would make a whopping $10+$20 = $30

jsenlee10 karma

Have you ever seen customers pushed away from Windows phones to other devices?

wireless_throwaway9 karma

Honestly, I'm guilty of this sometimes. But yes I think it is common practice at almost every carrier. For me personally? If a customer is looking at their first smart phone I usually demo all 3 major OS and go over cons and benefits of each

I_Read_Your_Post9 karma

Walking around the mall when I passed near a booth for AT&T. Guy physically pulled me in by my elbow, which did not make me extremely happy.

Told me about his fantastic plans which included unlimited everything.

I then asked "since it's unlimited everything can I pay the entire two year contract monthly fees, except taxes which you understandably would not know."

Him:"Well we can't do that because there are charges if you go over your allotted amount."

Me:"Over on unlimited? So it's limited unlimited?"

Him:"No it's unlimited!"

Me:"Unlimited but there are charges for going over a limit?"


Me:"You don't see a problem with that statement?"

Him:"Well sir if you are going to be combative I don't want to sell you a plan."

Me:"Sounds good to me."

wireless_throwaway-6 karma

lol its unlimited because it will never slow down, the price just changes depending on how much data you use

kozu17476 karma

How much power/ability do customer service reps who take phone calls have? What all can they do with respect to your account, service, and bills?

wireless_throwaway6 karma

It depends what the issue is, the carrier, and the rep you are speaking with. For the most part if there is a billing error it will be fixed immediately. Overages I've seen are 50-50 with some carriers crediting up to X% of the overage. Overall though this is kind of a broad question... Is there something in particular you are looking to do? I might be able to give a better answer if you can setup a scenario for me...

mjh846 karma

iPhone/ATT user here. I'm always over 2.4GB and avg about 500 text messages (not including iMessages). I basically never use my minutes...mostly because I hate talking on the phone (another story). Is there a way I can change my plan, but keep my grandfathered unlimited data?

wireless_throwaway5 karma

What were you wanting to change about your plan?

mjh845 karma

Lower the amount of minutes, in hopes that my bill goes down. It's not that I can't afford it, I just fee like my minutes are going to waste.

wireless_throwaway3 karma

The lowest you could go would be 450 min w/ roll over. For texting unless you have a grandfathered texting plan it would be $20 (and include free minutes to ANY cell phone) and unlm data $30 total of $90/mo + tax before any discounts But yes, you can change rate plans without losing your unlimited data. as long as you do not switch to a MOBILE SHARE plan

mjh844 karma

dam, I guess I'm as low as it goes. I have 450 mins, unlimited text/data...after taxes and all those bs fees, my bill is like $103/mo.

wireless_throwaway2 karma

Where do you work? Are you a student?

abenfVA5 karma

How much 'speed' is withheld from customers with data plans? Does it differ between lower and higher tier plans?

wireless_throwaway12 karma

This depends on the carrier. I've found T-Mobile and Sprint offer TRULY unlimited data plans,(T-Mobile also has "unlimited" data plans that throttle after a certain amount of usage for cheaper) At AT&T / Verizon, only the top users get throttled, last I heard it was top 5%. AT&T likes to be sneaky and will say "unlimited 3g" not "lte" so I think they throttle you down to HSPA after 5gb

quigonjen4 karma

T-Mobile sends the throttling text after 2G on my "unlimited" data plan.

wireless_throwaway4 karma

are you on the "truly" unlimited data plan or the 2.5gb "unlimited" data plan?

mjh843 karma

thought throttling was illegal? EDIT: not that it would stop them, haha.

wireless_throwaway8 karma

Comcast throttled me because I was torrenting all day :(

weggy5 karma


wireless_throwaway1 karma

All of AT&T's gophone (prepaid) plans include unlimited internatinoal texting

munkeybeerd3 karma

What carrier has the best service?

wireless_throwaway6 karma

Best is subjective. I feel each carrier has their own perks and cons.

jrafferty1 karma

I've been satisfied with all your answers so far while reading through this thread until I saw this cop out answer lol.

What are the pros and cons as seen from the inside? In my experience T-Mobile has the best customer service hands down, Verizon has the best coverage, and Sprint had the better plans. The views were determined by my experience when I was a customer with each so they may not reflect current standings.

wireless_throwaway12 karma

From the inside, Verizon and AT&T are going to provide the best customer experience (as shown by their recent JD power results) simply because their in-store reps are given pretty much all the tools needed to assist their customers. Reps are able to issue credits, cancel accounts, transfer accounts, etc AT&T has locations with trained technicians to provide in-store warranty exchanges on the spot along with troubleshooting,and Verizon stores swap out phones for you on the spot. If there is a billing error or overages I can use my judgement and correct it all on the spot.

T-Mobile requires reps to call into a dedicated support line to issue any credits, billing errors, and even if something is clearly wrong, I would have had to sit there and explain why to someone on the phone to get something corrected. phone won't turn on? I have to file a request to get one shipped to your house for a $20 fee.

Sprint I feel is getting much better with empowering their reps, but their plans are overrated imo. Their LTE coverage is almost non-existent, so most of their phones are stuck on 3g. What's the point of unlimited data when you're getting 0.5 mbps.

At the end of the day, I think it really comes down to what you're looking for in a carrier. Verizon/ AT&T for coverage, Verizon has larger LTe footprint but once you leave an LTE zone you get dropped down to 3g which is terribly slow. Literally you can go from 30mbps to 1mbps in about 3 seconds. AT&T has a smaller LTE network but their HSPA+ (4g) network is HUGE. Even if you leave a LTE area, your phone will switch to HSPA+ (30mbps LTE - 10mbps HSPA+).

mixwhit3 karma

I have AT&T and a grandfathered unlimited data plan. will I ever be able to use my phone as a hotspot without loosing the unlimited data?

wireless_throwaway2 karma

Check how much data you are actually using. A large percentage of unlimited users use only 1-2gb a month. Mobile share plans include free tethering, and might work out to be a better deal for you if you have more than 1 line............4

GregGonzo2 karma

I work for a company that offers a 15% discount when you use your phone with Verizon or Sprint. I want the discount, however I do not want to switch carriers as I'm locked into unlimited data for being a customer for so long. My contract is up in October. Do you think if I threaten to leave my carrier for Sprint or Verizon they will honor the 15% discount, or just call my bluff and won't care if I leave? Thanks!

wireless_throwaway1 karma

AT&T? They'll probably give you free texting for 6 months or something lol Go through retentions and just say "hey I was wondering if you guys have any discounts available for XXXX employees. Verizon said I get a 15% discount, can you check to see if there are any?" Even if you know there isnt a discount the retentions rep will probably give you some sort of offer

Now. If you go into a retail store the rep probably would not care and will probably give you directions to the nearest verizon or sprint store

GregGonzo1 karma

Awesome advice. Thank you!

wireless_throwaway1 karma

Yeah, just don't be that guy who is like "I MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO VERIZON" because you might just get a rep who doesn't care.

Subtly hinting that you're aware your contract is up and inquiring about corporate discounts is going to give you a much more friendly rep

sdguy6192 karma

How did you feel about the possibility of At&t once trying to but T-Mobile? And how did you feel when the government blocked it?

wireless_throwaway7 karma

If you want my personal non-professional opinion I'm glad it didn't go through. T-Mobile customers are a pain in the ass to deal with.

fourinxchange2 karma

Worked for T-Mobile for 4 years and now work for another competitor. I can attest to the fact that T-Mobile customers are awful. They are some of the most ungrateful group of people ever. The startling difference in clientele behavior and willingness to spend money between carriers is like being in a dark basement for 4 years and finally seeing sunlight for the first time. Mind blowing

wireless_throwaway1 karma

haha you're so right... T-Mobile customers are quite possibly the most entitled group of people ever. I understand they mostly market to lower income people, but they all seem to think that every fee can be waived and that every price in store is negotiable. At the larger carriers I don't think I've ever had someone bitch about a $40 activation or upgrade fee, whereas T-mobile customers would throw a hissy fit over a $10 activation fee (sim starter kit cost)

failuretolunch1 karma

When getting a new contract, is there room for negotiation? Can I buy a bunch of accessories to get a discount on the phone (and then return them somewhere else)?

wireless_throwaway1 karma

New customer or upgrade? Upgrade? I could care less if you are going to walk. New customer? depends on alot of factors..... but for the most part at a corporate store the prices are pretty much set. This is usually at the reps discretion but most of the time these types of customers asking for deals and what not are usually not worth the effort because they are so hard to please

ethanspoppa_ok1 karma

So if I have a background in sales (extensive) could I make money like that working for a cell phone carrier? Also, is that a two week paycheck or a whole month?

When I first started in sales, I made nearly $60k my first year with zero experience.

wireless_throwaway1 karma

If you are good yes. Top reps in the company are pushing 80-100 / year....... most reps in my district make around 45-55.. commission is paid 1x month hourly/salary is paid biweekly I'm used to it by now but at first it was strange getting paid $1400 then 2 weeks later a $4400 paycheck then a $1400 after another 2 weeks

ethanspoppa_ok1 karma

I'm no stranger to odd paychecks. There were times when I'd get a $800 paycheck and then a $5000 one working in sales. That's crazy though, I need to look into that. At my current job I bust my ass and make $39k. Lots of physical labor.

inshanealicious1 karma

I've been on terrible prepaid plans for years now to save money. How much power do you or others have to put random users on high employer discount plans without them being employed at these places?

Hey, I had to ask. ;)

wireless_throwaway1 karma

it used to be pretty easy but they tightened it up alot... go to a third party t-mobile or verizon store............

neuone1 karma

Is there any way I can get out of my contract without paying my ETF?

wireless_throwaway1 karma


funkseoulbrotha1 karma

So, where can I get my hands on a cell brite machine?

wireless_throwaway2 karma

haha why would you want a cellbrite,

its slow, deletes text messages and doesn't transfer pictures half the time

rainandshine1 karma

What's the best way to get the best deal out of your smartphone/ plan?

wireless_throwaway2 karma

many companies offer discounts with cell phone carriers ... for example microsoft employees = 25% off your monthly bill check how much data you actually use and switch your plan accordingly iMessage is free..........

Virata1 karma

I've had a business account w/ T-Mobile for about 12 years now. Every 2 years I call in to business support and give them the same spiel:

"Hi, my 5 lines are all about to expire, and I'm reconsidering renewing my T-Mobil contract. I LOVE the service, but AT&T is offering me 5 brand new IPhones for free as long as they get me into a 2 year and take my business. Can you guys match that?"

Done it every 2 years since the G1 and picked up the G1, Galaxy S1, and Galaxy S3 for free+2 year every single time. I'm talking a phone for every line. Now that T-Mobile no longer does 2 years, any suggestions on how I can manipulate them next?! :)

wireless_throwaway1 karma

Contact your local small business rep, tmobile does still offer 2yr contracts on the side

arytenoid1 karma

i'm on ATT. i like android platform way more than iOS but i don't like how the android phones keep getting bigger and bigger. i want a good phone (decently fast, ok-good camera, good battery life) that isn't too cumbersome (e.g. samsung galaxy 3/4).

i currently use motorola atrix, which was the perfect size for me w/ perfect functionality.

wireless_throwaway1 karma

Look into the Optimus G Everyone gives it crap for being an LG but its specs are pretty amazing and its $50.

Fireislander1 karma

How was your salary determined? (What percent commission? What phones did you push because they would make you more?)

Did the provider tell you to push a certain phone?

wireless_throwaway2 karma

It varies depending on the carrier and the market. In my Market the hourly depends on experience... and this is in my market

T-Mobile starts at around $10-$12 / hour w/ full benefits Commission is paid per device. $12.50 per phone + 40% of the monthly bill. (ex. $300 monthly bill + 5 phones = $182.50 in commission)

Sprint starts at around $12-$13 / hour + target commission of around $13,000 a year. You'll get your target commission if you hit 100% to goal... (most reps hit over 100% to goal), also bonus for csat / readynow ($600/mo)

AT&T starts at around $13.50~$15.50 / hour + target commission of around $15000 / year (most reps hit over 100% to goal multipliers start at around 160% to goal -ex 160% to goal would pay 250% or $3125 )

Verizon starts at around 28-32k / year + target commission of around $15000 / year (most reps hit over 100% to goal with way multipliers starting at 110% to goal ) + annual bonus depending on performance

As far as pushing a certain phone? not really. we got spiffs on certain devices, and there were always contests and stuff for selling certain phones but we never felt like we were pushed to sell one device over anohter

1dan211 karma

Should i buy insurance? and do the contracts that give me a phone discount screw me over?

wireless_throwaway1 karma

People always think that insurance is some sort of scam but on a higher end device it is sometimes really not a bad deal. Let's look at AT&T's Mobile Insurance Plan $6.99 / mo w/ Tiered deductible ($200 for a smartphone)

$6.99x24 comes out to $168 over 24mo +$200 deductible total cost for 1 new device + 24 mo coverage $368

Cost of iPhone 5 outright? $649.99

Other options?

Early upgrade - iPhone 5 = $250 (early upgrade fee) + $200 (iPhone 5 subsidized cost) + $36 (upgrade fee) $486 total + new 2 yr agreement

Cross Upgrade - iPhone 5= $200 + $36 upgrade fee $236 total + new 2 year agreement + loss of phone subsidy ($350-400)

Add a line - iPhone 5 = $200 + $36 activation fee + $240 (9.99x24) Total cost = $476

Only time it might make sense NOT to get the insurance is if you have multiple lines on your plan that have upgrades available.......

Jesus-Blew-Me0 karma

This AMA is probably over but I figured I may as well ask anyway because I've always been curious...

Now you've been in retail sales for over 5 years and I have to ask: Do your managers purposely not train retail associates on how to handle rebates? I used to work for Rebate Care for T-Mobile and countless times I've had customers call in claiming they were told they were getting a rebate for a phone where a rebate does exist, but they were given a form anyway. Is this seriously common practice?

Another question as well: When Sales associated fill out the form for customers, A)Do they know they legally cannot do that? and B)Why do they (in most cases) at least not tell the customers the terms and conditions? Again, countless times I've had customers complain about being unfamiliar with the "Unlimited rate plan" requirements.

I've reported over 200 sales associates to corporate (after they allowed us a system to provide the store number, the associates name, and the time it happened) and I've always hated doing it, but I hated misinformation even more.

wireless_throwaway1 karma

I hated those stupid rebate forms lol "must been in all capital letters" half the time we'd fill it out because customers would be like "i hate rebates" so we would just say "we will fill it out for you and you can just mail it in" as far as the requirements for data most reps are shady as heck but its also up to the customer to read the rebate form and double check that they meet the requirements

Jesus-Blew-Me1 karma

But they're more inclined to do so if they're made familiar that there ARE terms and conditions and they're made clear, instead of saying "Don't worry, you're qualified." Not saying you in particular do that, but too many times... So many times... lol

It just baffled me. Mind you, those rebates were rigged right from the start. The system is designed to boot out qualified rebates with generic error codes in hopes that the customer will just write it off. It pisses me off to think just how many customers did just that! I don't know if you remember the Valentine's Day rebate two years ago... What a train wreck, and all because the "Processing system" was absolutely retarded and most were denied for no reason whatsoever.

The best part about that job? I never had to sign a confidentiality waiver so I can say whatever I want about the parent company (Young America) and their processes.

But T-Mobile was just as bad. I remember someone coming in to assess the center and it's operations from "head office". He sat next to me, listened to a few calls where customers were complaining about misinformation, and shrugged it off, even though I showed him their rebates were booted out for no reason. I ended up paying out $1500 rebates around last Christmas even though they weren't qualified for SGS4 rebates @ $300 a phone. Some people bought 5... a lot of people bought 5... It was just insane.

I don't miss T-Mobile or YA, but good on you for sticking it out and enjoying it!

wireless_throwaway1 karma

young america's call centers lol I found it was faster to send an email on the contact us website than to actually try and call the rebate center for customers.