A little over a month ago, I was visiting my mom up in The Villages, and we got to talking about her cell phone service because her crappy phone was misbehaving regularly. The phone screen wouldn't come on when it was on a call, no matter what you did. Of course she took her year-old phone to Verizon, where the solution they offered was for her to buy a new phone, of course. Oh, and she was paying almost $70/month for a single line, and generally used less than a half-gig of data. Yeah, those bastards were trying to take advantage of my 70-year-old widowed (twice) mom.
I was pretty pissed about all that, so I talked her into moving her service to Google Fi where we would both get some service credits (referral link) and she would likely end up spending less than $35 per month, given her data usage. On the down side, she had to buy a phone, but the Motorola she got for $200 is actually pretty nice, and definitely an upgrade. I think she'll really enjoy it for what little she uses it for. She has a fingerprint sensor on this one too, so she's not walking around with an unlocked phone anymore.
That said, transferring service was not straight forward, because my mom doesn't know her passwords and such. I tried to walk her through it over the phone, but couldn't do it. She couldn't find her WiFi password, so that was the first barrier. So I drove the hour to her house and helped her out. By the time I got there, she found the WiFi password, but the menu sequence was still not super obvious to get service transferred, and I think the Fi software is pretty good. At first it just didn't ask for her Google account, which is what the service order was tied to. And then it asked for her Verizon PIN along with her billing info, which may or may not have been right. Fortunately, it took what we gave it, and her number rolled over to the new phone in about five minutes and I could call and text her on it.
There were some other quirks too, including the fact that it installed the crappy Verizon apps that came with her old phone. But we got those cleaned up and the important stuff like her photos worked out. On the negative side, fucking Verizon had its own contact app instead of using the one from Android, and there was no straight forward way to get those out. She spent this evening manually copying those from the old phone.
This stuff is still too hard for non-techy people, and if you buy your phone at retail, those assholes aren't going to help. Still, initial friction aside, Mom has a nicer phone with a better camera and will pay half as much for service.