TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You see ads for cell phone companies all of the time, but when was the last time you seriously considered switching?

8 On Your Side is learning how switching to a different carrier could save you big money. Upwards of $300 per year.

Small carriers, known as MVNOs or mobile virtual network operators, will lease “excess wireless capacity” from the big four carriers. This means they use some of the same towers, but are not responsible for the upkeep. It also means cheaper plans for you and not paying for services you don’t need, like extra data and HD streaming.

Here’s a consumer reports analysis of what you could save:

  • Pay 70 dollars a month with AT&T for unlimited talk, text and data or stay on the same network with straight talk mobile, and only pay 44 dollars a month. That’s an annual savings of $312.
  • Verizon offers an unlimited deal for $65 per month, or you could use the Verizon network with visible, which offers an unlimited deal for $40 per month with some phone restrictions—a $300 difference.
  • T-Mobile’s unlimited deal costs $60 dollars per month or you use their network with text now and pay just $40 a month—that’s $240 less each year.

Before you switch, keep in mind if a big carrier has network congestion, it slows down the data speed of the smaller guys on its network first.