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Think switching carriers is the way to go to save? First, make sure to check the activation charges of the service provider. These can typically cost about $35, said Lisa Gerstner, staff writer at Kiplinger's personal finance magazine. "It's a little easier to wiggle out of this fee," Gerstner said. "You could threaten to walk away, and they might waive that fee." Some stores, like Best Buy, have promotions to buy phones without activation fees. Pictured: A Blackberry Bold 9900 4G smartphone sits on display for sale at T-Mobile store.