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Sea change in buying a cellphone: What should I expect when I upgrade phones this Fall?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by DaveF, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Rocket Science Department
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    AT&T tells me that if I change my mobile share plan (for instance, going from our current 3GB plan to a 5GB plan) I will also lose the incentive they promoted last year. However, if we keep the same plan and just get new phones, they tell me the plan price stays the same and the only price difference will be related to the size of the new phones. We are on a Next plan and not a 2-year subsidized contract.

    I would love to just buy the phones outright each year but my pockets are just not that deep.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That's what I'm confused about. The message we got read like getting new phones on the same contract plan will eliminate the Mobile Share Plan discounts.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Minor price increases and even the incomprehensible "activation" fees no longer surprise me. But a 30% increase in my monthly bill, for no benefit, gets my attention.


    The Apple program is a pretty good deal, if you upgrade every year. But it's still a two-year contract with mandatory AppleCare. And they overcharge by about $50 at the completion of a two-year contract. Still, I can't argue a good financial case for buying outright and Gazelling each year, since Gazelle's prices aren't that great.
     
  4. Alf S

    Alf S Banned
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    All the above is why I have no plans to make an adjustments to my AT&T 20GB share plan. Every rep I've talked to about phone upgrades say the same thing. If I want any new phones, I will lose the $15 a month discount on each line that gets a new phone. No thanks. I already pay way more than I'd like, but to add $30 more to my bill AND pay TWO new monthly "installment plans" for the phones is outrageous.


    If my wifes G2 dies, I will go back to Amazon and snag a new unlocked Zenfone or similar for a fraction of the cost I would get hit with for using "NEXT" etc.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Verizon and AT&T both changed their plans. Prices are appreciably different from a week or two ago. AT&T has cheaper monthly bills but generally Verizon is cheaper over the two year period due to hidden costs.
     
  6. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Rocket Science Department
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    And keep in mind, if you currently have an AT&T Next plan and buy new phones but keep said Next plan, all you pay is sales tax and you keep the $15/month discount per line. You only lose the discount if you get off the Next plan.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm on the formerly-conventional two-year subsidized contract. It seems if I stay on the contract, I lose the $15 mobile share discount. If I switch to a NEXT plan, I get the discount. However, even without the $15 discount, the two-year subsidized contract is marginally cheaper than the NEXT plan (and my current plan with discount is much cheaper than the NEXT plan).


    If I stay with AT&T, I try to get a new phone on the current, subsidized contract. Or I switch to Verizon and on the MORE plan, phone cost spread over 24 payments (as my corp discount isn't applied if I buy the phone outright).
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I bought a new iPhone last week. I decided that I wanted the simplicity and flexibility of the new non-subsidized plans, so I left my old two-year contract. But I had to wait until my old plan was over to not pay an ETF. I was with AT&T and was going to stay with AT&T. But they had revised all their plans, eliminating the 3GB family share I used, replacing it with a 2GB (too small) and 5GB (more than I wanted to pay). In changing to the new plan, they wouldn't / couldn't grandfather me in to the old data plan.


    I switched to Verizon. Their plans align with my data usage and are slightly cheaper than AT&T.


    Switching was simplicity.


    The phone number port took five minutes. The new plans are straight forward. Pick a phone, and the cost is divided into 24 equal payments -- 0% financing of the phone's retail cost with no early repayment penalties. The Verizon plan cost is straightforward as with AT&T: a data plan cost and a per-line access charge.


    With the subsidized plan, my new-phone date had been sliding out farther into the year. By now paying for the phone directly, in two years I can pay off my current phone early and upgrade to a new phone on its release date. And while I don't plan to, I have the option of early repayment and upgrading next year with no penalties, ETF concerns, or confusing contract renewal terms. Or, I can not upgrade in two years, see my phone financing charge drop off, my phone bill decrease, and not pay hidden subsidization fees until I do want to upgrade devices.


    The old subsidized plans were cheaper. The carriers have sneakily increased everyone's phone bills with this change over. But I like its simplicity and think people will be better off financially by explicitly buying what they want, and not have hidden costs paying for something that's already paid for.
     

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