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Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

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Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Old 04-07-13, 02:56 PM
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Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

I have some friends that say that their prepaid phone plan is cheap. They don't like to sign contracts. OK. I certainly understand that aspect of not having to sign a contract. But I noticed some people don't count the carrier subsidy into play when looking at the price. For example, I got my Verizon Galaxy Note II a few months ago for $37 on contract. My price was due to error on the retailer's part, but still, you could have gotten it for $50 on contract. Now, buying it at full retail is $699 from Verizon. Even if you were to consider international unlocked GSM versions, the cost would still be at least $600ish even today from any large retailer. Figuring out the difference and taking into account the $30 upgrade fee, the carrier subsidy was worth about $22 per month. Granted, that was a somewhat good deal I got, but even if not, the carrier subsidy has to be worth something. To me, about $15/month is the worth of the carrier subsidy, or about $360 over the 2 year contract. And that seems to make sense, these days you can get a GS3 for $50 or less on contract. An unlocked GS3 would run you about $400. T-Mobile's uncarrier plan requires a $20/month payment for phones as well.

So, looking at my plan's monthly charges on Verizon:
My line with unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE: $43
Smartphone line with 300mb: $41
(3) Dumb phone lines: $21 (or $63 for 3)

Now, factoring in the carrier subsidy:
My line with unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE: $28
Smartphone line with 300mb: $26
(3) Dumb phone lines: $6 (or $18 for 3)

The smartphone line with 300mb, a prepaid plan could be cheaper, but looking at my line with unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE and the dumb phone lines, it is hard to find a prepaid plan that would be cheaper while providing the same level of service.

I had a friend who was bragging about Straight Talk's $45 unlimited everything plan. When I asked more about it, he said, data isn't really unlimited. If you go 2-3gb a month, they may just cancel your plan. He does of course have unlimited talk and text, which isn't important to me, as I usually use about half of my 550 minute pool, most of the talk is via mobile to mobile or night and weekend, which is free on Verizon's family plan.

Anyway, just wondering what the carrier subsidy is worth to you, for those on post paid plans, or for those on pre-paid plans, what you think it would be worth.
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Old 04-07-13, 04:08 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Man, you keep factoring in unlimited data. Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited unthrottled data for new customers, but not AT&T and Verizon. AT&T doesn't offer unlimited anymore, and throttles LTE and 3G for customers grandfathered in, and IIRC Verizon is forcing people off unlimited plans if they want to use their subsidy. So really, that's not a fair calculation for most of the population. And please don't give me that crap about assuming someone else's service. Most people won't go to the trouble of doing that, and even if you want to, you have to be able to find someone giving their service up.

That being said, carrier subsidies are worth it if that carrier offers a discount for bringing your own phone to them. T-Mo does offer a discount if you bring your own phone, AFAIK Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon don't. However, with a GSM phone you bought yourself you can switch between GSM carriers just by swapping out a SIM card, which is a nice bit of freedom, especially if you travel.

For my part, I'm done dealing with contracts. Once T-Mo upgrades their network with the new spectrum they got from the fallout of the AT&T merger and brings out LTE in my area, I'm switching to them. Their $30 prepaid 100 minute, unlimited text, 5 GB data plan is the best deal on cell service in the United States.
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Old 04-07-13, 04:44 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

This thread hurts my head...

You had me until you started talking about an upgrade fee and carrier subsidiary.


I'm paying about $165 a month for 2 smart phones and 1 basic phone - unlimited talk and text 1GB data with Verizon.

It seems extremely high.
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Old 04-07-13, 05:32 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Since I only have one phone line and I don't have an old grandfathered in plan, straight talk is the best way to go for me. If Google keeps pumping out top of the line phones for $300 off plan, I'm going to stay with straight talk + google.

Straight Talk ~$440 a year with the 6 month cards that pop up on amazon
Google phone off contract - $330 shipped after taxes

= $770 a year for 12 months of service and a new phone. I think my verizon bill before I switched was 500 minutes - $45 + unlimited texts - $20 + unlimited data - $30 + fees. Came out to about $105 a month. I really liked the service but $1260 a year is a bit much. I also like to upgrade phones once a year, so that's usually another $400-$600 plopped onto that over a two year period.

I have wifi at home and at work, so no issues with the gray area 2GB cap for me. The 6 month card locks you into a small contract and that's my only big problem with the whole thing. It's worth it to save $150 a year to me though.
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Old 04-07-13, 10:07 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

D.Pham00 - if I can't sign up for your same exact deal right now today for me as a new customer, then YOUR plan is irrelevant to the rest of the world.

For new people singing up today, pre-paid makes plenty of sense.

focusing on any individual item from a cell phone plan is pointless. You have to look at total cost of ownership. Anyone not looking at total cost of ownership is the cell phone companies best customer

If

total cost of ownership on plan 1 < total cost of ownership on plan 2

then take plan one, I don't care how the cell company makes the fine print work, I am taking the cheaper plan in terms of total cost of ownership.

Lucky for most cell phone companies, I am not the normal customer and your plan isn't sold anymore
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Old 04-07-13, 10:55 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Man, you keep factoring in unlimited data. Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited unthrottled data for new customers, but not AT&T and Verizon. AT&T doesn't offer unlimited anymore, and throttles LTE and 3G for customers grandfathered in, and IIRC Verizon is forcing people off unlimited plans if they want to use their subsidy. So really, that's not a fair calculation for most of the population. And please don't give me that crap about assuming someone else's service. Most people won't go to the trouble of doing that, and even if you want to, you have to be able to find someone giving their service up.

That being said, carrier subsidies are worth it if that carrier offers a discount for bringing your own phone to them. T-Mo does offer a discount if you bring your own phone, AFAIK Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon don't. However, with a GSM phone you bought yourself you can switch between GSM carriers just by swapping out a SIM card, which is a nice bit of freedom, especially if you travel.

For my part, I'm done dealing with contracts. Once T-Mo upgrades their network with the new spectrum they got from the fallout of the AT&T merger and brings out LTE in my area, I'm switching to them. Their $30 prepaid 100 minute, unlimited text, 5 GB data plan is the best deal on cell service in the United States.
The loophole for upgrades on unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE line(s) is to transfer the upgrade to a tiered data or dumb phone line. That way, you can use the upgrade, and not lose unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE. If you don't have any friends or relatives that are willing to give up an unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE account, then you can always purchase an account on eBay or whatever.

My Verizon Galaxy Note II is factory sim unlocked, even though it was bought subsidized, and can be used on GSM carriers, domestic or international. Note that AT&T and T-Mo phones are typically locked to the carrier for the duration of the contract. Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T do not offer a discount if you bring your own phone, however, at least for Verizon and Sprint, you can't bring a phone that isn't on their system onto their service anyway. Meaning if i had a Sprint phone and wanted to move it to Verizon, I can't, since it isn't in Verizon's database.

The T-Mo $30 plan is nice if it suits your needs, for pre-paid. Me, having exceeded 60gb before, a 5gb plan won't work.
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Old 04-07-13, 11:04 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by Mr. Music View Post
This thread hurts my head...

You had me until you started talking about an upgrade fee and carrier subsidiary.


I'm paying about $165 a month for 2 smart phones and 1 basic phone - unlimited talk and text 1GB data with Verizon.

It seems extremely high.
you are on a share everything plan, if i were on a share everything plan (40+40+30+50) = $160 (before taxes and fees and discounts)

if you were to get an unlimited data plan through assumption of liability, you would be paying 70+10+30+30 = $140 with two smartphones, one unlimited, one 2gb data, and one dumb phone. Note that the old family share plans have 700 minutes and no text, so that should also be a consideration, if you need it. There is a 550 minute plan which i am on which saves $10, but it is a loyalty plan, so you may or may not qualify for it.

Yes, you would have to pay around $250-300ish to get the unlimited plan, but you would save $20 per month, over a 2 year contract, savings would be $480, which would more than make up for the cost of buying an account.
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Old 04-07-13, 11:17 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

If my plan was irrelevant to the rest of the world, then people wouldn't be buying unlimited unthrottled 4GLTE accounts on ebay.

Prepaid does make sense for some people. My point being that you should remember that post paid gets carrier subsidies which should also be considered when comparing options. I don't focus only on an individual item from a cell phone plan, I look at the picture as a whole, and do consider the total cost of ownership. The point I was trying to make was that you should consider the cost of carrier subsidies, if you plan to get new phones, as that is a benefit of post paid. Comparing strictly the monthly cost without considering carrier subsidies is not taking into account the whole picture. Of course, it also depends on the device you want to get. If you want a Nexus phone, then carrier subsidies are less of a benefit.


Also, Verizon has the best total network coverage, and in case of emergency, my Verizon note 2 can roam on att, tmo, or sprint. An att phone most likely wouldn't be able to roam on Verizon , even in case of emergency. That to me is a big one as one big reason why I have cell phones is to be prepared emergencies. I personally don't just look at what is cheaper, but also what you are getting. Verizon is the cheapest for my uses, but even if it wasn't, I would still most likely use it for the reasons above

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
D.Pham00 - if I can't sign up for your same exact deal right now today for me as a new customer, then YOUR plan is irrelevant to the rest of the world.

For new people singing up today, pre-paid makes plenty of sense.

focusing on any individual item from a cell phone plan is pointless. You have to look at total cost of ownership. Anyone not looking at total cost of ownership is the cell phone companies best customer

If

total cost of ownership on plan 1 < total cost of ownership on plan 2

then take plan one, I don't care how the cell company makes the fine print work, I am taking the cheaper plan in terms of total cost of ownership.

Lucky for most cell phone companies, I am not the normal customer and your plan isn't sold anymore

Last edited by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB); 04-07-13 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:56 AM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

I can't figure out what the poll options mean? Is it dollars? Then, is it dollars/month, dollars/year, dollars over the life of the contract, or something else entirely?

My plan, here in Japan completely subsidizes the price of my iPhone. Actually, they charge me 2,140 yen/month for the iPhone 5, but then they turn around and give me a credit for 2,140 yen/month, which means I get the phone for free in 27 months.
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Old 04-08-13, 07:08 AM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Thread fail.
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Old 04-08-13, 08:53 AM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by D.Pham00 View Post
you are on a share everything plan, if i were on a share everything plan (40+40+30+50) = $160 (before taxes and fees and discounts)

if you were to get an unlimited data plan through assumption of liability, you would be paying 70+10+30+30 = $140 with two smartphones, one unlimited, one 2gb data, and one dumb phone. Note that the old family share plans have 700 minutes and no text, so that should also be a consideration, if you need it. There is a 550 minute plan which i am on which saves $10, but it is a loyalty plan, so you may or may not qualify for it.

Yes, you would have to pay around $250-300ish to get the unlimited plan, but you would save $20 per month, over a 2 year contract, savings would be $480, which would more than make up for the cost of buying an account.
Yeah, I was on a 700 minute plan and paid additional for texts, but I started using texts more and more, so it made sense to switch to the share everything to get unlimited text.

I use wi-fi as much as possible so I only went with the 1GB choice - I barely use the phone as a phone, so the minutes didn't mean much to me, but my wife does use it as a phone as well.
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Old 04-08-13, 09:54 AM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Dollars per month. I don't know how it is in Japan, but here, they also offer unsubsidized plans, where you can buy the phone outright or bring your own phone.


Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
I can't figure out what the poll options mean? Is it dollars? Then, is it dollars/month, dollars/year, dollars over the life of the contract, or something else entirely?

My plan, here in Japan completely subsidizes the price of my iPhone. Actually, they charge me 2,140 yen/month for the iPhone 5, but then they turn around and give me a credit for 2,140 yen/month, which means I get the phone for free in 27 months.
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Old 04-08-13, 10:20 AM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

I did it as: $300 off a phone divided by 2 year contract.
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Old 04-08-13, 12:06 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

I don't think there is one single answer that anyone can give, because it would depend on the amount that is subsidized for the phone you want at the time you upgrade.

For example (using current AT&T prices), if I were upgrading to a Nokia Lumia 920, the subsidy would be worth around $17. But upgrading to an iPhone 5 would make the value of the subsidy closer to $19.

That is the problem with the way subsidized contract pricing works. Some people end up getting a better deal than others, since we all end up paying the same contract price (assuming we get the same service plan on the same carrier) regardless of the phone we "buy".
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Old 04-08-13, 12:36 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

If cell phones weren't price gouged (There's no way adding 2G/3G/LTE Radios to a cellphone makes it cost $450 more than a Nexus 7) there would be no use for a subsidy.

So nothing, as I hate getting played by these companies
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Old 04-08-13, 02:14 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Buying accounts on ebay is not common consumer behavior. Playing games by switching data plans to dumb phones and back is not common consumer behavior. That is, quite frankly, too much work for 99% of the human population.

Also, when I would tether on Sprint 40 hours per week while at work, I never hit more than 15-20 GB max. I don't know what the hell you're doing to hit 60 GB, but you're the reason that companies throttle data usage.

Sometimes I think you're a shill for Verizon or something, because you're always telling people how much better Verizon is than all the alternatives.
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Old 04-08-13, 02:25 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

please rename
D.Pham00 ====> D.Pham4GLTE




D.Pham00

Please send me a link that I can pass on to my technology illiterate sister so she can get your phone and your data plan for exactly what you pay. I told her your pricing and she is interested.
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Old 04-08-13, 02:26 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

These companies throttle data and overcharge for services to keep those margins sky high. There is no other reason, it's all about easy profits with little capital expenditure in the network. The networks are not 'swamped' with data, that's all horseshit. They're robbing US consumers.
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Old 04-08-13, 02:38 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

please rename
Dr Mabuse ====> Capt Obvious
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Old 04-08-13, 03:00 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
These companies throttle data and overcharge for services to keep those margins sky high. There is no other reason, it's all about easy profits with little capital expenditure in the network. The networks are not 'swamped' with data, that's all horseshit. They're robbing US consumers.
Fair enough, but I still can't fathom what someone is using 60 GB in a month for. Unless you're running your entire home network off of your mobile connection, which is against the TOS, or you're running Netflix non-stop all month.
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Old 04-08-13, 03:04 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

at the name change.
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Old 04-08-13, 03:58 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

It was all on device usage. Two hours of video a day on amazon instant video hd would be over 60gb of data a month (1 hr is over a gig)

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Fair enough, but I still can't fathom what someone is using 60 GB in a month for. Unless you're running your entire home network off of your mobile connection, which is against the TOS, or you're running Netflix non-stop all month.
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Old 04-08-13, 04:00 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
at the name change.
i thought those days were over.
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Old 04-08-13, 04:54 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

X Thanks! You rock!

D.Pham said he was married, so I assume porn? You can easily hit 60GB of porn and without 4GLTE speeds, well, the motion might be as smooth making it a less enjoyable viewing experience.
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Old 04-08-13, 05:05 PM
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Re: Cell Phone Talk: How much is the carrier subsidy worth to you?

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) View Post
It was all on device usage. Two hours of video a day on amazon instant video hd would be over 60gb of data a month (1 hr is over a gig)
Well, that's fine for you as long as you can make that work, but it's not what everyone wants or needs, and not everyone wants to pay Verizon's prices or deal with their customer-unfriendly attitude.

For $30 per month I'll stick with the 5 GB and then go read a book instead of watching HD movies on my phone. I don't even watch movies on my iPad, which is much bigger than a phone, unless I'm on a plane, where I won't be able to stream anyway.
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