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Question about smartphone contracts

Old 09-12-14, 03:24 PM
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Question about smartphone contracts

I have never had a smartphone before, but I am looking to get a tablet soon and so the "phablet" appeals to me.

Most contracts I see are for two years. What happens at the end of two years if you don't want to get a new phone? Do you have to keep paying the subsidy monthly rate, or do you get a cheaper rate? Would it be better to get a contract-free phone if I plan to use it more than two years? I'm not sure how much of the monthly rate is actually a subsidy.

I just don't get why people go crazy about upgrading their phones every year or two. Most people don't upgrade their computers that often, so upgrading phones that often seems silly. My laptop is over six years old, and it still runs fine.
Old 09-12-14, 03:35 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

You'll still pay the exact same monthly rate after 2 years unless you make an effort to negotiate with them for a better deal. Some folks are good at that, some aren't. It's really tough to say. I'm terrible at negotiating.

The reason people tend to upgrade every 2 years is because smartphone hardware and software are still improving at a pretty quick rate, and the older models are left in the dust. I'm not saying it's right, but it's been going for at least the last 7 years now. Once you've had a smartphone for 2 years, you start to see/feel how it ages, just like most PCs. If you're App-crazy, then you'll notice it even more.
Old 09-12-14, 03:55 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
Most contracts I see are for two years. What happens at the end of two years if you don't want to get a new phone? Do you have to keep paying the subsidy monthly rate, or do you get a cheaper rate? Would it be better to get a contract-free phone if I plan to use it more than two years? I'm not sure how much of the monthly rate is actually a subsidy.
Depends on the carrier and the type of contract you pick these days so really its up to you to look at each carrier's terms and pricing. In the simplest form, you pay $199 or whatever for a phone over a 2 year contract, and when that contract is up the phone is yours and you can do whatever you want at the same monthly rate. You could sign a new contract and get a new phone, keep your phone and stay off contract, sell your phone and move to another carrier, or even pay full price for an off contract phone to stay off contract.

These days it seems like carriers have other contracts that instead of $199 up front, there are options to pay a monthly fee over a certain amount of months with the option to upgrade your phone after a certain number of months in the middle of your contract if you want. In those types of contracts, your phone would be paid off after the specified number of months and that extra monthly cost would drop off since the phone is paid off.

These are just generalizations, there are a lot of options out there depending on the carrier.
Old 09-12-14, 04:10 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Which carrier are you looking to use? If it's Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T, they build the subsidy into the monthly payments, and if you choose not to upgrade your phone at the end of your contract, you will still pay the monthly subsidy. AT&T and Verizon will give you a slight discount if you use their Next/Edge payment plans, but the discount isn't near enough to offset the built-in subsidy. T-Mobile separates the price of the plan from the price of the phone. They only offer monthly payment options, and once you're done paying for the phone, you only have to pay the cost of the plan, which has no subsidy built in. Of course there are other factors, T-Mobile's coverage may not be good enough in your area to make them worth it.

If you don't want to upgrade your phone often, I recommend getting a traditional two-year contract. The monthly payment plans on AT&T and Verizon may look good, but you're essentially paying them twice for the same phone with a minor discount. T-Mobile actually charges you $10 a month for the option to trade in your phone early, but that makes sense because they're not building in the subsidy into your monthly plan.

As for why people upgrade their smartphones so often, well there are several reasons. First is that smartphones are a much younger market than laptops, so the gains in power, battery longevity, displays, etc. can increase greatly year upon year. And since smartphones are used so frequently throughout the day, these improvements can make a major difference. Another is built-in obsolescence. It's in the interest of the manufacturers and the carriers that phones don't last forever, because they want you locked in to their contracts and buying new merchandise. And finally, a lot of us are techies and love new gadgets, and getting new phones at subsidized prices is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new laptops.
Old 09-12-14, 04:30 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

How is a smartphone cheaper than a laptop? Even with the monthly subsidy, you are still paying $600 or more for a phone. Laptops can be bought cheaper than that. Not gaming laptops or any kind of heavy power usage of course, but still good laptops for less than $600.
Old 09-12-14, 04:35 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

So you're comparing top of the line smartphones to lower end laptops? That's not a fair comparison. And the fact is that unless you're on T-Mobile, you're always paying for a phone anyway, so there's no point in paying off your phone and keeping it for the long term. Best bet for your money is to finish the contract out and sell the phone immediately, because prices drop fast once newer phones come out. At this point you'll want a new phone through the carrier.
Old 09-13-14, 10:29 AM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
How is a smartphone cheaper than a laptop? Even with the monthly subsidy, you are still paying $600 or more for a phone.
There are cheaper smartphones out there. The Nexus 5 is $349 unsubsidized.
Prepaid cell services offer Android phones around $100. So there's definitely a range of smartphone prices, and associated features.

As Supermallet stated, if you go with a service that uses contracts, getting a subsidized phone makes sense, as is buying a new one every two years and selling/trading in the old one, unless you can get a discounted price and better deal going off-contract.
Old 09-13-14, 10:45 AM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Some other thoughts about laptops vs smartphones.

For one, PCs kinda hit their peak a few years ago in terms of what most people do with them vs their capabilities. So a 6 year old laptop is still able to function pretty well. With smartphones, their increased functionality has required them to rapidly increase processing speed, connectivity speed, RAM, storage, etc. An iPhone from 6 years ago isn't on the same page as the iPhone 6.

Also, laptops have a few components that can be independently upgraded to increase longevity. You can give it a new, bigger hdd or switch to an SSD, you can increase the RAM, and you may be able to swap out the wifi card or add on a USB LTE device. With a smartphone, you pretty much need to get a whole new phone if you want LTE or better Wifi, or need more RAM or more storage. Before now, people literally could not get an iPhone with 128GB of storage. At all. Anyone who wants that much storage on their iPhone will need to get a new one.

So the rapidly developing smartphone market makes getting a new smartphone every few years a better investment. Note that PCs and laptops also used to have shorter lifetimes as people upgraded, it's just part of the ecosystem of newer technology. But the fact that very little about a smartphone can be upgraded is also pushing the rapid cycle.
Old 09-13-14, 12:19 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

What is the resale value on old smartphones like? If people are upgrading them frequently, wouldn't that make the resale market pretty much null? Are there people that still want an iPhone 4 for example?

Another thing I am considering is if I do get a "phablet" I may just cancel my home internet connection. Is that feasible at all? Do other people do that? I don't stream movies or play video games, and I can't think of anything particularly data intensive I use the internet for. I really just browse a few web pages, email, and Facebook, and that's basically it. I think having both home internet and a smartphone data plan would be overkill for me, but I don't have any idea how much data my usage would actually consume.
Old 09-13-14, 02:32 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

I wouldn't cancel your home internet until you learn how much data you actually consume. Also realize that even carriers that offer unlimited data can throttle you when you go over an artificial cap (usually 5-7 GB but YMMV). And the ones who don't offer unlimited charge you for going over your data allotment.
Old 09-13-14, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Which carrier are you looking to use? If it's Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T, they build the subsidy into the monthly payments, and if you choose not to upgrade your phone at the end of your contract, you will still pay the monthly subsidy. AT&T and Verizon will give you a slight discount if you use their Next/Edge payment plans, but the discount isn't near enough to offset the built-in subsidy. T-Mobile separates the price of the plan from the price of the phone. They only offer monthly payment options, and once you're done paying for the phone, you only have to pay the cost of the plan, which has no subsidy built in. Of course there are other factors, T-Mobile's coverage may not be good enough in your area to make them worth it.

If you don't want to upgrade your phone often, I recommend getting a traditional two-year contract. The monthly payment plans on AT&T and Verizon may look good, but you're essentially paying them twice for the same phone with a minor discount. T-Mobile actually charges you $10 a month for the option to trade in your phone early, but that makes sense because they're not building in the subsidy into your monthly plan.

As for why people upgrade their smartphones so often, well there are several reasons. First is that smartphones are a much younger market than laptops, so the gains in power, battery longevity, displays, etc. can increase greatly year upon year. And since smartphones are used so frequently throughout the day, these improvements can make a major difference. Another is built-in obsolescence. It's in the interest of the manufacturers and the carriers that phones don't last forever, because they want you locked in to their contracts and buying new merchandise. And finally, a lot of us are techies and love new gadgets, and getting new phones at subsidized prices is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new laptops.
It depends on the plan, but for example on Verizon more everything plan(the current plan) , you can save up to $25 per line for each line on month to month (off contract). Per Verizon :

" existing customers who are on month-to-month contracts can move to a MORE Everything plan to experience savings immediately. Customers who choose plans with data allowances of 8 GB or below can add a smartphone for $30, a savings of $10, and customers who choose plans with data allowances of 10 GB and above can add a smartphone for $15, a savings of $25. "

Att does similar.
Old 09-13-14, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by taffer View Post
How is a smartphone cheaper than a laptop? Even with the monthly subsidy, you are still paying $600 or more for a phone. Laptops can be bought cheaper than that. Not gaming laptops or any kind of heavy power usage of course, but still good laptops for less than $600.
with a monthly subsidy, phones should be in the $100-300 range on contract typically. The most expensive that I know of is the 6+ 128gb,which is $500 on contract. And there are sales on contract, even near release. I bought the Verizon Note 3 on contract for $90 on release day, but that was extenuating circumstances. The Verizon s5,m8,g3 were $100 at release on contract.

Depends on what you are looking for though.
Old 09-13-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by taffer View Post
What is the resale value on old smartphones like? If people are upgrading them frequently, wouldn't that make the resale market pretty much null? Are there people that still want an iPhone 4 for example?

Another thing I am considering is if I do get a "phablet" I may just cancel my home internet connection. Is that feasible at all? Do other people do that? I don't stream movies or play video games, and I can't think of anything particularly data intensive I use the internet for. I really just browse a few web pages, email, and Facebook, and that's basically it. I think having both home internet and a smartphone data plan would be overkill for me, but I don't have any idea how much data my usage would actually consume.
Verizon and AT&T will give you $200 on trade in if you get the ip6(time limited offer) . That's probably more than what you would get selling it outright.

You might be ok canceling home Internet, but like Supermallet said, I would try it a month before cancelling.
Old 09-13-14, 06:30 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) View Post
It depends on the plan, but for example on Verizon more everything plan(the current plan) , you can save up to $25 per line for each line on month to month (off contract). Per Verizon :

" existing customers who are on month-to-month contracts can move to a MORE Everything plan to experience savings immediately. Customers who choose plans with data allowances of 8 GB or below can add a smartphone for $30, a savings of $10, and customers who choose plans with data allowances of 10 GB and above can add a smartphone for $15, a savings of $25. "

Att does similar.
I already addressed this. There's no way $10 offsets the subsidy cost of the phone. Look at how much you pay per month on the Edge/Next or T-Mobile plans. It's generally in the $25-$30 range. Yes, if you have 10GB or more of data, then that changes it to a $25 discount, but 10GB of data isn't cheap and is likely overkill for someone who just wants to do some Facebooking, web browsing, and email.
Old 09-14-14, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post

I already addressed this. There's no way $10 offsets the subsidy cost of the phone. Look at how much you pay per month on the Edge/Next or T-Mobile plans. It's generally in the $25-$30 range. Yes, if you have 10GB or more of data, then that changes it to a $25 discount, but 10GB of data isn't cheap and is likely overkill for someone who just wants to do some Facebooking, web browsing, and email.
10gb makes sense for families - 4 or more people, and where you get the $25 per line discount . For single line plan, Verizon offers 2gb with unlimited talk and text for $60. Looking for a $25-30 discount for no contract brings you to $30-35 a month. For reference, Tmobile's lowest postpaid starter plan is $40 and only includes 500mb (no data after that). So wanting Verizon to be $5-10 lower than T-Mobile and offering 3x the data is pretty unlikely. To me, the $10 edge discount is reasonable for the single line plan.

The Verizon single line plan with 2gb on contract is cheaper over 2 years than the tmobile starter 2gb plan. As you go longer, tmobile would become cheaper, so if you are planning to keep it for a long time past the 2 years then tmobile would be financially viable.

Aside from price, Verizon scored substantially better based on root metrics data than tmobile and Sprint in virtually every category. But obviously it would be important to make sure whatever carrier you choose gets good signal where need it.

With regards to edge /next, you aren't taking into account the subsidized price. Edge /next just splits the cost over 20 months but you are still paying full retail - in case of the base iPhone, $650. The standard contract price is $200. The difference being $450, or $18.75 divided over 24 months. And at least with Verizon, you are more likely to get discounts on the contract price, even at or near release.


http://www.rootmetrics.com/us/special-report-2014-1h-us

Last edited by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB); 09-14-14 at 12:39 AM.
Old 09-14-14, 12:59 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

I think we're talking about two different things. I'm not trying to push him onto T-Mobile or dissuade him from any other carrier. But he's new to smartphones and wanted to understand the value and financial aspect of signing contracts. For the most part, Edge/Next/Jump/whatever monthly payment plan Sprint has is not a great deal unless you want to upgrade every year. The OP made it sound like he wasn't particularly interested in upgrading every year, which is why I was breaking down how Edge and Next charge you twice for the same phone, even if you get a line discount. It doesn't sound like he's on a family plan, so 10GB is likely far too expensive and unnecessary.

The Verizon single line plan isn't a bad deal, but doesn't it restrict you to only 2 GB of data? That is, if you decide you want more data next month, you can't upgrade your plan unless you switch to a More Everything plan. Is that correct? I don't have Verizon so I don't know, but when I pull it up on the website that's the impression I get.

Ultimately the best carrier for each person is the result of a lot of different factors, including service coverage in the area, customer service, amount of data needed, availability of phones, etc. I pay less on T-Mobile for more data than I would on Verizon, but there's no doubt that T-Mobile has worse coverage overall (although in the areas I use most frequently it's not an issue). However, my bill is lower, I'm on a GSM network, T-Mobile offers lots of other added value perks, and I'm giving my money to a company that I feel is less scummy than Verizon in regards to corporate attitudes and behaviors. So for me, T-Mobile makes the most sense, but even then I realize that being on a smaller carrier does involve compromises. Verizon gives you the best coverage, but at just about the highest cost, so there are compromises there too.

Regardless of all of that, if someone is planning to only upgrade their phone every 3-4 years, a Next/Edge/Jump plan makes absolutely no sense. The question is, which carrier gives you the best value after the two years where you have to pay off your phone? That's what this thread is essentially about.
Old 09-14-14, 01:27 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Regardless of all of that, if someone is planning to only upgrade their phone every 3-4 years, a Next/Edge/Jump plan makes absolutely no sense. The question is, which carrier gives you the best value after the two years where you have to pay off your phone? That's what this thread is essentially about.
Exactly this.

Since I never have had a smartphone before, I don't know exactly how outdated it is going to be in two years, but I don't foresee myself upgrading that often. I'm not a technophile. I'm the complete opposite really. I tend to use my electronics for years and years. Heck, I just bought my first HDTV earlier this year. Before that I had a 24" Sony SDTV that I bought about 10 or 12 years ago.

And yeah, I definitely don't need a 10 GB family plan. It's just me, myself, and I.
Old 09-14-14, 03:00 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Resell values will vary. In general, Apple phones tend to hold their value better than Android phones. All phones will have a big depreciation after the first year when the next gen model comes out, and will decline from there. If you're interested in using your phone past two years, T-Mobile is your best choice. Since they separate the price of the plan from the price of the phone, once you pay off the phone you're not being charged for it again in the plan, which means you could use the phone until it flat out dies on you and not worry about resell value or getting the most for your money, because you got exactly what you paid for.

However, as has been stated, T-Mobile doesn't have great coverage in all areas, so you need to test it out. You should have a minimum of 14 days to do a return without incurring extra charges (ETF fees and so forth) on any carrier. Some states will give you longer, but expect 14 days to be the standard. Coverage maps are a handy reference, but don't tell the real story. It tells you what you should expect in a given area, but not what you'll actually get. So check the coverage maps for the carriers, see who has LTE in your area. Out of those, look at the various options they give you, decide who is the most attractive for your needs. Then sign up with them, and immediately go to the areas that you most frequently go to throughout your day/week/month. Check your service. Call some people to check voice quality. Use some apps, do some downloads (not huge ones because you'll burn through your allotment), put the phone through its paces. Be sure to check inside buildings as well as outside, because the different carriers have use different wavelengths of spectrum which affects how well their service comes in when you're in buildings.

If it works the way you want it, and you like the plan you have, stick with it. If it's not up to what you need, check out the other carriers. You may find that it's worth paying extra for Verizon because they give you more consistent service, or it may be worth sticking with T-Mobile but upping your data allotment, etc. Sprint will give you unlimited data at the cheapest price, but their service is notoriously bad, so be careful with them. AT&T isn't a much better deal than Verizon, IMO, and they can have some better LTE speeds and offer data+voice because they're GSM, but with VoLTE and xLTE upgrades, Verizon is going to be on par or better than AT&T soon enough.

Hope all that helps, good luck!
Old 09-14-14, 03:39 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
However, as has been stated, T-Mobile doesn't have great coverage in all areas, so you need to test it out. You should have a minimum of 14 days to do a return without incurring extra charges (ETF fees and so forth) on any carrier.
T-Mobile has an explicit test drive offer where they send you an iPhone 5s, you can test out the phone and their network for 7 days, and can return to phone to any of their official stores:
http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial
Old 09-15-14, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I think we're talking about two different things. I'm not trying to push him onto T-Mobile or dissuade him from any other carrier. But he's new to smartphones and wanted to understand the value and financial aspect of signing contracts. For the most part, Edge/Next/Jump/whatever monthly payment plan Sprint has is not a great deal unless you want to upgrade every year. The OP made it sound like he wasn't particularly interested in upgrading every year, which is why I was breaking down how Edge and Next charge you twice for the same phone, even if you get a line discount. It doesn't sound like he's on a family plan, so 10GB is likely far too expensive and unnecessary.

The Verizon single line plan isn't a bad deal, but doesn't it restrict you to only 2 GB of data? That is, if you decide you want more data next month, you can't upgrade your plan unless you switch to a More Everything plan. Is that correct? I don't have Verizon so I don't know, but when I pull it up on the website that's the impression I get.

Ultimately the best carrier for each person is the result of a lot of different factors, including service coverage in the area, customer service, amount of data needed, availability of phones, etc. I pay less on T-Mobile for more data than I would on Verizon, but there's no doubt that T-Mobile has worse coverage overall (although in the areas I use most frequently it's not an issue). However, my bill is lower, I'm on a GSM network, T-Mobile offers lots of other added value perks, and I'm giving my money to a company that I feel is less scummy than Verizon in regards to corporate attitudes and behaviors. So for me, T-Mobile makes the most sense, but even then I realize that being on a smaller carrier does involve compromises. Verizon gives you the best coverage, but at just about the highest cost, so there are compromises there too.

Regardless of all of that, if someone is planning to only upgrade their phone every 3-4 years, a Next/Edge/Jump plan makes absolutely no sense. The question is, which carrier gives you the best value after the two years where you have to pay off your phone? That's what this thread is essentially about.
You are limited to 2gb. You can use more but overage is $10 or $15 per gb. If you frequently use more than 2gb,then it probably wouldn't be worthwhile. But for someone with light usage, it could be worth it.

I do agree that tmobile is much more customer friendly. I don't particularly like Verizon's crappy policies but Verizon gets service where I need it. TMobile is not as good. Also Verizon has unlimited hotspot, granted on a legacy plan. If tmobile improves it's network and offers unlimited hotspot then I would switch in a heartbeat. But that is extremely unlikely. For the op, this doesn't really matter, so he can choose any carrier. Sprint can be cheap too, though their network is probably even worse than T-Mobile.
Old 09-15-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Resell values will vary. In general, Apple phones tend to hold their value better than Android phones. All phones will have a big depreciation after the first year when the next gen model comes out, and will decline from there. If you're interested in using your phone past two years, T-Mobile is your best choice. Since they separate the price of the plan from the price of the phone, once you pay off the phone you're not being charged for it again in the plan, which means you could use the phone until it flat out dies on you and not worry about resell value or getting the most for your money, because you got exactly what you paid for.

However, as has been stated, T-Mobile doesn't have great coverage in all areas, so you need to test it out. You should have a minimum of 14 days to do a return without incurring extra charges (ETF fees and so forth) on any carrier. Some states will give you longer, but expect 14 days to be the standard. Coverage maps are a handy reference, but don't tell the real story. It tells you what you should expect in a given area, but not what you'll actually get. So check the coverage maps for the carriers, see who has LTE in your area. Out of those, look at the various options they give you, decide who is the most attractive for your needs. Then sign up with them, and immediately go to the areas that you most frequently go to throughout your day/week/month. Check your service. Call some people to check voice quality. Use some apps, do some downloads (not huge ones because you'll burn through your allotment), put the phone through its paces. Be sure to check inside buildings as well as outside, because the different carriers have use different wavelengths of spectrum which affects how well their service comes in when you're in buildings.

If it works the way you want it, and you like the plan you have, stick with it. If it's not up to what you need, check out the other carriers. You may find that it's worth paying extra for Verizon because they give you more consistent service, or it may be worth sticking with T-Mobile but upping your data allotment, etc. Sprint will give you unlimited data at the cheapest price, but their service is notoriously bad, so be careful with them. AT&T isn't a much better deal than Verizon, IMO, and they can have some better LTE speeds and offer data+voice because they're GSM, but with VoLTE and xLTE upgrades, Verizon is going to be on par or better than AT&T soon enough.

Hope all that helps, good luck!
Att was fastest based on older data, but currently, Verizon has the highest speeds and data performance overall based on the root metrics link i posted above.

Another option would be something like cricket which is owned by att. They offer unlimited talk and text and 1gb for $35, 3gb for $45,with Auto pay. Also cricket includes taxes already, the Verizon and AT&T postpaid do not.
Old 09-15-14, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
T-Mobile has an explicit test drive offer where they send you an iPhone 5s, you can test out the phone and their network for 7 days, and can return to phone to any of their official stores:
http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial
This is an excellent program. I did it a while back and the return was painless. When returning, make sure to get a hard copy of the receipt.
Old 09-15-14, 10:09 AM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) View Post
This is an excellent program. I did it a while back and the return was painless. When returning, make sure to get a hard copy of the receipt.
Painless and free, even for the return (they give you a free UPS return label). I tried it because I was unsure about coverage in my area, and found out it was good, so I switched from Verizon (which sucks where I live).
Old 09-15-14, 10:57 AM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

This is based on my own homework with AT&T. I priced 2 iPhone 6 64GB. Basically, a 2 year contract, Next 12 or Next 18 end up costing the exact same amount in 2 years. With a Next 12 / 18, if you choose not to upgrade, you will start saving after month 24 because the phone is paid off. The monthly bill no longer have the 20/24 phone installments and your smartphone are discounted from the $40 per smartphone that the 2 year contract do not give. One way or not another, the carrier will get the $750 for the 64GB iPhone. So I am planning to get the AT&T Next 12 or 18 or Verizon's Edge deal, get a new phone every 1 or 1.5 years since my cost will be exactly same in 24 months.
Old 09-15-14, 12:02 PM
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Re: Question about smartphone contracts

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) View Post
I do agree that tmobile is much more customer friendly. I don't particularly like Verizon's crappy policies but Verizon gets service where I need it. TMobile is not as good. Also Verizon has unlimited hotspot, granted on a legacy plan. If tmobile improves it's network and offers unlimited hotspot then I would switch in a heartbeat. But that is extremely unlikely. For the op, this doesn't really matter, so he can choose any carrier. Sprint can be cheap too, though their network is probably even worse than T-Mobile.
There is no single perfect carrier, so no matter who you're with, you're going to make compromises. I heavily considered switching to Verizon with the new iPhone because of pure coverage and I think I'm in an area where xLTE is already up and running, but T-Mo covers me enough that I'm not worried about the few areas where they're not, and they offer so many extra perks that I can live with not having the absolute best coverage for my area.

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