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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:17 PM   #26
tasset
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I don't consider anything with a $45/mo minimum, a real prepaid SIM option as it has a minimum monthly charge.
Like I said, "as much as can be expected." given we have two national incompatible GSM carriers. $45 per month is about as good as it gets here for the time being.
We're close to the grail though. LTE is fast enough to carry voice reliably. I am using a 1gb data only iPad plan for $20. Hoping to drop that sim in an LTE iPhone and use the 1gb for off-wifi voice/GoogleVoice/Skype.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:21 PM   #27
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MTA (another Alaska carrier) getting iPhone 4S too

A friend pointed out that another Alaska regional carrier, MTA, is getting the iPhone on 4/20 as well:

http://www.mtasolutions.com/iPhone4S.php
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:22 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by tasset View Post
Like I said, "as much as can be expected." given we have two national incompatible GSM carriers. $45 per month is about as good as it gets here for the time being.
We're close to the grail though. LTE is fast enough to carry voice reliably. I am using a 1gb data only iPad plan for $20. Hoping to drop that sim in an LTE iPhone and use the 1gb for off-wifi voice/GoogleVoice/Skype.
I wouldn't mind if they charged a minimum of $45 and let you use the credit until 0. I don't like the 30-day limit.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:31 PM   #29
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Maybe MetroPCS will get the next iPhone as well as the 16GB iPhone 4S.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:40 PM   #30
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That's interesting. I'm a Virgin Mobile subscriber and just yesterday I noticed that four of their smart phones are on sale. They almost always have one on sale and occasionally two, but four is very unusual. I just lost my LG Optimus and was debating which phone to get. I think I'm going to hold off until the 20th.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:42 PM   #31
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I think they might have some problems rolling it out on 4/20...
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 12:51 PM   #32
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Sweet, I don't think that releasing the iPhone in AK on 420 is a coincidence. Stoners are easily captivated by shiny objects
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:15 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post

Agreed. Hooray for free markets?
A government regulated industry is NOT a free market.

T-Mobile would be using a compatible frequency if it wasn't for the FCC. Don't believe the smoke the carriers put up - in it's current form, the FCC regulated industry reward those to buy and sit on frequency so others can't use it.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:17 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post
Only problem is the option is not widely exercised as the mouth breathers here prefer to have a subsidized device and pay double over the term in service costs.
Hey. Legitimate question. I WANT to understand and love prepaid. Everyone here that's NOT from the US pokes fun at us and our overpriced service plans and how we're all so short-sighted as to "fall for" the subsidized phone. But I must be dense... I don't see any other LOGICAL option.

Currently, I'm on at&t.
I get the "high-end" iPhone every two years. My subsidized price is $399. I pay $39.99 for my voice and text. Then slap on another $30 for iPhone Data Plan. In summary, that's a total of $400 + $70/month.
Grand total of $2,080 every two years.

It seems to me that, if I were to go with Straight Talk, I'd be looking at $1000 for a carrier-unlocked "high-end" iPhone + $45/month. That's a grand total of $2080 every two years.

(Wow... I didn't do the math until I typed it!!! That's kind of a funny coincidence.)

Beside the point that they are pretty much IDENTICAL in cost (although Finance people would say the at&t deal is "cheaper," given time-value-of-money arguments), there are other things that make me lean toward at&t, although some of these, admitedly, may be wrong/misguided:
* I get a discount for working at my company (not at&t, to be clear) that amounts to about $8/month
* I pre-order the phone and get it ON LAUNCH DAY; whereas I think that getting your hands on carrier-unlocked phones is more difficult???
* Even if I don't LIKE it, I at least UNDERSTAND at&t's data/throttling policy
* Is Straight Talk even offering 4G/LTE services? Or is their agreement with at&t always going to put them on a "second tier?"
So, why is it so DUMB-AMERICAN to fall for the subsidized phone? And please... this is a real question. This topic always comes up on MR. I've asked my palzzzzz to explain it. Nobody can. So now I'm "asking MR."

Thanks.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:18 PM   #35
macrumors12345
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And that leaves….

T-Mobile.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:19 PM   #36
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ACS and GCI running scared now with Verizon arriving in Alaska next year. More competition is better for everyone though (doesn't look like prices will be coming down any though :| )
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:20 PM   #37
jent
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This leaves me with a few questions.

Will any of these carriers have prepaid plans with data and the whole nine yards? AT&T will automatically tack on charges if they find out you're using a prepaid service on an iPhone. I forget what T-Mobile does but I'm pretty sure they go out of their way to help users set up their unlocked iPhones with the carrier… does that include prepaid?

Will these regional carriers also be selling the iPhone unlocked?

For the carriers who are selling the iPhone on-contract for $50 cheaper than Apple and the major carriers, if they are selling the iPhone unlocked, will it also be $50 cheaper than Apple's price point or on par with?

Will any of these regional carriers offer contracts less than two years?
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:21 PM   #38
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They should add support for MetroPCS
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:23 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylortm View Post
Hey. Legitimate question. I WANT to understand and love prepaid. Everyone here that's NOT from the US pokes fun at us and our overpriced service plans and how we're all so short-sighted as to "fall for" the subsidized phone. But I must be dense... I don't see any other LOGICAL option.

Currently, I'm on at&t.
I get the "high-end" iPhone every two years. My subsidized price is $399. I pay $39.99 for my voice and text. Then slap on another $30 for iPhone Data Plan. In summary, that's a total of $400 + $70/month.
Grand total of $2,080 every two years.

It seems to me that, if I were to go with Straight Talk, I'd be looking at $1000 for a carrier-unlocked "high-end" iPhone + $45/month. That's a grand total of $2080 every two years.

(Wow... I didn't do the math until I typed it!!! That's kind of a funny coincidence.)

Beside the point that they are pretty much IDENTICAL in cost (although Finance people would say the at&t deal is "cheaper," given time-value-of-money arguments), there are other things that make me lean toward at&t, although some of these, admitedly, may be wrong/misguided:
* I get a discount for working at my company (not at&t, to be clear) that amounts to about $8/month
* I pre-order the phone and get it ON LAUNCH DAY; whereas I think that getting your hands on carrier-unlocked phones is more difficult???
* Even if I don't LIKE it, I at least UNDERSTAND at&t's data/throttling policy
* Is Straight Talk even offering 4G/LTE services? Or is their agreement with at&t always going to put them on a "second tier?"
So, why is it so DUMB-AMERICAN to fall for the subsidized phone? And please... this is a real question. This topic always comes up on MR. I've asked my palzzzzz to explain it. Nobody can. So now I'm "asking MR."

Thanks.
Or you can keep your current device once your contract ends and pay half the service cost until you need a new phone

The way it is now, the service from ATT is the same, whether on a subsidised phone or not

Not everyone needs the latest iphone

I know when my contract is up in June, I will be taking my iphone 4 to straightalk and save 40+ bucks a month (480+ a year) and not be tied to a contract. As opposed to staying with ATT with my current iphone but paying 85-90 a month for more limited service once my contract is up.

Also, I know if I wanted too, I can pick up the 4s this summer for about 2-300 off CL and still be on this month to month, unlimited everything plan.

Also, even if you wanted the newest phone each year, you buy the unsubsidized one and you are free to upgrade when the new one comes out with no penalty as opposed to having to pay an etf to get out of a contract

Last edited by dukebound85; Apr 4, 2012 at 01:33 PM.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:28 PM   #40
striker33
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Well done.

Shame its 7 months into the lifecycle.

I honestly dont understand the US market. I'm surprised there has been no uproar about the forced subsidized Smartphone plans. Its disgusting.

Over in the UK I can pay for my iPhone up front, £500 for a 64GB model, and then choose a Sim-only carrier which has no, is on a month to month basis, starting at £10 (or $7) per month for 250 minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited date. And yes, it is truly unlimited data, and I can choose to have a recurring charge or to simply add another month when I need it, similar to an mmo subscription if you will. One month I used 40GB alone on Sky Go, watching sports while on lunch breaks at work etc. Yet these plans offer you 1GB as a basic.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:30 PM   #41
manu chao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched2aMac View Post
They turned down the chance at getting the iPhone at the launch this past October. I wish they wouldn't have passed since they are the best in my area. I went with Sprint and although they are really good I would have rather been with US Cellular.

I see KPOM beat me to it
Why can't you get an unsubsidised iPhone from Apple and walk into their store and ask them to activate it? Is the problem that they won't give you a discount on their plans when you forgo the handset subsidy? I know, with CDMA it is not as easy as popping in a new SIM but it can't be rocket science.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:44 PM   #42
dBeats
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeah View Post
Apple, Y U NO GIVE T-MOBILE IPHONE?

Attachment 334159
Something about google trying to buy it I assume. No iPhone for you ... 10 years!
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:46 PM   #43
Ping Guo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylortm View Post
Hey. Legitimate question. I WANT to understand and love prepaid. Everyone here that's NOT from the US pokes fun at us and our overpriced service plans and how we're all so short-sighted as to "fall for" the subsidized phone. But I must be dense... I don't see any other LOGICAL option.

Currently, I'm on at&t.
I get the "high-end" iPhone every two years. My subsidized price is $399. I pay $39.99 for my voice and text. Then slap on another $30 for iPhone Data Plan. In summary, that's a total of $400 + $70/month.
Grand total of $2,080 every two years.

It seems to me that, if I were to go with Straight Talk, I'd be looking at $1000 for a carrier-unlocked "high-end" iPhone + $45/month. That's a grand total of $2080 every two years.

(Wow... I didn't do the math until I typed it!!! That's kind of a funny coincidence.)

Beside the point that they are pretty much IDENTICAL in cost (although Finance people would say the at&t deal is "cheaper," given time-value-of-money arguments), there are other things that make me lean toward at&t, although some of these, admitedly, may be wrong/misguided:
* I get a discount for working at my company (not at&t, to be clear) that amounts to about $8/month
* I pre-order the phone and get it ON LAUNCH DAY; whereas I think that getting your hands on carrier-unlocked phones is more difficult???
* Even if I don't LIKE it, I at least UNDERSTAND at&t's data/throttling policy
* Is Straight Talk even offering 4G/LTE services? Or is their agreement with at&t always going to put them on a "second tier?"
So, why is it so DUMB-AMERICAN to fall for the subsidized phone? And please... this is a real question. This topic always comes up on MR. I've asked my palzzzzz to explain it. Nobody can. So now I'm "asking MR."

Thanks.
Because you're stuck in a contract. With an unlocked phone and prepaid, you're free to switch carriers whenever you want. Also for people who do international travel often, using a local prepaid SIM with your unlocked phone is far cheaper than roaming charges.

I've been using a factory-unlocked 3G I bought in Hong Kong since 2008. In three different countries, and I've never paid more than $30/month for voice and data, including the US.

Edit: Let's say you buy an unlocked, unsubsidised phone for $800, and pay $30/month for voice+data. That's $1,520 for 2 years, far less than your $2,080. Plus you can switch carriers whenever you feel like it. Subsidized phones are a scam. A lot of countries in Europe and Asia have laws regulating such schemes to protect consumers.

Last edited by Ping Guo; Apr 4, 2012 at 01:51 PM.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:48 PM   #44
tasset
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylortm View Post
Hey. Legitimate question. I WANT to understand and love prepaid. Everyone here that's NOT from the US pokes fun at us and our overpriced service plans and how we're all so short-sighted as to "fall for" the subsidized phone. But I must be dense... I don't see any other LOGICAL option.

Currently, I'm on at&t.
I get the "high-end" iPhone every two years. My subsidized price is $399. I pay $39.99 for my voice and text. Then slap on another $30 for iPhone Data Plan. In summary, that's a total of $400 + $70/month.
Grand total of $2,080 every two years.

It seems to me that, if I were to go with Straight Talk, I'd be looking at $1000 for a carrier-unlocked "high-end" iPhone + $45/month. That's a grand total of $2080 every two years.

(Wow... I didn't do the math until I typed it!!! That's kind of a funny coincidence.)

Beside the point that they are pretty much IDENTICAL in cost (although Finance people would say the at&t deal is "cheaper," given time-value-of-money arguments), there are other things that make me lean toward at&t, although some of these, admitedly, may be wrong/misguided:
* I get a discount for working at my company (not at&t, to be clear) that amounts to about $8/month
* I pre-order the phone and get it ON LAUNCH DAY; whereas I think that getting your hands on carrier-unlocked phones is more difficult???
* Even if I don't LIKE it, I at least UNDERSTAND at&t's data/throttling policy
* Is Straight Talk even offering 4G/LTE services? Or is their agreement with at&t always going to put them on a "second tier?"
So, why is it so DUMB-AMERICAN to fall for the subsidized phone? And please... this is a real question. This topic always comes up on MR. I've asked my palzzzzz to explain it. Nobody can. So now I'm "asking MR."

Thanks.
You have a few valid points, and a couple calculation errors.
First, your subsidized iPhone + service is not $2,080. The iPhone (64gb in your example) is $399 + $30 for tax (depending on your state) + $36 AT$T upgrade fee. So now you're at about $465. On your monthly service fees you omitted taxes and fees, which tends to be 15-20%, and text messaging plans usually another $20 per month. So your monthly service is $39.99 + $30 capped data + $20 text + tax = roughly $100 per month. Over the 2 year contract that = $2,900 total. For what it's worth you people on a single-line plan are subsidizing the costs of those on a shared plan.
For Straight Talk, or in theory any other prepaid service provider, you buy your phone outright. More expensive yes but has a higher resale value as it should be unlocked. Straight talk is $45 per month unlimited EVERYTHING and no taxes on top of that. 2 years service = $1,080. The iPhone (should you choose the most expensive version) will be $900 upfront. But there is nothing stopping you from getting a perfect condition used one for $200-$300, or even a brand new one like I've seen pop up a couple weeks ago online for $549 for the 16gb.

*edit* I see now your $39.99 service plan includes text messages. I am not aware of that plan, unless you are quoting your share of a family plan. Also not everyone gets company discounts.
You do have some good points though. The math starts working out in your favor if you don't need text messaging or on a family plan, where the voice/text plans are spread out between 4 or 5 lines. Of course you have to assume the larger chunk of cash upfront if you want the latest/greatest/shiniest. There should be more options for those people who don't want/need to be beholden to a monthly contract and allow for carriers to compete on quality of service only.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:54 PM   #45
taylortm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by striker33 View Post
I honestly dont understand the US market. I'm surprised there has been no uproar about the forced subsidized Smartphone plans. Its disgusting.

Over in the UK I can pay for my iPhone up front, £500 for a 64GB model, and then choose a Sim-only carrier which has no, is on a month to month basis, starting at £10 (or $7) per month for ...
First of all, I think you're doing your currency conversion backwards. According to the internets (duckduckgo.com, specifically),
L500 (sorry... dumb American keyboard) = over $800 right now.
£10 is not $7... but actually $16.
And, to be fair, I was lazy before and didn't look up current pricing on unsub'd phones. It's currently $850, straight from Apple.

Yes. I agree I'd much rather pay for only what I consume -- and gladly pay "extra" if I consume "extra." I think I (and many people I know) would likely save a few $$$ or £££ each month that way.

My only point is we're not really getting that "soaked" over here, the way it is. My monthly plan is about £43, to put it in your terms. My subsidy on the phone is about £285. So, how many pounds am I paying, per month, to consume about 2 GB of data, 200 minutes of talk, and 200 SMS? Is it less than £30? Because that's what it would take to break even.

I assume so. And I assume that's your point. But you're correct. Those kinds of plans don't (yet) exist here. But I also don't think the discrepancy is as big as some make it out to be. And, I assure you it's not big enough to motivate us Lazy Americans to revolt against at&t and Verizon.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:55 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by cragmr View Post
ACS and GCI running scared now with Verizon arriving in Alaska next year. More competition is better for everyone though (doesn't look like prices will be coming down any though :| )
ACS more so than GCI, GCI has invested heavily in rural Alaska and that is what keeps me coming back to them, most people I know use GCI just because of that.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 01:55 PM   #47
Zaren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugg View Post
That's interesting. I'm a Virgin Mobile subscriber and just yesterday I noticed that four of their smart phones are on sale. They almost always have one on sale and occasionally two, but four is very unusual. I just lost my LG Optimus and was debating which phone to get. I think I'm going to hold off until the 20th.
I've been a VM customer for years, and bought their Optimus smartphone last year (Android, meh). I keep asking them when they'll have the iPhone in the States, since they have it in Canada. They keep telling me "no news, but keep an eye out on our site"... they told me this today, in fact. Fingers crossed that they will finally tell me something different soon (since I'm still grandfathered in on their $25 plan...)
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 02:06 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by sportguy0913 View Post
Any word on Alltel?
Alltel was bought out by Verizon a couple years ago. So in essence Alltel already has it (I had Alltel back when it was Alltel and now have an iPhone).
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 02:08 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Ping Guo View Post
Because you're stuck in a contract. With an unlocked phone and prepaid, you're free to switch carriers whenever you want. Also for people who do international travel often, using a local prepaid SIM with your unlocked phone is far cheaper than roaming charges.

I've been using a factory-unlocked 3G I bought in Hong Kong since 2008. In three different countries, and I've never paid more than $30/month for voice and data, including the US.

Edit: Let's say you buy an unlocked, unsubsidised phone for $800, and pay $30/month for voice+data. That's $1,520 for 2 years, far less than your $2,080. Plus you can switch carriers whenever you feel like it. Subsidized phones are a scam. A lot of countries in Europe and Asia have laws regulating such schemes to protect consumers.
It's like beating a dead horse. Unless they'd experienced the ability to buy/sell unlocked/locked phones they'll never get it.

I do however, think dukebound85 (or whatever) has the most interesting comment with half-price contract ... that's something I've never heard of before.

And to be honets, it's quite nice.
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Old Apr 4, 2012, 02:18 PM   #50
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Interesting... Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping Guo View Post
I've been using a factory-unlocked 3G I bought in Hong Kong since 2008. In three different countries, and I've never paid more than $30/month for voice and data, including the US.
This is great news!!! Where can I get the $30/month for voice and data? My contract with at&t is up (no etf) next month. I want to switch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post
You have a few valid points, and a couple calculation errors.
The iPhone (64gb in your example) is $399 + $30 for tax (depending on your state) + $36 AT$T upgrade fee. So now you're at about $465. On your monthly service fees you omitted taxes and fees, which tends to be 15-20%.
I omitted taxes and fees on both (sub'd and unsub'd), assuming they "come out in the wash." Is Straight Talk tax/fee free? BTW, I have not paid an activation or upgrade fee since about 1998. If anybody still is (and they're sub'd/contracted) they need to stop doing that. at&t waives that, without blinking, every time I ask.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post
and text messaging plans usually another $20 per month. So your monthly service is $39.99 + $30 capped data + $20 text + tax = roughly $100 per month. Over the 2 year contract that = $2,900 total. For what it's worth you people on a single-line plan are subsidizing the costs of those on a shared plan.
Well, you're sharp. You know your plans. I was trying to keep it simple... not hide anything. I am on an OLD (39.99/mo) plan w/ 450 minutes of talk. I pay $10/mo for my wife to share that. On top of that, I pay $30 for data and $5 for 200 texts. I rarely have any "overages" and my monthly bill (after taxes and company discount) comes out to $78 and change each month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post
For Straight Talk, or in theory any other prepaid service provider, you buy your phone outright. More expensive yes but has a higher resale value as it should be unlocked.
Great point! Hadn't considered that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tasset View Post
Straight talk is $45 per month unlimited EVERYTHING and no taxes on top of that. 2 years service = $1,080. The iPhone (should you choose the most expensive version) will be $900 upfront.
So there are REALLY no taxes??? Like I see a charge for $45.00000000 each month? And you're telling me I get the EXACT SAME service as at&t? 4G LTE? Is the data capped like at&t? Or did they negotiate uncapped?

This is sounding better and better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukebound85 View Post
I know when my contract is up in June, I will be taking my iphone 4 to straightalk and save 40+ bucks a month (480+ a year) and not be tied to a contract. As opposed to staying with ATT with my current iphone but paying 85-90 a month for more limited service once my contract is up.
I agree. Once off contract, it appears clearly foolish to keep paying at&t $80+ per month. However, I have not been off contract for longer than a month in over 8 years. I sort of assumed we're talking about the trade-off between subsidized pricing and "obligations" related thereto... not really talking about "after the fact."


Well... thanks everybody for your input. It makes me re-think this thing.

But it still leaves a couple big-ish questions:
* What if Straight Talk "goes away?" As in, files for bankruptcy.
* What if you need "support" from ST? Is that any good?
* Are there any sites/reviews that support that it's "all good" over in ST land?
* Are there other pre-paid services like ST?
Thanks again. MR forum readers rock!
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