Advice on best family data plan?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by dndandrea, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. dndandrea macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    We currently pay AT&T ~$140 for 2 phones with 2GB of data each and unlimited talk/text. We're thinking about changing our plan, or grouping with my brother and his wife to make a family plan of 4.

    Every company is doing the $25/month per phone now. Is there anyone doing it the old fashion way where you pay $199/$299/$399 and OWN your phone with a 2-year commitment? $25/month for 12-24 months is $300/$600 for phone plus the $99/$199 upfront if you get 32gb/64gb.

    Does any one have any advice on family plans? It's difficult to research as most of the sites hide the nitty and gritty fees/details. 2GB is plenty for each person. I like the old 2-year commitment plans, unless there's something better out there.
  2. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    It all comes down to coverage in your area. For most ATT & VZW is most reliable, but costs a bit more. Sprint & T-Mobile are offering great switch incentives & are cheaper monthly even with more data, but many complain of spotty service and slow data speeds.
  3. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    USDataPlans does let you compare AT&T and Verizon's pricing.

    Me personally? I took T-Mobile's 7-day free Test Drive program. While indoor coverage was not as good as AT&T that I was on, it was good enough and significantly cheaper with many perks (e.g., free "slow speed" global data and messaging roaming, unlimited audio streaming from popular music services).
  4. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010

    You need to price each one out, over 24 months.

    We are currently at $160 for 4 phones, 10gb shared and tethering. If we want a new phone, we pay via NEXT or outright purchase.

    Go online to YOUR carrier any price out upgrade vs other plans.
  5. dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    I tried talking to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. All 4 customer service reps sounded like they were using deceptive techniques. One minute the price was this, then it became this after yadda yadda. I don't like the idea of paying monthly to lease a phone. I prefer to pay $200 for a iPhone. Then in 2 years i'll sell it for $400, and get the next for free + $200 in my pocket.


    Do you pay $160 or do you pay $160 + $25/mo per line to lease a phone? Can I do $160 for that and then buy the phones for $199?
  6. Woochifer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    That kind of confusion and bait-and-switch moving target pricing is the exact reason why I hate contracts and subsidized plans. I prefer to keep the device and service plan costs completely separated, so I can keep my options always open when better service plans come out. Considering how much the landscape has changed with the introduction of new contract-free, BYOD, and prepaid plans over the last year, I would not have wanted to get locked into a two-year contract and excluded from these cheaper and more flexible plan options.
  7. inthecup macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010

    I pay $140 for 2 phones & 10GB of data .... have a 2 year contract but with the cost of $15 per phone ... problem is the new 2 year contracts it's now $40 a phone ... Yup !!!! I think buying outright keeping the 10GB saves me $50 a month ... $1200 in a 2 year period. Hope this was helpful.
  8. mnsportsgeek macrumors 65816

    Feb 24, 2009

    It doesn't save you anything over a two year period. You're just paying a greater amount up front.
  9. inthecup macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    $800 est cost of phone ... Subsidized phone still cost $200. Saving of $50 a month for 24 months because present 2 year contracts NOW cost you $15 per phone where as the NEW 2 year contracts will be costing you $40 a month per phone. I have 2 phones. Im only purchasing 1 new phone .. wife phone is out of contract already. I save $600 over the 2 year period ... if I'm wrong please let me know ... they sure do make it complicated. I want no part of Sprint Tmobile or ATT Next. If i was buying 2 phones I would have no savings .... buying one gives me a savings of $600/:eek:
  10. mnsportsgeek macrumors 65816

    Feb 24, 2009

    I'm not really following your math, but I can tell you that buying outright and AT&T Next are the exact same cost. And on the 10 GB plans and higher, AT&T Next is cheaper than a contract.
  11. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000


    Aug 20, 2014
    NY, USA
    HAH. 10GB AND tethering for 4 phones at $160 a month? It would cost us $260 a month or something for 8GB of data shared I think. We currently pay $240 a month. 2GB data each. No tethering. Insane.
  12. juanrp macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2014
    I'm on the family plan that costs $160 for 10GBs of shared data, unlimited talk/text.

    The only downside is we have to go through NEXT or full retail in order to get new phones. (Only reason I'm the only one upgrading this year from my 4)

    It's better than the $300 bills when we were on contract.
  13. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    #13 why not change it? You aren't locked into your plan are you? Most providers let customers change their plans as they please. Providers don't care so long as you stay with them through the length of your contract.
  14. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    So,why are you still on that plan?

    The worse part of the 2gb each is that the .0001gb the person uses still costs the same as 2gb. Sharing is great.
  15. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Both Verizon and AT&T are advertising the $160 a month if you finance the phones with Edge or Next. I'm pretty sure with Verizon Edge you can still keep the phone after it's paid for. You just have to add the $32.49 per phone per month for 20 months. You don't pay the $199 up front. You could stick with a contract, but it's $260 a month for 10gb. My family pays about $250 for 6gb.

    If T-Mobile service is good in your area, they're offering $100 per month for four lines with 2.5gb each plus the monthly cost of the phone which is about $25 each, so you're looking at about $200 a month. They will definitely let you keep the phones after two years. And your monthly bill will go down to the $100 cost :).

    Sprint also offers a $100 a month plan with 20gb to share, but the phones you get will ONLY work on Sprint, and their service is notoriously bad. T-Mobile phones can be unlocked to work on AT&T and vice versa, and the Verizon iPhone can be used on any carrier except Sprint.
  16. dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    That's what I thought at first, but NOPE. It's $100/mo for unlimited text/talk, $25/mo per phone, and $10/mo for data. I just added everything to my cart and it comes out to $280/mo. How do these companies get away with advertising their plans so deceptively?

    Not only that, but it's 2.5GB for the first year, then it converts to 1GB. Then they will force you to pay some ridiculous amount to convert it back to 2.5gb... WTF!
  17. rockitdog macrumors 68020

    Mar 25, 2013
    My advice: Keep your family away from Sprint!
  18. dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    This just doesn't make sense. They advertise $100 for 10GB of data, unlimited talk, and unlimited text. However, after you select your phone they charge another $30 per month for data???? (that's not including the $25/mo per phone charge)

    What? How? Why? I don't understand.

    edit: I see. The 2.5GB they're advertising is how much LTE you get, then it slows down after you use 2.5gb. So basically it's $100/mo for talk/text. Then you pay $10/mo x4 for 3GB of data. Then you pay $25/mo x4 for devices. I wonder how much people have been screwed by this type of deal.
  19. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    It's not leasing. It's 0% interest financing, where you can take up to either 18 or 24 months to pay it off. Or pay it off sooner, ... your call.

    It's always "your phone". Unlike with leasing, you never have to turn it in. You have the option to turn it in for a new phone once you've paid half of it's value, but that's entirely optional.

    At the end of you two years, you can turn around and sell it for $400, and then get your next phone without having to drop $199/$299/$399, and put the $400 in your pocket. Or apply it towards the balance of your new phone, whatever suits you better.

    I have the 10GB data plan on my family plan, which drops the monthly charge from $25/line down to $15/line... adds up. Works for me because there are 4 lines on the plan. The extra $10/line savings that comes with the 10GB doesn't make sense for most folks with only 2 lines on their plan though.
  20. dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    But you're paying $600+ for the phone that I pay $199 for. It doesn't add up in the long run. How much do you pay per month for all 4 lines? Maybe it's cheaper than what i've been finding.
  21. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    That's pretty much what I did. I added my brother, my roommate, and his mom to make a family plan of 4. Saves everyone about $20/month, and the pooled data works out better for the 1 person who used to occasionally run over the 2GB limit of his individual plan.

    Be cool if AT&T did the individual billing like Sprint does, but everyone's been able to go online into the account and pay their share every month without any problems.
  22. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    You paid $199 plus a higher monthly charge than you need to. You did NOT get a phone for $199,though it seems like it.

    4 lines, 10 gb, tethering is $160 a month. Total. Done.

    If you have any phones on contract or next, you do add that cost in.

    (I have the same plan, saved me $1000-$1,500 a year)
  23. aristobrat, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014

    aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    For the numbers I've run, at the end of the two years, there's not a significant savings one way or the other. The family plan is more convenient for my friends and me because it doesn't require anyone to shell out $199+ to upgrade, or pay some stupid carrier-imposed upgrade fee when we do.

    At the end of two years:

    $199 - cost of phone (paid up-front)
    $040 - upgrade fee
    $960 - $40/month service charge, x 24 months

    $649 - cost of phone (spread over 18 or 24 months)
    $360 - $15/month service charge, x 24 months

    Not a huge difference between the two, but at the end of two years, your $199 iPhone definitely seems to have cost you more than just $199.
  24. keitarou macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2012
    There is no old fashion way. You are on the old family plan where you don't have shared data. If you want that $25 per month per line, then you need to be on Next, EDGE or whatever the companies have. If you want the $199 price, stick to your current family plan. It's cheaper then paying $130 and paying $600 for the phones.
  25. dndandrea, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014

    dndandrea thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    I'm assuming you're talking about AT&T? I'm trying to run the numbers and I think I get something close to yours

    $100 for 10GB minus $25 (employee discount) = $75/mo
    iPhone 1 (eligible for upgrade in 18 months): $27.09/mo
    iPhone 2 (eligible for upgrade in 18 months): $27.09/mo
    iPhone 3 (eligible for upgrade in 12 months): $32.50/mo
    iPhone 4 (eligible for upgrade in 12 months): $32.50/mo
    Data plan for all four iPhones ($40-25)x4: $60/mo
    Final price:.........................................: $254.18/mo

    Are there any hidden fees or taxes i'm missing? I'm assuming I will also have to add on $99 upfront for the 32gb.

    We currently pay $132/mo after all fees/taxes and paying $199x2 for iPhone. Is this plan better/cheaper if I go 2 ways?

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