AT&T 2 Year Contract or No?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by richard13, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    I've been with AT&T for a long time and in general I am happy with the service. I have a grandfathered plan which includes unlimited data for a single line/single phone.

    Anyway, I see that a lot of people are purchasing their iPhone 6, 6+ outright which sounds good because you have the freedom to do whatever you want including leaving your service provider without an ETF.

    However, this doesn't seem to make sense cost-wise. I can buy the phone for $850 outright or I can get it for $400 on a 2 year contract. I spoke with AT&T and they said my service rate will be the same either way. Even if I decide later on to walk from AT&T I can pay the ETF and it would still be cheaper than paying full price from the start.

    So it would seem the 2 year contract is the better way to go. Or am I missing something here?
  2. mainomega macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Do a 2 year contract if you are still on unlimited. The only reason not to if you were on a mobile data family share plan. You can always move to T-mobile for 2 months and have them pay the ETF if you need out.
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    That's the problem with the old plans. You either take the subsidy or you don't, but either way your bill is the same. It's why subsidizing was the smart move back then. (And still is, for you.) In your case it really IS a gift. Turning it down makes no sense.

    But the newer plans now mostly give you a credit on your bill for not having a subsidized phone. On the plan I'm on, for example, I save $25 per line for phones that don't have subsidized phones. That's $600 over 2 years. So for me subsidizing isn't as attractive. I went with NEXT financing, but buying the phone outright would also have worked.

    Until you upgrade to a plan like that, though, you're right; you should get subsidized phones.
  4. boomhower macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2011
    For you go with the contract. Most that are "buying" outright are using the Next option with the share plan. For instance my plan it cost around $12 more to buy the phone rather than be on contract. After a year I upgrade to the new model. Good deal in my book. You may be able to do a little better by buying at the start and reselling yourself but not having to mess around with selling it and worrying about the sale going south is worth a couple bucks to me in my time. Also no upfront cost either to help balance out the deal in the end.
  5. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Thanks guys for the responses. I have just under a month to decide and your input will help with my decision. :)
  6. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The only "negaitve" is you don't get an unlocked phone. For folks who travel, that can be a deal-breaker and make it more worth it to just buy the phone outright anyway.
  7. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    IT'S A LIE

    Right now you have two options.

    A. You can purchase your phone for full price and leave whenever you want.
    B. You can get a subsidy and pay the ETF [aka the rest of the money you owe on the phone] to leave.

    With the next plans you have 2 options as well.

    A. You can purchase your phone for full price and leave whenever you want.
    B. You can get financing and pay the remainder of the balance [aka the rest of the money you owe on the phone] to leave.

    They renamed the ETF and now everyone thinks that there is something different than before.

    As for cost. It costs AT&T too much money to subsidize phones so they are trying to get people to switch over to financing. People that switched over to the new share everything plans get an increase in monthly service if they buy the phone on contract so AT&T has made it that getting NEXT is cheap for them.

    Us people on the old plans can still take advantage of the cheaper pricing of two-year contracts tho.

    In short the new plans are great UNTIL you start upgrading. If you have multiple lines with upgrades then you'll find the cost to be equal or even greater than what you payed before on 2 years.
  8. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    If you do not plan in upgrading again or leaving ATT for the next two years, sign the 2 year contract with ATT.

  9. maflynn, Nov 7, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I went the contract/subsidy route. I don't see myself changing phones in a couple of years and for myself and my wife (2 phone plan) it was less expensive then going with the NEXT plan.
  10. baller1308 macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2009
    Yes that is correct. Once you reach 3 lines with mobile share is when you start saving money going with NEXT.
  11. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    as mentioned, if you have unlimited data, go on contract.

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