AT&T Next Plan vs. 2 YR. Contract vs. Buy Outright

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by peverson, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. peverson macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2015
    First, I apologize if I am in the wrong area, but I need some help making a decision quickly. We are AT&T customers with 5 iphones on one account. We have all previously been on the 2 year contract and upgrade at different times over the two year period (iphone 4s-6s). I recently visited the AT&T store and while I was there was told about the Next Plan. The salesperson assured me that we would save a lot by slowly switching to the Next Plan as we upgraded our phones--she said that we can switch right away to the shared data instead of what we have now ~1GB of data per person. The 5 of us typically use less than 5GB of data(use a lot of wifi) all together and very few minutes. We have been sharing 250 (?) minutes and unlimited texting--the lowest plan they have for minutes. We pay about $25-30 per phone for the data and then also pay for the additional lines ($10 each I think?). We keep the phones for 24 months before upgrading. Is it a good idea to switch? The salesperson also said they were probably phasing out the 2 year contract by the summer. I also have a tablet that I pay per month through Verizon that I could add to this plan if it saved me money. I just don't want to get locked into something that doesn't make sense. Thanks for any help you can offer! I have a feeling buying outright is always the best but can't really afford to pay out $650 at one time!
  2. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    So what is the total that the bill comes down to on a monthly basis right now (with about 5 GB of data)?
  3. lordofthereef, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015

    lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Holy wall of text.

    In all seriousness log online and calculate some things out. Consider the fact that you need to buy at keast 10gb per month to gain the cheapest access fee per phone (unless this has change but I don't think so). Also keep in mind they do one month rollover for data now.

    I have no idea what the sales person did in terms of looking at your current bill. In most cases you do indeed save money. Depending on when you signed some of those contracts you may be eligible for immediate upgrade in the next plan as well. Though that window is pretty darn close to being two years old now anyway.

    Some quick and dirty numbers:
    10gb is $100 (they offer 3gb or 6gb too, the latter being $70 but more per line access )
    $15 per line times 5 is $75 (or $25 per line on the lower data packages)
    Your bill would be $175 per month minus handset costs.
    Handsets are anywhere from ~$25-$45 per month per line depending on the model, length of time you want to go before you own the phone, etc.
    Consider that a bar iohone on contract costs you $200 up front when making your overall decision too!
  4. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    The easiest way to do this calculation is to add up the costs of the phones and the plans over 24 months and compare that way.
  5. ricktat macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2013
    First. Make sure you go to an ATT owned store. If it says Authorized Retailer next to the sign, keep looking. Next best bet is Best Buy..YMMV.

    As others have said compare the monthly payments and compare 2 years.
  6. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Minutes and data plans aside, there is essentially no difference in cost between AT&T Next and buying outright.

    For example, an iPhone 6 costs $649.99 outright. With AT&T Next 12, you make payments of $32.50 for 20 months instead. That adds up to $650.00 paid over time. There are other options with lower monthly payments over more months.

    As you can see, AT&T Next is essentially a 0% interest loan.

    For finance nerds: If you want to get fancy, and figure inflation and earning interest into the equation, you actually save a buck or five by going for the AT&T Next (0% loan) over paying outright if you take the same $650 and put it into a money market account or something and pay the monthly fee out of that.
  7. Chocolatemilty macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    OP, one more thing to note is the possibility of getting a refurbished iPhone through AT&T. My sister and I just upgraded using the NEXT plan and was able to step up to the 64GB in pristine condition for the 16GB price, whichever NEXT price you choose (we chose NEXT 24 for $21.25 a month).
  8. Breaking Good macrumors 6502a

    Sep 28, 2012
    AT&T now has a 7GB shared data plan for $75/mo with $15 per line UTnT access charge.

    My $0.02, it usually isn't worth leaving a contract plan provided the following are true:

    1) You are buying an iPhone instead of an Android phone
    2) Your current Voice/Text/Data allotments are serving you well

    They subsidy on an iPhone is $450 from the full retail price. On an Android device it is usually $350.
  9. aristobrat, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015

    aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Looking at the numbers below, if I didn't make any dumb math/logic mistakes, I wouldn't change your current plan if I were you -- it looks significantly cheaper than the new ones. It's pretty rare where AT&T's Mobile Share plans can beat the cost of some of their older Family Plans.

    Figuring out what you pay currently:
    So if you have 5 lines, and you're paying $25/month per line for data, $10/month for the "additional lines", and totally guessing that the base plan costs $30/month, ... that puts you at like $205/month <before taxes and stuff>.

    Your total two-year cost for your current plan:
    $4920 = $205/month <total bill>, x 24 months
    $0995 = $199 to upgrade iPhone, x 5 phones
    $0200 = $40 upgrade fee, x 5 phones
    $6115 total.
    $195/month, plus
    $199 out of pocket each time you upgrade a phone.

    Now, assuming you switch to the $70/month 6GB Mobile Share Plan, you'd have your choice of buying the phones outright, or using AT&T's Next plan (which is 0% interest to pay for them monthly):

    Your total two-year for Mobile Share + "Buy Outright":
    $1680 = $70/month Mobile Share Plan x 24 months
    $3000 = $25/month "devices access charge" x 5 phones x 24 months
    $3245 = $649 out of pocket to upgrade iPhone, x 5 phones
    $7925 total.
    $175/month, plus
    $649 out of pocket each time you upgrade a phone.

    Your total two-year cost for Mobile Share + Next 24 <which lets you upgrade every 2 years>:
    $1680 = $70/month Mobile Share Plan x 24 months
    $3000 = $25/month "device access charge" x 5 phones x 24 months
    $2552 = $21.67/month per phone x 5 phones x 24 months
    $7232 total.
    $303.35/month, plus
    you'd only pay sales tax each time you upgrade a phone.
  10. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Your math isn't right here. $195 x 24 = $4680
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Thanks. And the $195 should have been $205. :eek:
  12. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Just another data point. If you have an employee discount or FAN number, going to a shared plan is often beneficial. This is because on typical FAN accounts, the discount is only applied to the minutes on old plans. But the discount is applied to the data portion of a shared plan.

    Not sure if the op has a discount, but his info may help others out.
  13. Woochifer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    This all depends on how long you intend to keep your devices and how much flexibility you want to change carriers.

    I bought my phone outright when the 5s came out. At that time, I had no idea whether I would keep the phone for 1 year, 2 years, or extend it beyond that time. Also, the contract-free options from AT&T and Verizon were crap. I decided to go with the $30 prepaid T-Mobile with 5 GB of high-speed data. My cost of ownership over two years will come out to less than $1,500 (for the 32 GB 5s). And now that contract-free options from the other carriers have greatly improved, I still have the option of switching my plan at any time.

    If I had gone with a two-year contract from AT&T at the time I bought my phone, my cost of ownership would have been nearly $1,000 more for roughly the same amount of data. And I would still have another 6 months on the contract, and not have the option of switching to one of the newer contract-free plans.

    Because the plan rate does not decrease after the contract expires, you pretty much have to upgrade your phone at a two-year interval.

    At least with AT&T Next, the device cost and monthly service cost are separate. Once you pay off the device, you pay less every month. Since you already have several iPhones, you should take a look at the total cost for the shared data plans and compare them with the contract rates. The device cost will come up as you decide to upgrade, and AT&T Next works like an interest-free loan. If you plan to use the phones for more than two years, then going off-contract makes a lot more sense.
  14. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    There might be a difference when going with a data plan that will provide more of a discount on each line, making them $15/month each instead of $25/month. I haven't really done the math at the moment, but just wanted to bring it up since I didn't see something like that used as one of the comparison options.


    There's definitely that too.
  15. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    That's a good point.

    Going for the $100/month 10GB Mobile Share Plan would drop the device access fees from $25 per line down to $15 per line.

    Would save $20/month doing that. $480 over two years.
  16. Lefty21 macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2012
    Lexington, KY
    Not sure why the AT&T person didn't tell you this, but there is a limit of four devices that can be financed at a time on Next.

    So you'd either have to finance four phones and buy one outright, or kick someone off your plan, neither of which are probably ideal.

    It really depends on how much data you have; there's a cutoff point somewhere around 10 GB where above which it is better overall to have Next, but under which it is better to do a contract. Of course the best option is to buy the phones outright, but I know good and well that is not always possible.
  17. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    For some reason this doesn't come up for me :(

    Attached Files:

  18. mhunter6378 macrumors regular

    Feb 20, 2015
    The 7gb data plan was a limited time promotion, it ended March 5
  19. AFDoc, Mar 18, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015

    AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    I read it all but am going to give you my situation and you can compare....
    We have 4 on the 15gig shared family plan two we own, one on next one on subsidy. Our bill is $223.00/month. $62.45 of that is 25(added to the 15 I would pay bringing my share to $40) for my subsidized phone and 37.45 for my wife's next phone. IF you were to next 5 phones add around $200 give or take a month for the five. IF you're going to subsidize it's not worth switching to a family plan. IF you can do what we do and have 2 (maybe 3 in your case) on subsidy or next and the other 2 can upgrade next year. I always subsidized because before the family share plans the price was high anyway so may as well let them pay the subsidy. However when they didn't force every one to pay off other's subsidies through a high phone bill for all, it made sense for my family to switch.
  20. peverson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2015
    thank you!!

    After reading all of your comments, I decided to revert to the 2 year contract plan with individual data plans. Two of the phones will probably be replaced in the next 6 months. Although the Next plan would save me about $10 for now and we'd have more data, I would start to add $31 to the bill for each phone when the phones are upgraded in July and November. We keep our phones for 24 months, so i do not think it saved me money. I really appreciate your help with this!
  21. chestvrg macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2010
    I also plan to get the new iPhone 6S when it comes out (the upgrade to the 6), and plan to use next.
  22. MrMojo1 macrumors newbie


    Aug 25, 2010
    New England
    ATT's next plan is almost the same as buying the iPhone outright except that ATT gives you a small discount on the iPhone, at least for me when I got the 5S, ~$100 off. Unsure if that's the case now.

    The monthly fees are basically the same depending on what you choose!
    ATT's next plan does allow you to upgrade to the next phone with a price adjustment, obviously, not necessary the upgraded iPhone but an Android phone but.. the payment plan starts over again!

    The Main difference... buying the iPhone outright means you get an UNLOCKED iPhone!
    You then take the Unlocked iPhone to whatever cellular phone carrier you choose and whatever plan you choose.
    You'll have to pay full price for the newer version of a phone when it's released, though.
    But at least you have the freedom to choose your carrier and its plans.

    Lots of people still like having the 2 year plan even though they are locked into the contract and carrier because the carrier gives you a discount on the phone. You'll just have to deal with customer service and the plans/rates as usual.

    To each their own!
  23. pokerplayer73 macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2011
    Florida, USA
    Actually, I get discount on any component of the bill $30 or greater.
    $60 - Plan cost(850 minutes rollover) - discounted
    $10 - Additional Line - NOT discounted
    $30 - UDP1 - discounted
    $30 - UDP2 - discounted
    $5 - 200 Texts on 1 line - NOT discounted.
  24. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Sort of. BUT - you pay more per month for the service.

    We have 4 lines with 10+gb data, unlimited everything else. Monthly cost is $160. Add phone cost to that, unless you already own the phone and then you are done. Our 2 iphone 5 cost nothing. I4 - nothing. 5s and 6 on next plan.

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