AT&T plan question

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by tl01, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. tl01 macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    This might be slightly off topic... But I know everyone here is well versed in the various cell phone plan options. We have 5 phones with AT&T. Three lines have unlimited and two have their own data plans. My mom was trying to decrease the bill and so she called in and switched them to the unlimited talk and text with a mobile share plan for all. With 20gb of data we would save $130 a month. Nice savings right;)? Well... No one explained she shouldn't switch bc it affected the data. They never told her which data plan to choose. She called me and I told her I wasn't sure this was the best plan.

    Amazingly... Bc they went back and listened to the call... They reinstated the unlimited plans after an appeal process. The other info my mom wasn't told was the cost per line would increase by $25 for each line per month when we upgrade. Basically this will rid us of any savings. The benefits are tethering and no throttling... But the downside is no savings eventually.

    What would you do? Give up your unlimited? Under the new plan... There's plenty of leeway for going above 5gb. I'm probably the heaviest data user since my kids stream video from the phone sometimes.. The most I have ever used is 5 gb in a month. Tethering would be great bc I have 4gb on my Verizon iPad and often use it up before the month is over. I just have a mental issue with giving up the unlimited even though it isn't fully unlimited.
  2. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Personally, the new Mobile Share Value plans work for us (4 lines). On the old plans, I've always felt compelled to upgrade on schedule so I don't waste the subsidy. Now, I get to save if we keep our phones longer. If/when I upgrade I'll just buy the phone full price or go AT&T Next 12/18. Besides, I find unlimited data isn't all that useful when you get throttled. :rolleyes: We're just on the 10GB plan and it's nice being able to use 6-8GB since the rest of the family doesn't use a lot of data. :p

    If you're fine with a 2-year upgrade cycle and you ever decide to switch to the new plans, I suggest going for AT&T Next 18 instead. Monthly fee will be slightly higher compared to going on 2-year contract but at least you avoid the upfront cost and the $40 activation. As long as you keep your phones long enough to pay off the loan, Next should save you money in the long run.

    I've got to ask though, your cellphone bill is over $300 per month ($150 20GB + $15*5 + $130 savings)? How come it's so high?
  3. tl01 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    The bill is over $300 a month. The two lines that aren't unlimited have their own data plans and we have a lot of minutes and pay $30 a month total for unlimited texting... The first line I believe is $180 a month... Plus all the additional. This is with a good FAN discount. It all just adds up.

    So if you upgrade every 18-24 months... Then you keep the $15 line fee and don't have to pay $40 a month for the line? That would be fine with us I guess.
  4. mmomega, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

    mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I recently switched our 8 lines, 5 unlimited and 3 on regular data plans to a 30GB Mobile Shared and my phone bill should drop from $580/month to $330/month.

    Here is basically the research I did and it took quite a bit of snooping before I got all of the information laid out to make a decision.

    So here goes:

    30GB data plan = $225/month
    includes unlimited talk and text

    each 10 GB increment is + or - $75

    so a $40GB plan would cost $300
    a 50GB would be $375
    or a 20GB plan would be $150
    and on and so forth

    each phone line you want to add to that plan will cost you (here's where things were initially confusing)
    $40 per line IF you entered a 2 year contract after Feb of 2014.
    $15 per line IF you were in a 2 year contract before Feb 2014.
    IF you have an ATT Next plan, then you add yet another $25 or more /month cost on top of this plus you have to give ATT the phone back when you upgrade OR

    So, if you are on a mobile shared data plan and you upgrade to the iPhone 6, you will pay $40/month to use the mobile share plan.
    If you outright buy your iPhone 6 from Apple or ATT at full cost you will pay $15/month.

    Also after doing the math the pricing is cheaper for me to just outright buy new iPhones than to upgrade. Even on the older unlimited plan, you save more if buying the phone outright.

    I also get mobile hotspot on every phone for no extra cost and I can monitor data usage easier now.
    Having mobile hotspot capabilities on the phones let me cancel my ATT MiFi that was also costing $50+/month in a 2 year contract wether we used it or not. Actually I paid the early termination fee of $94, or I could have continued paying $50/month for another 9 months...No sir.
    So I went from 8 lines to 7 and lowered the bill by $250/month before fees and taxes of course.

    Another example :
    if you are on a mobile share plan currently and you just entered a contract
    you are paying $40/month so $25 more per month than if you own the phone.
    if you upgrade to the iPhone 6 16GB that's $200
    you will have to pay your Early Termination Fee which after a year is typically $200-$225
    you pay a $40 upgrade fee to upgrade
    you pay a $40 phone activation fee to activate your upgrade

    So to upgrade your phone every year through ATT you are looking at spending right at $800 to upgrade every year, which is more than the cost of a 32GB iPhone.

    4 of my lines upgrade every year and the other 3 get the previous model and then the 2 year old model gets sold along with a single 1 year old model.
    So this year 4 lines get an iPhone 6, 3 lines get an iPhone 5s that were currently have and I sell 1 - 5s and 3 - iPhone 5. Repeat and put the cash made against the phone bill.
  5. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    $180 for first line? Ouch. Must be a lot of minutes. On the 700 minute plan, 5 lines with family unlimited text and each line on unlimited data would have just been $280 per month before taxes and FAN.

    With Next, you get to keep the $15 per line fee regardless of when you upgrade. However, you do have to make loan repayments for the devices so for a top model iPhone 16GB, that's an additional $32.50 on Next 12 ($650/20) or $25 on Next 18 ($650/26) per device per month until the device is paid off (up to 20 months for Next 12, up to 26 months for Next 18). With 5 new top of the line iPhone 16GB, that's an additional $125 (Next 18) to $162.50 (Next 12) per month.

    Of course, if you get a less expensive device such as the 4s or 5c or perhaps one of the countless Android devices available, that means lower monthly loan repayments. :)
  6. tl01 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    If you finish out the next plan... Do you still give the phone back or can you sell the phone to pay for part of the new phone? This time... I will sell my iPhone 5 and perhaps just buy a new one outright... I don't know. This is all pretty maddening... Though I thank you helping make more sense of it!
  7. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    A few corrections:

    The cost per line is $15 per month for Next, not $40.

    You only have to return the phone if you want to upgrade via AT&T Next before you pay off the 20- or 26-month loan. Once you've paid off the loan, the device is yours to keep. There's no penalty for early loan repayment.

    The plans and phone will cost the same whether you're on Next or if you buy outright. The only difference is with Next, you just pay in installment and the other, you pay right away.

    That said, if you do buy outright, it might be a good idea to buy the Verizon version. With the 5c/5s, the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon versions were essentially the same except the Verizon version is activated for CDMA so you've got more carrier choice. There's a good chance the same will happen with the upcoming iPhones.
  8. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I'm on grandfathered unlimited as well. However, I think the mobile share plans are now a better deal for *families*.

    I'm on an individual line, and the mobile share is still more expensive in my case--even if you consider the grandfathered unlimited plans to really be 5GB plans.
  9. tl01 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    Last question I think!;). Okay... If I buy a new phone under next plan.... Then say I compete the next plan term and the phone is mine... And so I sell the old phone for $250... And I pay $250 toward the phone to make the payments less? I'm sure that isn't an option... But am just curious. Thanks again everyone! I think we just might let the unlimited go bc there are benefits to having the mobile share.
  10. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    You can check if that's an option at AT&T corporate stores. If not, you can always use the $250 to pay your monthly cellphone bill. :p
  11. jnappleseed macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    Athens, Georgia

    Actually no. Once you finish paying off the phone, when you wanted to upgrade again, you'd have to trade in your phone to att. You can't just sell it. Think of it as a lease. The phone isn't ever really yours. So the point of NEXT is to upgrade every year and only pay a portion of the full phone price. If you don't and you pay the phone off, you'd be giving att ~$700 (the full price of the phone, which you paid). I always tell customers, the NEXT plan is for people that want a new phone every year.
  12. rui no onna, Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

    rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    From AT&T website:

  13. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I'd get some paper, or a large white board, and do some long-term math. a 2 year pricing on all the plans.

    I did that and the 2-year contract pricing was around $100 more. The buy out-right and the NEXT were the same. the Pre-paid plans with phone bought out-right was cheaper BUT I have 2 lines and so the Mobile Share is cheaper.

    Also, and with your data, it won't be too much an issue, but at certain levels the price is cheaper or the same for the next tier up with how things become discounted once you move to certain tier levels.
  14. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    We just gave up our "unlimited" AT&T plans for a shared 10GB plan because it made a lot more sense for our family.

    For a bit less than we were paying we rolled our iPad (previously a separate $30/mo plan) into the pool for $10 and can also move my 13 year old from his $10/mo RAZR dumbphone to a $15/mo smartphone.

    For right now he'll get my old iPhone 4, but I might pick him up a Moto G which is a great deal for ~$200 flat.

    We also get the ability to tether in a pinch which we did not have with the iPad or iPhones before. Even at the same cost, the features we were locked out of with the grandfathered plan make it more worthwhile.

    It might not make quite as much financial sense without the $25/line/mo credit for bringing our own devices. We'll see when the new iPhones come out.

  15. jnappleseed macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2013
    Athens, Georgia
    "After 12 or 18 payments, you can trade it in and upgrade to a brand new smartphone – again with no down payment"
  16. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    I also gave up my unlimited data plan to move to the new share plans. It's only me, but I have two lines. My second line was strictly the lowest voice plan available as it's a test device. But with the new plans I found I could get rid of the plan my Nexus is on, add it to the family share, and pay the same amount I was paying before, plus I now have unlimited voice and text on both iPhone and Android - and I'll never use the 10GB between the two, even when I now occasionally use personal hotspot.
  17. rui no onna, Jul 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

    rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    It's actually better if you do it on a spreadsheet so it can auto-calculate if you switch scenarios. That's what I did to see if going with new plans makes sense for us. For us (4 lines), 10GB costs around the same as 2GB and it's actually cheaper than the 4-6GB. Even factoring our current upgrade habits (2 new phones every year), the Mobile Share+Next saves us $880 for two years. :)

    That's only if you want to do an early upgrade. Once you've paid off the loan (Next 12 - 20 pmts, Next 18 - 24 pmts), the phone is yours to keep.

  18. AustinIllini macrumors G3


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Honestly, if you're willing to pay off your phone and keep it, the AT&T family plan is the way to go. Until we upgrade, our plan is pretty cheap.
  19. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Stop spreading misinformation. NEXT isn't a lease, it's a 0% interest loan that you pay back over 20 or 24 months. If you choose to upgrade before that time is up, you have to play by AT&Ts rules and trade the phone in.

    When you fully pay off the phone it belongs to you. If you DON'T fully pay off the phone before you upgrade, it doesn't. Is that a surprise?
  20. rui no onna, Jul 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

    rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Mind, effective trade-in value via Next is pretty bad so you're likely better off just selling your phone. Next 12 seems comparable to offers on Gazelle, etc, though in case you don't want to deal with the hassles of selling.

    Next 12
    iPhone 5s 16GB $260
    iPhone 5s 32GB $300
    iPhone 5s 64GB $340

    Next 18
    iPhone 5s 16GB $162.50
    iPhone 5s 32GB $187.50
    iPhone 5s 64GB $212.50

    Sad thing is he works for Best Buy Mobile and misinformation like that will steer customers towards 2-year contracts. For individual users, sure the 2-year contracts are likely cheaper. Those getting the 10+ GB plans though are better off with Next.

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