Can someone please explain the benefits of buying a phone at full retail

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by sulpfiction, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. sulpfiction macrumors 68030

    sulpfiction

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia Area
    #1
    I see a lot of discussions about this but I don't really understand it. Most likely because I've never bought an un-subsidized phone before.

    What are the benefits of buying a phone at full retail with no contract? I understand ur not locked into a 2 year commitment but if I'm staying with the same carrier I'm still going to have to pay for service...right?

    So I walk into AT&T and pay $600 for iPhone with no contract. What do I do next? Do i pay the same monthly fee that I would with a contract? Same data rates? Texting plan, etc?

    Other then not be locked into AT&T for 2 years, what difference does it make. I know a lot of people do it, so I'm sure there's a good reason, but I just don't understand. The way I figure it, it would wind up costing more money doing it that way.

    I equally don't understand how I sold my 16month iPhone 4 in decent condition (but not perfect) to someone for $400. I know some do it so they can unlock and use on other carriers but even that seems not very beneficial.

    Can someone spell this out for me. Thanks!
     
  2. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    #2
    Without buying an unlocked phone, the only advantage is you can sell it and change to another phone before your two year contact would have expired.
     
  3. sulpfiction thread starter macrumors 68030

    sulpfiction

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia Area
    #3
    So that makes no sense still..I just signed a new contract for the 4S. But I could go out and buy any other phone I want, whenever I wang if I'm paying full retail.

    Thanks for ur response but now I'm even more baffled.
     
  4. Peteman100 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #4
    Some people would rather not have a contract. If you mean that is doesn't make financial sense, then you are correct.
     
  5. Givmeabrek macrumors 68030

    Givmeabrek

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    It makes no sense in the US because you are paying the same monthly bill. You can leave your carrier without paying the ETF but so what? You paid so much for the phone that you lose anyway.
     
  6. mirage5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    #6
    I can tell you one big feature. If you travel overseas with a "locked" iPhone, then you won't be able to just plug other carriers sim cards (unless you jailbreak your iPhone). You will need to use AT&T's international roaming service which is way more expensive than using a local carrier service.
     
  7. jlmitnick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    #7
    Yeah, the thing is you can buy it subsidized and then just cancel and pay your ETF and it's actually cheaper. $200 for the phone, and ATT ETF is $325, so $525, which is cheaper than the no contract price. I really don't get it.

    Now, if it were factory unlocked, that would be different. Since the "unlock" adds a ton of value since it allows someone to pop a SIM in from any carrier.
     
  8. chicagofan00 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    #8
    There is no real benefit to it. It's just a necessary evil for when you are still under contract and can't do an early upgrade but still want the latest and greatest.

    I've got the iPhone 4 right now VZW but am not eligible for an upgrade just yet and don't have any other lines on my family plan that are upgrade eligible either. Being the tech geek that I am and always wanting to have the newest version of iPhone I'm stuck with paying full retail this time around. :(

    At least I'll be able to get an iPhone 5 at a discount as I'll have a line that's upgrade eligible by then....
     
  9. serega macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    You can be on prepaid plan when you pay full price for your phone, which seems to me a little cheaper and will save you money in the long run.
     
  10. Harvey Specter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #10
    Well you could buy it at full retail, and sell it for $50-100 more on craigslist for the impatient people who will have to wait a month for there to be more in stock.

    That or you could put a sim card in from another carrier that uses either CDMA or GSM that has a better plan for you, which could end up saving youclots of money in the long run.
     
  11. serega macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #11
    GSM yes, but there is no Sim cards in CDMA
     
  12. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #12
    AS already mentioned, it only make sense out of the US, or if you get a unlocked one.
    If it is unlocked, I believe that:
    1- you can use a pay as you go AT&T SIM and you could manage your phone cost as you want.
    2- If it is not unlocked AT&T will add the data plan as soon as they identify the iPhone when it connects to the network.
    Not 100% sure about these 2 points, but it has been my understanding.
    Can someone, who actually knows ow this works with factory unlock iPhones used in the AT&T network, provide confirmation or the correct infomration?
     
  13. Kinobi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #13
    SO let's say a full retail is $700 and I can get for my existing iphone $350 on Craigs list.. I am actually paying $350 for the new iphone..and I can care less about my existing contract..
     
  14. lakaiordie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #14
    not with the 4s. since its meant to be a world phone its only gsm. unless unlockers find a way around it.
     
  15. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #15
    Actually you need to also unlocked it.
     
  16. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    #16
    you are wrong! It used to be cheaper than buying full price. However, don't forget you have to pay for your first month even if you don't use it. phone 200 ETF fee 325 + first month of use + 10 bucks for each months or something like that!
     
  17. DarkFlame macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    #17
    Even with the cheapest plan that is still 45 dollars less than full retail.
     
  18. TheComposer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    #18
    I asked something similar the other day, what if i buy a contract phone, lets say with At & T and bring it back to Mexico (I live there), but just use the phone as an Ipod until JB and unlocking is possible? Should I pay some kind of contract? Will they track me down? it's a serious question!!, I'd like to know if this is possible, i always can buy a cheaper cellphone + the 4s as a music device or something, please PM me!!:confused:
     
  19. Scartissue macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    #19
    If there's no reason you shouldn't sign up to a 2 year contract, then you should do that.

    Reasons that this might not be what you want to do include;
    -plans to move country within say, a year
    -cases where a carrier isn't allowing you to keep your existing plan and have a subsidised phone as well

    Unlocked phones are, I think, for people who want a new phone but can't / don't want to commit to a contract. It probably would feel nice to be able to walk away from a bill if you choose to.
     
  20. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    #20
    So you are asking us to advise you on how to steal an AT&T phone? Buy a subsidized phone and walk away from your contract?
     
  21. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #21
    It makes sense here, by buying at full retail and using a cheaper, more suitable plan, many people save quite a bit of money over even the lower 12 month contract prices. Carriers will just sell you a SIM (often $2 or so) and then you can choose pre-pay or contract - there are no special rules just because you have an iPhone.

    Also, it makes it very easy to switch carriers (5 carriers here with the iPhone and it's free to bring your number across) which makes it easy to follow the best value and network technology.

    As regular international travellers we can also plug a local SIM card in and pay local rates rather than roaming.

    I can see why it wouldn't make a great deal of sense in the US where the competition and pricing is sub-optimal but elsewhere there are great reasons.
     
  22. miggitymac macrumors 6502a

    miggitymac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    #22
    The advantage for me:

    I have a $25 (after tax) per month plan, which includes data.

    If I get a subsidized phone, they'll make me sign a new contract at at least $50 per month over 2/3 years.

    One time payment of $650 for phone = $650 (in Canada) + 2 years at $25/month tax
    Subsidized phone at $199 + 2 years x $50/month = $1399 + tax

    That's a savings of over $150.
     
  23. benjamin9876 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    #23
    let me tell u OP, if u not travel outside of US a lot., buy with contract.
    period.
     
  24. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    #24
    If you want to upgrade your phone in a year rather than at the end of a two year contract, buy a full price phone with no contract.
     
  25. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    #25
    Are you talking about the factory unlocked iPhone at $650 or AT&T $600? It used to be cheaper before cuz I done it once on a 3G got it total for around $500.
     

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