Going from prepaid to contract for the iPhone (5s), what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MusicEnthusiast, May 19, 2013.

  1. MusicEnthusiast macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Hi all!

    I have been off contract for almost 3 years with two different Android phones, both bought from Craigslist. The most I've spent on one was $150 and my monthly bill is $40 for unlimited talk/text and 100 mb of 4G data (it is LTE, but my phone only supports HSPA+). Anyways, I am looking to move to an iOS environment after using my iPad 4 for quite some time now.

    I'm used to cheaper monthly plans, hence I'm a little hesitant on going with a contact. However, it's also a bit annoying when my upgrade capabilities are limited to Craigslist. It's just too expensive to buy one new off-contact.

    Is it worth getting a plan as an individual, or rather with someone else? I'm fine with my Android phone for a few more months, but I'll be graduating from college next month and looking to make a fresh start! Thanks for any help out there guys.
  2. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Go on your own. Family plans are cheaper, but only if there are a few people on the plan. I'm paying the same amount on my own, just like I was on my mom's plan.

    Plus, you don't want to have to rely on other people. My parents are always at least three months behind on payments, not just on the phone bill, but everything in general :rolleyes:. It's one of the main reasons I moved to my own account.

    AT&T's lowest plan is 450 minutes and 500MB data. $60. You might think that's too much for so little, but think beyond the limits. They let you be late for like two weeks with no fees, you can contact customer support at 3AM or anytime during the day, and the minutes rollover anyway.
  3. Caesars macrumors regular

    May 16, 2013
    I think Walmart has a credit card that you can put a straight talk iphone on that's around $20 a month on top of your phone bill-I have no idea about straight talk though.
  4. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    Good luck, I'm going in the opposite direction. I'm going from Att contract ($90) a month to Att prepaid (40) a month. I will pay an etf of $170 but will still come out on top by $300 compared to finishing out my contract. I recently bought the HTC one $650 outright and I'm not looking to upgrade for at least 2 years. If I need to I can just buy a used high end phone on craigslist.
  5. osofast240sx macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
    It would be cheaper with additional lines, and depends on the carrier also.
    Ex: on tmobile 1 line is $50 unlimited, talk text and data(500mb of high speed data) to add an additional line it's $30 after that the third fourth and fifth line is $10.
    This worked great for me. My parents were on metro pcs paying $80 a month. But it only cost me $20 a month to add them to my plan.
  6. MusicEnthusiast thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for all the help guys.

    I went ahead and calculated out 24 months how much it would cost for contact vs no contract (love Excel!).

    Prepaid: $650 phone, $40/month = $1610.

    Contract (AT&T): $200 phone, $60/month = $1640.

    I don't pay tax on my current prepaid service and I know I would w/ AT&T, but this is just a ballpark estimate.
  7. Yeezus macrumors member

    May 20, 2013
    Another option, which is dependent on your location, is to sign up for T-Mobile's $30 prepaid plan (100 mins of talk, unlimited text, unlimited data - first 5G up to 4G speeds).

    If you do decide to go with this plan

    Prepaid: $650 phone, $30/month - 24 months = $1370
  8. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Something to consider is that there is a reason contract plans are more expensive, as people mentioned . The retail procenofnthe phone is built into the contract. The kicker is that the monthly price doesn't go down once you have filled the contract (speaking of the states here). So, buying a phone outright and continuing your $40 per month plan is no better or worse than having one if the contract plans sibsidize your phone cost and then pay a higher monthly fee. The difference is you pay one off right away, you pay the other off over the life of the contract.

    My honest recommendation is if you are happy with the service you are getting prepaid, stick with it buy the phone outright, or save a bit of cash buying used. Most people (the comment here) stick with their postpaid plans because they feel they get superior service, but you don't dem to be concerned by that.

    If you are dead set on a subsidy, look into tmobile's plans.
  9. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    What Att plan is $60?

    450m $40
    Text. $20
    Data 3gb $30

    Total. $90 without tax.
  10. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    Get an ip5s and then pay the ETF, it still comes out cheaper. 320 ETF plus 200 for the iphone = $520, yeah you can also add the activation fee in there, but I've always been able to get that waived with a call and just asking, especially if you are a new customer. A new iphone is $649 without contract.

    ATT also has that promo that gives you $100 for any 3 year old smartphone, I traded in a 3 year old samsung captivate which was pretty satisfying. So essentially I got my ip5 for a little over $400, it will very easily sell for that much when the 5s comes out and I'll be able to upgrade. Meanwhile I'm saving at least $100/month having me and my wifes phones on prepaid.

    I'd say if you don't have the money to straight out buy the iphone maybe look at how much more you will be paying on a contract and take that money and set it aside and stay on prepaid, and when you save up enough the 5s should be out and you can just buy it and break the ETF.

    Keep in mind that next year when the ip6 comes out you can still sell that 5s and recoup at least 60-70% of what the ip6 will cost you retail, you can just keep doing this cycle every year and probably only pay $200 or so every cycle. Keep in mind even upgrading every 2 years on ATT you STILL pay $200 every upgrade recycle anyhow.
  11. MusicEnthusiast thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I got the $60/month figure from Jessica Lares above my post, which doesn't seem to include unlimited messaging. Thanks for pointing that out... What a bummer that these contract plans are so expensive!


    But don't you have to pay the first month's service straight up, too?

    Also, what prepaid plan do you and your wife use? I am using Red Pocket Mobile, which doesn't have LTE. So I wouldn't be able to utilize all of the iP5(s)'s functionality.

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