Here's my AT&T bill with grandfathered unlimited data; should I get Next, unlocked, or what?

macrumorsuser10

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
261
186
Hi, I've been on AT&T since 2008 and have a grandfathered unlimited data plan. I've been buying subsidized phones on 2-year contracts, most recently an iPhone 5 in very late 2012. I want to get a new iPhone 6 from Apple (I'd rather not buy from AT&T or wait until the 6s).

My current 2-year contract expired a few months ago, so now I am confused on what to do since Apple no longer sells the iPhone with 2-year contract. Can someone give me some insight on what to do? Below is my most recent AT&T bill. As you can see, it's pretty low, and I want to keep it that way. :)

Questions:

1. In my current bill, am I still paying any remaining fees from my 2-year contract? I have read that even after your 2-year contract is over, the bill contains some amount of fee related to the subsidy.

2. Given that I can't get a 2-year contract through Apple (and I don't want to buy through AT&T), should I get an AT&T Next plan or an unlocked phone?
 

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solarguy17

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2007
721
173
Hi, I've been on AT&T since 2008 and have a grandfathered unlimited data plan. I've been buying subsidized phones on 2-year contracts, most recently an iPhone 5 in very late 2012. I want to get a new iPhone 6 from Apple (I'd rather not buy from AT&T or wait until the 6s).

My current 2-year contract expired a few months ago, so now I am confused on what to do since Apple no longer sells the iPhone with 2-year contract. Can someone give me some insight on what to do? Below is my most recent AT&T bill. As you can see, it's pretty low, and I want to keep it that way. :)

Questions:

1. In my current bill, am I still paying any remaining fees from my 2-year contract? I have read that even after your 2-year contract is over, the bill contains some amount of fee related to the subsidy.

2. Given that I can't get a 2-year contract through Apple (and I don't want to buy through AT&T), should I get an AT&T Next plan or an unlocked phone?
You have a pretty good deal, i don't think with any carrier on the new mobile share plans you will do better. 2 options really, buy from ATT (I know you said you don't want to, why?) or buy unlimited and i would suggest just buying from the ATT store itself.

If you were still rocking an iPhone 5, you don't seem to need the newest and best iPhone available so buying unlocked wouldn't make sense. The main reason to buy unlocked is to preserve unlimited when in contract or to be able to upgrade quicker.
So buying a phone on a 2 year contract is best for you, so buy from ATT Store.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,282
481
It's pretty much a wash with cricket wireless $45/month x 24 months plus $650 iPhone

Vs ur $63/month x 24 months plus $200 subsidized phone plus $40 upgrade fee. Not much difference.

Just depends how much you value voice minutes. I don't talk a lot. But still use around 300-500 (non mobile minutes) each month caking back the hospital land lines. 250 minutes is too little for me.

Of course u get full lte speed and limited throttling with att and faster ping times compared to 5gb (8mpbs limited lte) and throttled after 5gb.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
and have a grandfathered unlimited data plan.
If you don't use your subsidy, you are literally throwing $450 + tax away (unless you live in CA or MA, then you pay the tax on the subsidized price). So where I live that would come to $477.

This is because unlike on the shared data plans, you do not get a discount for being off contract or buying a NEXT phone. It makes no sense at all not to use your subsidy unless you think you are going to want to leave AT&T before the 2 year contract is up.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
I want to get a new iPhone 6 from Apple (I'd rather not buy from AT&T or wait until the 6s).
Well Apple no longer sells subsidized iPhones from AT&T. It makes no sense at all to throw away $477 and not use your subsidy unless you think you want to leave AT&T.
 

ohio.emt

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2008
803
155
Ohio
Just go to AT&T and get a 6 with a new contract. I don't think you will find a better price for service unless you need more talk or text then your current amount.
 
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macher

macrumors 68000
Oct 13, 2012
1,559
552
Just go to AT&T and get a 6 with a new contract. I don't think you will find a better price for service unless you need more talk or text then your current amount.
Yep you don't need to buy from Apple. In the last couple of months I got 4 iPhone 6's/64GB on 2 year subsidy and kept kept unlimited on all 4 lines.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
My current 2-year contract expired a few months ago, so now I am confused on what to do since Apple no longer sells the iPhone with 2-year contract.
Why do you want to buy directly from Apple? You have 30 days to add AppleCare+ to your iPhone after you purchase it no matter where you purchase it from.

If you don't use your subsidized upgrade, you are throwing away a minimum of $450 + tax!!

EDITED - I forgot to factor in the $40 upgrade fee, so it is $410 + tax when you factor in the upgrade fee.
 
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DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
1. In my current bill, am I still paying any remaining fees from my 2-year contract? I have read that even after your 2-year contract is over, the bill contains some amount of fee related to the subsidy.
Huh? You do not understand how it works. There is no extra fee for a subsidy on the grandfathered plans.

If you are on a shared data plan (Mobile Share Value Data Plan), then you get a discount if you are month to month (off contract) but you do not qualify for that discount if you have a grandfathered plan.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
2. Given that I can't get a 2-year contract through Apple (and I don't want to buy through AT&T), should I get an AT&T Next plan or an unlocked phone?
Only if you are too stupid to understand that if you don't use your subsidy to get a subsidized phone then you are throwing away $450 + tax.

Now if you are planning on leaving AT&T, then you should buy the SIM-free unlocked iPhone and not renew your contract. But if you are not planning on leaving AT&T or giving up your UDP grandfathered plan, then you should use your subsidy unless you are stupid.

EDITED - I forgot to factor in the $40 upgrade fee, so it is $410 + tax when you factor in the upgrade fee.
 
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macrumorsuser10

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
261
186
Only if you are too stupid to understand that if you don't use your subsidy to get a subsidized phone then you are throwing away $450 + tax.

Now if you are planning on leaving AT&T, then you should buy the SIM-free unlocked iPhone and not renew your contract. But if you are not planning on leaving AT&T or giving up your UDP grandfathered plan, then you should use your subsidy unless you are stupid.
Hi, you keep repeating this $450+tax amount or $477. How are you computing this value? I live in CA, by the way.
 

macrumorsuser10

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
261
186
If you don't use your subsidy, you are literally throwing $450 + tax away (unless you live in CA or MA, then you pay the tax on the subsidized price). So where I live that would come to $477.

This is because unlike on the shared data plans, you do not get a discount for being off contract or buying a NEXT phone. It makes no sense at all not to use your subsidy unless you think you are going to want to leave AT&T before the 2 year contract is up.
Where are you getting this $450+tax amount from?

As I mentioned, my 2-year contract expired a few months ago, so I am off the contract. So I am not sure what you mean by "If you don't use your subsidy". How does one "use a subsidy"?
 

macrumorsuser10

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
261
186
Why do you want to buy directly from Apple? You have 30 days to add AppleCare+ to your iPhone after you purchase it no matter where you purchase it from.

If you don't use your subsidized upgrade, you are throwing away a minimum of $450 + tax!!
Wow, you sure like to talk about $450+tax. Where is that number coming from? I am paying $63/month right now. How does that figure into your $450+tax?
 

macrumorsuser10

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
261
186
Huh? You do not understand how it works. There is no extra fee for a subsidy on the grandfathered plans.

If you are on a shared data plan (Mobile Share Value Data Plan), then you get a discount if you are month to month (off contract) but you do not qualify for that discount if you have a grandfathered plan.
I am not on a shared data plan, just an old grandfathered plan paying $63/month.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,130
16,778
Where are you getting this $450+tax amount from?

As I mentioned, my 2-year contract expired a few months ago, so I am off the contract. So I am not sure what you mean by "If you don't use your subsidy". How does one "use a subsidy"?
Use the subsidy by getting a new phone with a contract. Otherwise you are paying the same thing (with subsidy payment already included in the price of the plan) without making use of the savings it provides when it comes to getting a cheaper device.
 
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DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
Wow, you sure like to talk about $450+tax. Where is that number coming from?
$450 is the subsidy. If you buy an iPhone full price, you pay $450 + tax more for it than if you buy it subsidized.

So if you walk into an Apple store today, an off contract 16GB iP6 would be $650 + tax = $689 at my sales tax rate. If you instead buy a subsidized 16GB iP6, you pay $200 + tax = $212 at my tax rate.

$689 - $212 = $477, which is the $450 subsidy + the tax on the $450 subsidy. IOW, if you don't use your subsidy, you are throwing away $477 in my state.

In CA, you pay tax on the full price of the phone even when you buy a subsidized phone so the savings is only the subsidy. So in CA, if you don't use your subsidy, you are throwing away $450.

EDITED - I forgot to factor in the $40 upgrade fee, so it is $410 + tax when you factor in the upgrade fee.
 
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DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
I am paying $63/month right now. How does that figure into your $450+tax?
The $450 subsidy is baked into the $63/month. So if you are using the subsidy, you are paying for it anyhow and not using it.

It is different on the newer plans because on the newer plans you get a discount if you are off contract. With the grandfathered plans, you do not get an off contract discount. So you pay for the subsidy in the price of your monthly plan and if you don't use it, you are throwing away $450 every 2 years.

Also, AT&T has made it clear that they are getting rid of subsidies in the not so distant future, so either use your subsidy now or you may never get to use it. But if you think you want to leave AT&T, then no, don't go back on contract.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
Use the subsidy buy getting a new phone with a contract. Otherwise you are paying the same thing (with subsidy payment already included in the price of the plan) without making use of the savings it provides when it comes to getting a cheaper device.
This.
 

grifftaur

macrumors regular
Jun 1, 2015
171
42
Just go to the AT&T store and just do the 2 year contraact. It's most likely what I will have to do when the 6S comes out. I'm on a family plan grandfathered UDP paying $64 month. It sucks, but AT&T can suck it.
 
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Chargerdan

macrumors member
May 24, 2011
78
10
Agree with all of the others. If you pay all of the fees and such the subsidy is actually worth $410 for 2 years. That's because AT&T adds an upgrade fee of $40 when you renew the contract pricing. You may be able to have them waive it.

If the plan works for you now hold onto it until AT&T takes the subsidy away. There is no better plan that gives you unlimited data and a new device every 2 years.

One thing to remember, you need to upgrade your phone when it's eligible. If you don't you're just giving money to AT&T.
 
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DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
Agree with all of the others. If you pay all of the fees and such the subsidy is actually worth $410 for 2 years. That's because AT&T adds an upgrade fee of $40 when you renew the contract pricing.
Yes, good point you have to factor in the upgrade fee.
 

DarrenStevens

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2015
28
6
One thing to remember, you need to upgrade your phone when it's eligible. If you don't you're just giving money to AT&T.
So true, I never sit on an upgrade. You can always sell your old phone for a pretty good amount and then use that money towards a new phone at full price if you really want the newest model.
 

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