How Do I Lower My Monthly iPhone Bill?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Huntn, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    I currently have an iPhone 4S and 5 with Sprint. With my wife, we are on a 1500 minute plan and it costs $140 per month. As compared to my pre-iPhone, pre-data days, this is twice as much as I used to pay.

    Any helpful suggestions on how to get these costs down?

    I'm considering going to 500 any time minutes as I don't think we exceed that. Is there any other service that would be compatible with these Sprint version iPhones that would be less expensive? If the savings were significant, I'd be willing to ditch these phones and buy new iPhones to make other options available. Thanks! :)
  2. pr0230 Suspended

    Feb 7, 2013
    Google Voice

    Sign up for google voice... Install TALKAtONE app... lower your plan to min... Use talkatone when connected to wifi...

    Ditch Sprint go with virgin mobile (same network as sprint)...
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I don't think you can transfer down. Sprint killed the ED plans in July and made being able to get on them impossible in October. So, you're grandfathered right now (I have the same plan you do).

    You can try discounts. There's still a credit union discount and AAA has a discount too if you're a member.

    I'm paying ~$186 monthly, but I'm also now paying for premium data (I wasn't before) and a $20 2GB hotspot. Beware the new plans. You pay more on the new plans for fewer lines. It's a better deal if you have more lines, but the ED plans are better for less than 3.
  4. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    get rid of data and only use the cellular service for making phone calls and sending text messages

    use internet when you have access to wifi
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You can't just get rid of data on Sprint plans. It's not like AT&T or Verizon where you can pick and choose. The Everything Data plans were advertised as unlimited everything (except talk) and you pay a specific price for unlimited text and data.

    Even the new plans on Sprint are the same way. It's all or nothing. There is no in between.
  6. scapegoat81 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2012
    I recently lowered mine by about $30 with AT&T. They offer discounts if you belong to certain unions. I got a 20% discount for mine, I lowered my family shared minutes to 500, & completely opted out of texting for both phones. My wife & I strictly rely on iMessage b/c most of our family & friends have iOS devices. Her line has 2gb of data while mine has 3gb. Both lines for roughly $113/mo. You may not be in the same situation but I'm just throwing it out there. Good luck
  7. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    in the UK you can threaten to move to a different carrier and they sometimes offer you discounts to stay with them

    I'm not sure if that works in america or if you are locked to the same carrier for life
  8. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Threatening does work, but at the moment it won't work on Sprint. Sprint is in the middle of replacing ~38,000 cell towers and they should have been done with it about a year ago.

    So, the network is in different states of chaos/order depending on where you live. Consequently there has been high churn and Sprint corporate knows it. They are doing almost no advertising because they don't want to attract new customers only to have them leave because the network isn't as advertised. Sprint corporate believes that once the network is finally done they can bring the customers they lost back. So, since they are losing customers right now because of the network, threatening to leave only gets you a thank you and goodbye. There's no attempt to retain customers, even long-term customers right now because Sprint doesn't have the network to back things up.

    As to being locked in, if you sign a contract here on any carrier, the usual term is two years. You can then go month to month off contract or renew. The standard thing has been the carrier offering you a new phone at a subsidized price if you'll sign a new two year contract. Those days are numbered though.

    Currently though, if you've signed a contract you have to pay an Early Termination Fee to leave. Sprint is sticking to it's fees because it's losing money, so just like threatening to leave if you want to leave before your contract is up, it's very rare for Sprint to let you go with no ETF.

    All the way around, the only thing the OP can do is look for discounts or leave.
  9. theonekcrow macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2009
    This may not help you since you are on Sprint and they don't have shared data plans as of yet, but the obvious one is to lower data buckets on a shared data plan. My wife and I lowered our bill by $70 by dropping our data buckets from 15 GB to 8 GB.

    Also, don't be afraid to ask about discounts. Often times you or your spouse's employer or school (if someone is a student) will have special discounts for them. I have a 10% FAN discount with AT&T because of my school.

    Finally, just shop around your carrier. Their plans change all the time so you may never know what you find.
  10. Honza1 macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2013
    This may not be the best suggestion in your area, but I ditched various phones and providers to get family T-mobile plan. Bought my own phones (kids got handed down/refurbished Galaxies, I treated myself to iPhone 5s) and for 3 phones + 2 iPads I pay $105/month (with taxes and after discount through our company). Unlimited voice/text, 2.5Gb LTE for me, 0.5Gb LTE per child, 200Mb per iPad. Phones have "unlimited 2G" if we run over.
    Here in Chicago suburbs the T-Mobile seems better than Sprint - my wife has Virgin Mobile ($35/month unlimited data/SMS, 300 min talk) and signal strength is worse then T-Mobile.

    May be for you switching to Virgin would help if T-mobile is not good choice where you live? Two phones should be $70 with 300 min/phone, unlimited data/SMS. That's half price. Get Viber/Skype to call each other and it may work :)

    I suspect you may not be able to transfer the phones, though...

    I looked long and hard into the options and after realizing, we were still happily using (as backup) 5 year old Blackberry, my son and daughter are happy with ~3 years old Galaxies, I decided to go the "buy your own" way. Cheaper, more flexible, in long run.
  11. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    Can't really get rid of data on most carriers when using a smartphone.
  12. patent10021 macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    1.Take the paper invoice in your right hand.
    2. Without dropping it slowly let the invoice down to the ground.
    3. Keep it on the ground if you want it to stay lowered.
    4. Lift the invoice if you want to raise it again.

    You're welcome.

  13. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Anybody asking this question should first answer:

    1. Are you (reasonably) happy with the service quality your current carrier?

    2. What are your average monthly usage (voice, text, data). If carrier doesn't provide you with this info online, reset your phone's statistics at the beginning of the billing cycle for a ballpark estimate.

    Armed with these two pieces of information will allow you to go shopping, METHODICALLY, otherwise the choices will overwhelm you.
  14. wordoflife, Dec 29, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013

    wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    If you can't get any discounts through Sprint, the best thing would be to switch to a new carrier. The only problem is that your Sprint devices won't work on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon.

    Two phones on EIP with T-Mobile comes to $134 before taxes (500 MB data, unlimited text/talk.
    Two contracted phones on AT&T are $125 before taxes (1GB shared data, unlimited text/talk)
  15. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    If your phones are unlocked you could try Walmart family mobile. They use T-Mobile service in some areas and at&t in others. I have my wife using them with an unlocked at&t iPhone 5, and after taxes her line is $47 a month with unlimited everything and data throttling after 3gb. Only downside is that apple visual voicemail doesn't work, so she's using Google voice.

    If you both switch you would be under $100 for the both of you.
  16. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Sprint does not unlock for domestic carrier use – ever.

    The OP would have to buy new (or used) phones.
  17. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    Consumer Cellular allows you to pick a plan with texting and minutes (starting at $15.) without a data plan on your choice of iPhone.
    Well, data comes with the plan but is so limited you may request they turn it off on their end so you don't accidentally rack up data charges.
  18. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    pay the ETF and go with a MVNO carrier. a sprint MVNO might even let you transfer your phones over

    but sprint is the worst carrier in that their phones don't work on any other carrier in the US. best is to sell them and buy full price unlocket ATT/T-Mo phones and use them pre-paid

    two people on t-mo prepaid plan with unlimited minutes and texts plus 500MB LTE data and unlimited data should run you around $80 o
  19. John9721 macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2012
    I highly suggest Virgin Mobile. If you and your wife can survive on 300 minutes each, you can set up Autopay on any of their iPhones and pay $60/ month for both. Huge savings IMO. That also comes with Unlimited data and texting. Same network as you are on now too, if your happy with it.
  20. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020


    Mar 19, 2012
    There's services like Ting that let you make up your own plans. Or textnow that have dirt cheap plans that utilize wifi calling.
  21. HobeSoundDarryl, Dec 30, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Change phones and go with a prepaid monthly plan like NET10 or maybe that $39.95/month Walmart Family Plan. If you are nearing the end of your contract, consider hanging in there so you can avoid the ETF. If not, consider biting that bullet, selling your existing phones and replacing them with new ones. I suggest the Verizon model 5s so that you can use it with ANY plan as it's set up for fall backs to both CDMA and GSM.

    We have 2 Verizon iPhones both set up on NET10 running on the AT&T network. They get LTE and the total monthly for "unlimited* everything" is $85. It appears the Walmart Family Plan may offer an even better deal by another $5 or so per phone. If you don't really need faux unlimited, nail down your needs and shop around the non-Sprint and especially the prepaid carriers and you might do even better.

    If you did what we do, calculate your ETF divided by $55 (the difference in what you pay now and $85) and that will reveal how long it will take to recoup the ETF, after which you'll actually net the savings for what would have been the rest of the contract term with Sprint. I would guess that it won't be that long. And if it's a long way to the expiration of your Sprint contract, there would be a lot of savings in making the change sooner than later.

    If you really need to pinch some pennies and aren't married to iPhone as the ONLY phone, Republic Wireless is an interesting option for Android. Or, you can do what I do and make an iPad Mini cover your phone needs (fairly sparse in my case) with VOIP + earburds with mic and free wifi for a $0/month "cell phone" bill. OR, if you definitely need some mobile connectivity, AT&T has a 3-month, 1GB plan for $25, so for about $9/month, one can be continuously connected to the AT&T network and utilize VOIP software for phone calls. Some will find that crazy but it works fine for my needs.
  22. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Any chance you use your phone for work? I do enough that they started paying my bill, then I just got on their line, now they even buy me an iPhone when an upgrade is available.

    Might be a long shot but if you do it's worth bringing up.
  23. JOSE891, Dec 30, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013

    JOSE891 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2012
    Las Vegas
    We pretty much are locked to the same carrier here, since there all the same. They all suck!

    They suck so bad and are expensive I had to buy a foreign sim and roam On AT&T here, I get Free incoming calls W/ 800 outbound mins, 25Gb data, and I use Google Voice App for texting and placing out going calls, Not over wifi or cellular, but all my calls go through the actual phone app.

    People reach me on my google voice number for texting and calling me, my google voice number even show's when I call them, all for $33 a month.

    And lets say one month I don't have money for my phone bill I just pay $2.60 for 800 min of out going and incoming calls W/ my Google Voice number.

    IDK why there's no plan like that here in the dumb US of A.
  24. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2013
    Phone plans just get worse every year

    I had to pay cash for my iphone 5c since all available plans from all carriers in sweden sucks right now.

    My current plan is $31+tax for unlimited data, free txt and about 600min of phone calls. (my iPhone 4s 16GB was free with that plan 2years ago)

    Getting the same amount today is impossible because no one offers free data anymore. The highest amount available i 20GB for about $80+tax...
    It does include a phone of your choice (even iphone 5s 64GB) for "free" but i think 80+tax/month is insane..

    No more free phones for me..
  25. Ender Wiggins macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2013
    Go back to a flip phone. Seriously, you can get one for like $10 a month on Verizon, it's crazy!!

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