I have AT&T, can I get a discount? Please explain.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bollweevil, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. bollweevil, Feb 20, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

    bollweevil macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #1
    EDIT: I have now reviewed my bills and the options offered by AT&T. I definitely have not "been screwing myself" and Small White Car was categorically wrong when he or she said I "should definitely change. [I'm] currently on a plan that has the cost of a phone built into it every 2 years." Small White Car used the word "definitely", and so I can say that Small White Car was definitely wrong. Given the number of lines I have, the number of minutes I want, the amount of data I want, and the unlimited texting that I want, I am on the cheapest plan possible from AT&T. There is no cheaper plan. I cannot forgo the privilege of upgrades and get a cheaper plan. The only change possible would be to get a Next plan, and that would increase my monthly bill by the following amount: (price of phone) / (number of months). I'm very impressed Small White Car knows that I should "definitely change" while knowing so little about my telephone plan, but I am less impressed because Small White Car was 100% wrong. Making wrong assumptions is easy and fun, isn't it? It's especially fun because Small White Car got a bunch of upvotes on the post full of wrong assumptions.

    I have AT&T service, it is an expensive plan. In the past, I have gotten a discount on my iPhones because I sign up for 2 more years of service. I heard that AT&T refused to play ball and those discounts are gone, and now there is a different thing.

    So, what is going on? Can I get a discount, and how large will the discount be? I have not purchased a new phone in 2.36 years.

    I called *639# and it replied that I am eligible for an upgrade.

    These are the iPhone starting prices with no discount. How much are they WITH discount?
    $769 - iPhone 7 Plus
    $649 - iPhone 7
    $649 - iPhone 6S Plus
    $549 - iPhone 6S

    Should I buy from AT&T or from an Apple Store? I prefer to buy at an Apple Store, and as of 2.36 years ago it didn't matter.

    The AT&T website does not answer these questions, they very badly want me to sign up for a new phone once each year and spend extra money each month, and I don't want that.

    The Apple website does not answer these questions, it seems to want the nominal price for everything.
     
  2. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #2
    Basically, you've been screwing yourself for the past year and should definitely change. You're currently on a plan that has the cost of a phone built into it every 2 years. By going 3 years you've now paid for half of an iPhone that you'll never see. The new plans solved this by taking the cost of the phone out of your standard bill.

    Your 2 basic choices with AT&T are:

    1) Buy full price at either Apple or AT&T (doesn't matter where) and make sure AT&T adjusts your plan to a new one that doesn't have the subsidy price built in. This basically means "just pick one of their new plans."

    2) Sign up for the AT&T NEXT 2 year plan. They split the phone payment up over 2 years in your phone bill but, in contrast to what you have now, after that your bill goes down. Currently your bill doesn't change after you pay off the phone. If you keep a phone for 3 or 4 years this is better for you. If you replace it every 2 years it kind of works out the same as the old way.
     
  3. bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #3
    Wow, that was extremely rude, and also incorrect.

    1. I actually bought a new phone 2.36 years ago, not 3 years ago. I rounded up to emphasize that it was more than 2, and also because I didn't want to bother typing the date into Wolfram Alpha (which I have now done) to find that it was 2.36 years.

    2. The discount was only like $200 last time I had an upgrade, so at worst AT&T is building in $200 per 2 years. That will not buy an entire iPhone, they are at least $550.

    3. The AT&T Next plan (the new phone every 2 years plan) is significantly more expensive than my current plan, which further underscores that I have not been paying for a phone at a rate of 1 phone per 2 years.

    I don't want the Next plan (one phone every 2 years) and I don't want the Next Every Year plan (one phone every year), because they are more expensive than my current AT&T plan. My current AT&T plan says I am eligible for an upgrade. How much money is this worth?

    Do I really need to call AT&T on the phone? Because that is usually less pleasant than MacRumors, but Small White Car, you are really giving them a run for their money by being extremely rude.
     
  4. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #4
    There was nothing rude about the response. Just because you don't like the answer doesn't make it rude. You cannot get a discount on upgrading anymore. 2 Year contracts no longer exist, Last time you could have gotten one was Jan 2016. The options outlined above are your only options. Use Next to pay for it monthly, over 1 or 2 years, buy it full price up front for $650+ or use iPhone Upgrade Program, which similar to next is a monthly cost. Those are your only options. Calling AT&T will not make a difference because discounts do not exist anymore.

    Next is not more expensive, you are just paying for the phone on your monthly payment instead of paying for it up front. You will end up spending the same amount of money in the long run. $650+ for the retail cost of the phone.

    Where does it state you get it for a discount? Neither my account online or text state that. Upgrade does not mean discount.
     
  5. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #5
    AT&T won't sell phones at subsidized prices anymore. Although AT&T reports you're eligible for an upgrade, there's no upgrade available. You have the options that @Small White Car listed above, as well as the Apple Upgrade Plan for a phone.
     
  6. DUIduckSAUCE macrumors 6502

    DUIduckSAUCE

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    #6
    Either small white car is correct and you are confused. Or you are already getting a good deal.
     
  7. bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #7
    No matter what, Small White Car was being extremely rude.

    My AT&T plan is significantly cheaper than any Next plan (there are two available, Next and Next Every Year), and there is no cheaper plan available, so I would say I am definitely not being screwed.

    My question was basically "does AT&T offer a discount if you sign away two years of your life", and the answer might be "no". It is possible to answer that question without calling me an idiot.
     
  8. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #8
    Doesn't really seem like anyone is seeing any rudeness in what was said, let alone something "extremely rude".

    Could you explain what exactly you mean by your plan being significantly cheaper?
     
  9. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #9
    You are still not understanding. The reason why Next seems more expensive is because you are adding the device cost to the monthly service. The monthly service will rain the same cost.
     
  10. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #10
    Does not compute. You have an expensive plan, but it's cheaper than what AT&T is offering today?

    How much is your plan, and how much data do you actually get with it?
     
  11. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #11
    I did not call you an idiot.

    You asked a question and I said "here's what you need to do."

    I apologize that you didn't like my help, but I do not appogize for calling you names since that does not exist anywhere in my answer.
     
  12. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #12
    Dont feel bad or upset about the comment that you're getting screwed by AT&T.
    Many of us are or were in the same position :D
    Embrace it:D
    In other words AT&T doesn't do 2 year contracts any more. The days where you paid $199 for $650 device and signed a 2 year agreement are over unfortunately.
    Now there's slightly better/cheaper plans available so you can save some money per month and use those savings to buy your own device or use AT&T's next payment plan to pay for it and have the payment added to your monthly phone bill.
    I also had a family plan that was cheaper than all the available plans they have so when they stopped the subsidized 2 year contract prices and jacked up my unlimited data plan by $5 more per line per month I left AT&T.
    You have options and if you're out of contract you can look at the Verizon and Tmobile deals to save some money.
     
  13. af21187 Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    #13
    No, you can't get a discount. There never was a discount to begin with. The 2 year agreements hooked you in at a low price for the phone, but the price for the plan had a built-in subsidy. Now you are still paying that subsidy when you fulfilled your contract agreement a year ago, which is nothing but free money for ATT.

    You can pay full cash for a new phone off of Swappa if you are still interested in keeping your current plan, but you'd still be paying that hidden subsidy. They won;t let you get a discounted phone on 2 year agreements anymore.

    I would actually recommend you switch your plan and buy a *NEW* unopened phone from Swappa. These still have the one year warranty from Apple. That would be the cheapest option overall, IMO.

    And btw, Small White Car wasn't rude at all. You're just way too sensitive.
     
  14. thekb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #14
    I've heard some people over the last few years have heartburn over the loss of two year contracts. I really don't understand! Here's a very simplified example to illustrate why:

    If the cost of iphone is: $200 subsidized (two year contract) vs $680 unsubsidized full price
    Then the cost of service would be $40 per month under contract vs $20 per month with no contract.
    So total of $1,160 over 24 months either way -- there would be no difference in the net cost

    OR

    If the cost of iphone is: $200 subsidized (two year contract) vs $0 on payments
    Then the cost of service would be $40 per month under contract vs $20 per month with no contract + $28.33 per month for the device payment.
    So total of $1,160 over 24 months either way - there would be no difference in the net cost
     
  15. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #15
    Nice try but it's not always the same for everyone or every plan that people were on.
    There were people that had old family plans that were a lot cheaper than any other family share plans they had put out. And with those deals and getting a subsidy every 2 years for each line it blew the doors off their newer plans.
     
  16. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #16
    Post some details about your plan and perhaps someone here can provide insight into the nuances of your AT&T plan. Here are some things to post.

    1. Do you have a FAN (employee discount)? If so, what's the percentage? And is it one of those rare/special FANs that take the discount off of the entire bill or just the plan portion?

    2. How many lines are on your plan?

    3. Are you on a MobileShare type plan, or is a Minutes-type plan with a Data Package and perhaps Text Package?

    4. How many GBs do you get a month on your plan? How many do you use?

    As to the subsidy discount, it used to be that the discount was $450 every two years. A $650 phone would cost you $200 up front. A $450 phone was "free". The rule of thumb was that if you did not upgrade right at the two year mark, you'd be screwing yourself, because you would have paid off the subsidy, but your monthly rates didn't go down.

    With MobileShare (which happened to start around the same time as Next), the price of the phone was decoupled from the monthly plan. If you paid for the phone outright, you got a $15 discount. If you went with Next, you paid the $15/mo installment for your phone until you paid it off.

    Most of the time, going with a MobileShare plan is the better bet. Some exceptions are if you are grandfathered into an Unlimited Plan or if you have some sort of SuperFAN discount. Also, if you're a single line account, it can get hard to beat the old minutes plans if you're still on it. Especially if you do use too much data.

    ft
     
  17. foxconn Suspended

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    #17
    give me a break.
     
  18. Peter K. macrumors 6502a

    Peter K.

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
    Location:
    SoCal
    #18
    It wasn't rude and it was correct, based on the information you gave in the OP.

    1. OK, you've been screwing yourself for the past 4.32 months and should definitely change.
     
  19. thekb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #19

    Which is why i said it was a very simplified example. The math isn't the same in all cases, but for the most part, for most people, there isn't a hill of beans difference between the old subsidized model and the new payment plans. A guy in my office last year was bragging about how he arm wrestled his phone company into letting him sign another contract and he got a new phone for 200. I started to explain the discount he would have received under a payment plan, but he was happy so I let him be happy. This thread sounded a lot like that.

    "Darn it, I want my discounted phone. Why are they taking away my discounted phone and making me pay full price!?"
     
  20. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
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    #20
    Yes, in my case I had an old family plan with $9.99 per added line and $30 for unlimited data each line. And a work FAN discount so it was great for as long as it lasted I guess ;)
     
  21. Leney macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #21
    I was on 2 yr contracts from 2007 with the original iPhone until last year. Since 2007, I've also been on a 450 minutes with rollover plan and have an unlimited data plan. I don't pay a cost for service as far as I can tell. My plan costs around $75/month. I don't see how paying full price vs. a subsidized price for a phone is indistinguishable in such a case.
     
  22. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #22
    Yep, pretty close to what I had too.
    Those plans were awesome back then and with the full subsidy included for all lines every 2 years.
    My main line on the family plan qualified for a full upgrade every year though.
    Those were the good old days:D
     
  23. bollweevil, Feb 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

    bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #23
    UPDATE: I have now reviewed my bills and the options offered by AT&T. I definitely have not "been screwing myself" and Small White Car was categorically wrong when he or she said I "should definitely change. [I'm] currently on a plan that has the cost of a phone built into it every 2 years." Small White Car used the word "definitely", and so I can say that Small White Car was definitely wrong. Given the number of lines I have, the number of minutes I want, the amount of data I want, and the unlimited texting that I want, I am on the cheapest plan possible from AT&T. There is no cheaper plan. I cannot forgo the privilege of upgrades and get a cheaper plan. The only change possible would be to get a Next plan, and that would increase my monthly bill by the following amount: (price of phone) / (number of months). I'm very impressed Small White Car knows that I "should definitely change" while knowing so little about my telephone plan, but I am less impressed because Small White Car was 100% wrong. Making wrong assumptions is easy and fun, isn't it? It's especially fun because Small White Car got a bunch of upvotes on the post full of wrong assumptions.

    Approximately once per year, I reassess my phone plan. How many minutes do I need? How much data do I need? How much texting do I need? How much is this stuff from a competitor, like Verizon or T-Mobile? Is there a different "package" that can get me what I need for less money? Sometimes I do make a change.

    I have never had the option to save a single penny by forgoing the right to subsidized phone upgrades. That has never been an option, and I have done that research. If it had ever been an option, I would have considered it. Since it was never an option, I tried to use the upgrades. But the upgrades don't cover the full cost of an iPhone, so sometimes it is wise to remember the sunk cost fallacy and keep the phone you have.

    The Next plan is not quite the same as the old two-year-contract deal, and some people seem to be missing this important point. By taking no action, I was not automatically signed up for the Next plan. When AT&T stopped offering upgrades, by definition the cost of a new phone was not built into my phone bill. If I paid more for a Next plan, then the cost of a new phone would be in my monthly bill, but I never signed up for a Next plan.

    The Next plan actually is very straightforward, they take the true price of the phone and divide it across a number of months. (The names are a bit confusing, the Next Every Year plan does not divide it into 12, they divide it into more pieces, but they named it assuming you will sell back your old phone after exactly 12 months.)

    The old two-year-contract deal was less straightforward. First of all, unlike Next, it was not optional. There was no way to get a discount on the monthly bill by saying "I will never want an upgrade". I know, I looked into it repeatedly. Second, because they have vendor lock-in for two years (you have sold your soul for the next two years), that is valuable to AT&T. The phone company likes to lock you in for two years, and they will spend money for that guarantee. This is why they didn't offer a discount to people who didn't want upgrades.

    For a good analogy, look at the credit cards that give you $100 or $200 of free money if you sign up and spend at least $500 in the first 6 months. How are they giving you free money? A new customer is actually worth about $300 to a credit card company. That is why they spend money advertising. That is why, in order to keep your $100 signing bonus, you need to actually use the credit card a certain amount and you need to not close the account for at least 1 or 2 years.

    Companies value guaranteed future business, and sometimes you (the customer) can get something of value in return, such as a $100 signing bonus on a Chase Bank Visa card, or a subsidized upgrade on an iPhone.

    The Next plan does not include any future guarantee for AT&T, so the monthly bill reflects the exact and true price of the phone.

    EDIT: It sounds like maybe some people were offered a discount on their monthly bill if they said "no thanks" to the upgrades. A discount like this was never available for me. AT&T offers a lot of plans, depending on your telephonic needs there are different options open to you.

    EDIT 2: I am not sad that the two-year-contract discounts are gone. I am indifferent. Here is the key: I needed to know whether two-year-contract discounts still existed, that is why I wrote the first post. I looked on the Apple and AT&T websites, and I was not sure. That is why I asked a question.
     
  24. Mlrollin91, Feb 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

    Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #24
    You are still missing the point. If you are on a MobileShare Plan, you get a discount on service if you are no longer under contract. Because you are not on the MobileShare Plan and not under contract, you are not getting that discount on your service. AT&T has "contract" pricing factored into non-mobileshare plans and therefore you actually are spending money on service that would be cheaper otherwise. The only reason not to be on a mobile share plan is if you are grandfathered into UDP. If you are paying for data, such as 3GB for $30, then it is cheaper to be on a mobile share because you will receive a discount on your service because none of your devices are tied to a 2 year contract anymore. Therefore, technically, you are paying more than you need to. It may be the plan you like, but you are losing out on service discounts.

    There is a reason why they charge an extra $20 dollars a month per phone on a mobileshare plan if you are still under a 2 year contract. Its factored into your original plan already.
     
  25. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #25
    IMO, there's still "lock-in for two years" to AT&T with these Next contracts, ... at least for most folks.

    "In the old days", the financial consequence of breaking a two-year contract early was that AT&T would tack an Early Termination Fee onto your final bill.

    Nowadays, the financial consequence of breaking a Next contract early is that all of your remaining Next payments get tacked onto your final bill.

    Either way, it can make for a large final bill, which I think discourages some folks from changing.
     

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