Carrier Life without 2 year contracts...

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mBlomkvist, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. mBlomkvist macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2016
    So for years now I have basically sold my old iPhone to pay for the two-year contract price of the new phone. Usually $200. For the 6 though I got the $300 64gb. It was perfect. People who didn't want contracts got a used phone and I got a new one.

    But, and I can't be the only one in this situation, I'm learning that now I have to pay a monthly upgrade price. I had heard about this a couple months ago and just assumed that the price at the end of it would be somewhere between the retail price and what it was with the two-year contract. But apparently it's just straight retail. I looked up how much it would be for a 6s with 64gb and if I dropped $300 (what it used to be with two-year contract) upfront I would still be paying like $15 a month for 30 months. This has to be a joke...

    Apparently it isn't.

    So this sucks. I'm sort of curious how apple is going to announce the prices on Wednesday when for years now people have been hearing the two year contract prices and now we are going to hear prices that are almost equal to a laptop.

    But more importantly... I'm wondering if there is some positive side to this. Somewhere. Anywhere. Like for example I'm curious about the "upgrade every year" plan. First off I find this hilarious. I'm paying retail and you're going to tell me when I can upgrade? **** off. But also the upgrade every year plan has a 24-month payment plan. So when I upgrade in a year am I going to be paying for 2 phones? Then the year after that... Still two phones?

    How are people handling this? Is the new "work-around" that you sell your phone on eBay when you upgrade and pay off the rest of whatever you owe on the phone... Then start a new payment plan? Or do you turn in your phone when you upgrade and they cancel the payments left for that phone?

    If you're turning in your phone then it seems like putting money down on said phone upfront is like throwing that money away. For example you have a $600 phone. You put $576 down upfront and pay a $1 a month for a year. When you upgrade your phone you turn it in and start a new payment on a new phone and they cancel that $12 out. But then the guy next to you pays nothing down. And for a year he pays what amounts to $300 down. He turns it in and they remove the other $300 he owes. This can't be right.......

    Also are you better off paying upfront each year and selling it on eBay each year? Like does an iPhone depreciate more or less than 50%? Because if after a year you pay for half.... You should probably just pay the rest off then sell it. You'll probably sell it for more than half right?

    Anyway I know this is a long post so I appreciate everyone who stayed with me through all this... And anyone who replies... Thank you!
  2. boltjames macrumors 601


    May 2, 2010
    Many of us feel your pain, and what used to be a no brainier every two years is now a real decision.

    Based on what I know about the 7, I am going to stick with the 6. The new features aren't worth the money.

  3. brianric macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2011
    After 12 payments, you turn in your old phone, pick up your new phone, start new 24 month contract on new phone. There's no more payments on old phone.

    You don't put anything down if you're going through Apple to buy the phone.

    Whatever you want.
  4. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
  5. ray737 macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2014
    I feel your pain. I felt the same way when I found out AT&T got rid of contracts no more subsidized phones. I will try the Apple Upgrade program because I will want to upgrade again in a year. I am also switching to T-Mobile one unlimited everything deal. No reason to stay with AT&T anymore.
  6. caligurl macrumors 68030


    Jun 8, 2009
    I'm paying the final payment required to get an upgrade with phone turn-in. I purposely chose NEXT 12 so that we made the higher payments that got us new phones in a year.

    You could choose the longer options and make lesser payments, but then next year you have a huge payment to be upgrade eligible.

    Because it took so long to sell our phones last year with too many low ball offers... we're not even dealing with that this year. Just going to send it back to ATT and be done with it....
  7. QCassidy352, Sep 5, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016

    QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    The cost is the same it ever was. It just used to be hidden by subsidies that were paid off over the course of the two year contracts. It never seemed like you were paying the phone off because the cost wasn't ever billed as the phone but rather as a monthly access charge -- one that was silently inflated to cover the subsidy.

    Since leaving the subsidy model, my family's monthly bill with att has come down more than enough to afford an upgrade for every member of the family every two years. The difference is that now you get the sticker shock up front.

    Of course, the installment plans basically restore the old model, under a different name, if that's what you want to do.
  8. comptr macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2007
    Well first you need to call you carrier and move to a newer plan. Second if you are a customer of Verizon & Sprint then they still offer 2 year contracts for current customers. I plan on using my carriers financing even though they still offer 2 year contracts since my carrier give me a 25.00 credit every month for using their financing for 24 months so it make the phone even cheaper then 2 year.
  9. duaneu macrumors 6502a

    Jun 19, 2010
    Bellevue, WA
    Like this probably, same as last year:

  10. aristobrat, Sep 5, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016

    aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    For people on the newer plans, the positive to this is that the price of the phone has no correlation to the price of the phone service.

    It doesn't penalize customers that don't upgrade every two years:

    With 2-year contracts, carriers don't sell a $749 phone for $299 just because they like their customers. Part of the monthly bill went towards recouping the ~$450 delta between what customers paid up-front for that phone and what the phone actually cost.

    So after the 2-year contract was up, and the carrier recouped that money, you'd think the monthly bill would go down (assuming the customer didn't sign another 2-year contract)... But it didn't. Carriers kept charging the same amount, even though the delta had been paid back. That penalizes folks that don't upgrade every two years.

    It eliminates big up-front costs for upgrading:

    For folks that upgrade every year, instead of having to drop $199+ up-front (when signing the contract) and then having to pay $649+ up-front (when they upgraded in the middle of that contract), they don't really have to pay anything up-front now.

    Sales tax will be added to their next bill, and they may have to make their first monthly payment up-front (Apple's Yearly Upgrade program requires this last year), but there's no big up-front payment any more.
  11. mBlomkvist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2016
    So is the best plan the one for every year a new phone? Because I really don't need that but it seems like there isn't really a big price difference between that and the new every 2 years. I'm on AT&T and it's the difference between 24 months for every year and 30 months for whatever the other upgrade plan is. I'm also wondering how they can tell you when you're allowed to upgrade at this point if you're paying for retail essentially. Like you should be able to bail at anytime.

    Also has anyone thought about after a year.... paying the rest of what you owe off the phone and then selling it? Lets say you're on a 24 month payment plan. You'll be halfway. Does the phone really depreciate by half? I feel like you could actually make money. Then you just start a new payment plan on a new phone. Use the money you made on the old phone selling to take care of maybe 5 or 6 months of payments? Then do the same thing next year?
  12. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    You can do all of that.
  13. mBlomkvist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2016
    Well the first question wasn't exactly a yes or no question but I appreciate the answer to the other questions haha
  14. stlredbird macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2009
    As someone with the AT&T grandfathered unlimited data plan, is there any way that I'm not paying more per month than I am now when I get a new phone and still have unlimited data?

    I think I can get unlimited data by linking my wireless account with my u-verse account or something but I think even then I am paying more even before the phone payment is added.
  15. theshoehorn macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2010
    You're basically receiving a 0% interest loan for the phone so in essence, you will be paying full retail over the course of said loan (24 or 30 months). You can pay it off at any time, but there are set points in the loan when you can upgrade by just trading your phone in.

    If you finish the payments without trading the phone in (or pay it off in full before the end) the phone is yours to keep. Half way through you can upgrade by trading in which forgives the rest of the loan and starts a new loan with your new phone. Sure you can probably make more by selling yourself, but you still have the rest of the payment to pay off.
  16. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Same problem here. I have a 6s Plus and no real need to upgrade.

    If I want the new iPhone, I have 3 options:
    1. Pay the remaining balance of approximately $600
    2. Pay half and start a new Next plan (about $300 maybe a little less)
    3. Start a new Next plan and continue to pay the current one (NO WAY am I doing that)

    That said, unless AT&T comes up with some kind of promotion for those of us not in the 'new iPhone every year' plan. I may have to wait a little longer.
  17. mmomega macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Exactly this.

    AT&T, Verizon, whoever wasn't eating the cost of millions of phones and giving you a discount you were just being charged in a way that you the consumer didn't notice. Now, the price is more in the open.
    And, I too, after switching our phones from the 2 year contract and old unlimited plans, the total cost dropped over a two year period. Which is how and why I decided to change the way I got 10 lines with 10 iPhones.
    I took my then current monthly price, x 24, x10. Then Upfront cost of phones + new monthly price x24. New way was much less expense overall after the same 2 year period.

    The other way you new you were paying was if you tried to cancel. There was the early cancellation fee. Which was the price of the phone - $200 you paid up front then for every month you were on the contract the ETF decreased until you made it to payment 24 where the ETF was zero because the phone is now paid off and it's yours.
  18. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I'm not sure why this is so confusing to people. Phones never cost $99 or $299 or whatever, they were subsidized and the actual price of the phone was hidden in the monthly plan, that's why you signed a 2 year contract.

    AT&T NEXT and Apple Upgrade plan are just 0% financing with the option to trade the phone in after a year or so.
  19. mBlomkvist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2016
    Well for me on I'm on a family plan with my parents. I'm in my mid 20's so I could probably handle it on my own but they haven't made a big deal about it... yet. And so I've always just sold my phone and bought a new one with the contract and everything stays the same. This time around it's not as simple. Yes people are saying you're paying the same about but from this month to next month it won't be like that. Instead it will be $30 added to their bill.

    Although I just called them and just said... I'm going to send you a years worth of payments upfront from selling this phone. Of course I don't think they believe me that I can sell my phone for as much as it essentially costs to get a new one. They never have. I don't know what they are thinking I'm doing instead.
  20. mmomega macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    A $648 phone spread over 24 months is still a $648 phone spread over 2 years no matter how you look at it.
    That $200 up front cost (from the older contracts) is basically 7 and a half months of $27/month.

    You can pay $200 in the beginning on the phone and then your payments are roughly $18.65 for the remainder of the 2 years. I know the monthly payments will still be $27 but if you paid the $200 up front the phone will be paid off in 16 1/2 months rather than 24.

    You're already ok with spending $200, just have that in your checking account that pays for the phone bill every month and you should be fine, you'll actually be more ahead than on the previous contracts because you're not out $200 on day one. Now you just walk in, grab a phone and leave.
    For the most part.
  21. ray737 macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2014
    I also have the grandfathered AT&T plan and I am finally going to get rid of it and move to T-Mobile where I will get unlimited everything including data and texts international.

    Not only does AT&T no longer subsidize the phone but you will be paying the exactly monthly service. There is NO discount for having your paid off iPhone. Even if you sign up for the next program after you're done you do not get a discount because you must be on one of their mobile share plans. So in essence you are paying way more $$.

    I think we all knew the cost of the phone was baked into the contract and you were really paying for the phone as well. But it's amazing after 2 years they still charge you the same monthly price.

    It's a nice way for them to convince you to get rid of the grandfathered unlimited data. I'm glad I am convinced to leave as of next week
  22. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    That's not true. Here's my current "access charge":


    It used to be $40, now it's $15.
  23. ray737 macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2014
    Do you have the grandfathered Unlimited Data plan??
  24. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    If he's not on a Mobile Share plan (i.e. he's on an old grandfathered plan), his "access charge" isn't separate from his plan cost.

    If his plan was $79.99/month, and he had the option of getting a new iPhone for $199 (and signing another 2-year contract), he can't do that that anymore.

    So he'll continue to pay the $79.99/month, and if he wants a new phone, he's either paying for that fully out-of-pocket, or he's using something like AT&T Next, where he'll still pay $79.99/month, plus the monthly cost of his phone.

    IMO, for people that don't want to give up their inexpensive grandfathered plans, they'll now be paying about as much (or more) as if they switched to one of the current plans (if they want a new phone, anyway).
  25. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Yeah, AT&T still does this I believe, and Verizon at least used to do it but have announced some time ago that they will stop doing that for any new lines/devices coming off a contract or financing or basically that just use owned equipment--which is rather shady if that's the case since they are just charging more for nothing.

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