Need help - AT&T plan - 3 on unlimited, 1 on Data Pro, contracts almost up, new plans, HELP!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iPhone Momma, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. iPhone Momma macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #1
    Hi everyone. Time for me to join as I can no longer figure out what to do on my own. Need help…don’t know what to do or what we CAN do.

    Right now we have four iPhones on AT&T. We get a large employer discount so have been inclined to stay with AT&T.

    Three phones are on grandfathered unlimited. Which is fantastic, we want to keep, etc etc. The fourth is on Data Pro 5GB, which, to my understanding, is the largest plan available for a single phone on a family plan. That phone is used by my 16 year old daughter, who, since the day she got her iPhone 6, goes over that 5GB every single month. Some months it’s only a GB or two, some months it’s 8-10 GB more. It’s a complicated reason as to why, and yes we have done/are doing everything we can to try and ease her data usage.

    I’ve considered porting just only her number to TMobile as it might be cheaper that way. I have not asked AT&T if we can move one of our unlimited plans to her line and the Data Pro 5GB to the least used data line, but I’ve thought of that too. The other three lines go over 5GB regularly as well so doing that may not make any difference.

    So now with this new announcement from AT&T that Data Overages will not be automatic and that they will have new Mobile Share Advantage Plans, I have a few questions. As we could not access the previous mobile share plans for her one line, only the Data Pro plans, will we be able to choose one of these new plans for her one line, and keep the grandfathered unlimited on the other three? And if not, can we opt IN to paying the overage charges instead of throttling her?

    Also, sort of unrelated…I’m hearing that contracts won’t be offered anymore. We bought two new phones on contract, in December I think, and have the other two that are “up” in November. The AT&T site still says that an “upgrade” is available then. How is NEXT an advantage to me, when it is just adding to my monthly bill? Is the overall cost the same as the subsidized cost of the phones? But if I don’t do NEXT and pay up front, I’ve paid the retail price of the phone, which is a heck of a lot more? So confused…

    Help!
     
  2. boltjames macrumors 68040

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #2
    You may want to consider just trading iPhone's and phone numbers with your daughter.

    Yes, there will be an uncomfortable month where you'll each be getting each others stray phone calls, but if you tell all your contacts you've switched to a new number and she does likewise, she'll wind up with the unlimited iPhone and you'll have no more overages as a family.

    It's a very simple solution. Swap SIM cards.

    BJ
     
  3. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #3
    I would, but my husband and I both take business calls on our lines and we've had those numbers for 20 years, so not as simple as it seems. Plus, all 4 lines regularly go over 5GB, not just hers. We just don't know how these new plans and no automatic overages will play into her line.

    And all that NEXT stuff, which I don't get at all.
     
  4. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #4
    You'd probably have to contact AT&T about that line to see what might be possible for it. Perhaps you can separate it away from the other lines on its own plan/account and get one of the new plans for it. Or, like you said, go with something like T-Mobile for it.

    As far as NEXT or basically financing, it's basically you just paying off the full retail price of the phone in monthly payments (without any interest). On newer plans you'd get a monthly discount to offset that monthly payment you'd be making, which is sort of like the subsidy you would be getting with a contract. But with older plans (like the unlimited one) there's no discount that would get applied, so basically it's the same as just buying the phone for its full price, and simply paying it off little by little over a period of a few years.
     
  5. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #5
    I hadn't thought of that - getting a new AT&T account just for that one line. But honestly, if I'm going to do that, I might as well just move her to T Mobile. I'd have to compare pricing I guess with AT&T's new offerings, minus the employer discount.

    What is the NEXT discount? And why doesn't it apply to older plans? I'd think it would be more attached to the voice plan than the data plan?
     
  6. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #6
    NEXT or financing discount is basically a monthly discount a line would get for being on NEXT or financing a device essentially. So if on some line you get a device that is going to cost you $30/month to finance you'd be getting let's say $15 or $25 off every month (depending on the plan you are on, although with the newer plans it will just be $20 off every month) to offset that financing cost, basically like a subsidy, kind of similar to how the phones were free or cheap on contract plans. It's not really attached to the voice or data plan, but to the device cost given that the newer plans have a base plan cost that basically includes unlimited minutes and unlimited messaging with some sort of a data package, and then they have a device cost for each device (which typically comes out to be $40/month). They never set this kind of thing up for older plans that were no longer around when the whole NEXT/financing thing came about basically because the plans were no longer supported and they would rather have people move over to the newer plans (and this is partially an incentive for that).
     
  7. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #7
    Well, now that it's rolled out I have some of my questions answered. Her plan did not change at all and they are still charging us $10 per gig of overage. Not asking, not giving me an opt in, just charging it. Her data plan is still the DataPro 5GB and there is still no other option to choose for a single line on a family plan other than the Data Pro plans. At least, not online. To be fair, the plan she's on is described as this:

    "DataPro 5GB for iPhone on 4G LTE
    $50.00
    /mo.

    5GB of domestic data usage, $10 each additional 1GB of data usage. Unlimited data usage on the AT&T Wi-Fi Basic network. Includes Visual Voicemail. Mobile Hotspot and tethering available with compatible devices."

    And that's the largest option.

    So, this is sort of our plan. Stay as is until November when Kid A and Kid B have their 2 year contracts come up. Kid A is our grown son, and has unlimited as my husband and I do. He can either keep his current phone or buy his own phone outright - no NEXT for him since I pay the bill. Kid B, our data sucking teenager who is not on unlimited, we will either move her to a separate account on AT&T packaged in with a new device or a separate account at T-Mobile, to be packaged in with a new device, whichever is cheaper at the time (AT&T or T-Mobile). My husband and I will stay as is until 2017 when our contracts come up (I think in December 2017) and then I don't know what the heck what. I don't know what will be offered then, and I'll probably be back on here then asking for advice.

    Unless anyone has any better ideas! o_O
     
  8. bohbot16 macrumors 6502a

    bohbot16

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    #8
    Any chance you have/want DirecTV? AT&T bought them last year and has a new unlimited family plan that is available if you buy a TV plan.
    Check out https://www.att.com/bundles/
     
  9. MrWillie macrumors 65816

    MrWillie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
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    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    #9
    You could always try bahavior modification. Look at her data allotment as finances. If you have $10,000 a month income, do you spend $14,000 a month and stay financially solvent ? No, you live within your means. She is living beyond her means and needs to make adjustments. Simple as that.
     
  10. bufffilm Suspended

    bufffilm

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #10
    Beyond that, simply tell her that 5gb is all she gets each month. (5gb is plenty, btw.) Once reached, she's not getting more till next month.

    She'll learn to manage her allotment the hard way, but it will work. May take a month or two, but it will work.

    It's time to make some changes.
     
  11. ecschwarz macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #11
    Besides what some of the others have suggested, you might want to look at your usage and consider moving to one of the new plans - they share a certain bucket of data and if you go over, there aren't overage charges, but rather just slow down. I know a lot of people that hang on to the old, unlimited grandfathered plans, but are in reality only using 5GB or less regularly. It's even better if you have some heavy users and some that aren't to balance it out (we share a 20GB plan - I use about 2-3GB, another line is a piggy and uses about 8-10GB, and the other two use <1GB each). Mix in rollover data, and there's a nice little buffer every month.

    That being said, there are a few other options that might be useful - you could move her to a line on Cricket - they're a subsidiary of AT&T and use the same towers (except for roaming), but do the no-overage-but-slower thing on their capped plans. They also throttle all connections to 8Mbps, but that's generally sufficient for most things.

    If you move to T-Mobile, you'll need to get a new phone or get her current one unlocked. If she doesn't use many voice minutes, there is a somewhat secret prepaid plan that you can only get online from T-Mobile or from a Walmart. It's $30 and has 100 minutes, 5GB of data (throttled if you go over), and unlimited texting. Some swear by that plan, especially if they never talk on the phone:

    https://consumerist.com/2013/06/07/...very-chatty-but-can-current-customers-get-it/

    http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/other-prepaid-plans

    In terms of unlocking, AT&T will do it once the contract is up or the phone is unlocked - probably good anyway, so that you have some flexibility in the future, or could resell the device:

    https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/?#/

    We briefly tried T-Mobile and rather than getting all new phones, we unlocked them - really saves if you're happy with your existing device or want to use one as a backup with the new carrier.
     
  12. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    I was also a part of the "grandfathered unlimited plan" for years. I wouldn't give it up for anything!!! However a recent trip to the AT&T store revealed a new plan! We have DirecTV and they have a new unlimited plan. It seems better too because it doesn't throttle your speeds nearly as soon. And with the new plan, it's cheaper :)

    Something to also look into if you have DirecTV?!
     
  13. ecschwarz macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #13
    It should also be available if you have U-verse TV, too. They downplay it, as they're trying to move everyone off of the U-verse TV product where they can (and spent enough to bring DirecTV into the fold).
     
  14. dontworry macrumors 6502

    dontworry

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    #14
    Actually, they both start throttling at 22gb of usage.
     
  15. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    Well they told me it throttled at like 5. Either way, the new unlimited saves me money so I am down for that :)
     
  16. dwfaust macrumors 68040

    dwfaust

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    Location:
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    #16
    You could swap SIMS and then go to AT&T and request new phone numbers for the two lines that you swapped SIMs on... it will solve the stray phone calls issue...

    We recently switched to the AT&T unlimited with DirecTV plan... they CAN still throttle each line when that line hits 22gb. It's happened to us twice in 3 months and we have not actually been throttled... YMMV.
     
  17. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    Well neither my husband nor I get anywhere near 22gb so I think we are good!! The gal at the store says the old unlimited plan they would throttle much sooner than 22g. Either way....I think the most we've ever used was 10gb :)
     
  18. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    Apr 20, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth, NH
    #18
    Keep the 3 unlimited data plans just as they are. Send the daughters plan over to cricket. Cheap plans. Att network. And no overages.
     
  19. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #19
    Well, we are here at this point...grown son has bought his own phone, husband and I still have our 6S's bought on contract last December, and it's time to get my daughter's new phone. Son, husband, and I are staying on ATT grandfathered unlimited with my employee discount, for now. Looking into T-mobile now for daughter and saw your post. Cricket and AT&T's unlimited plans are both $70 for one line. Aside from Cricket being out of stock on the phone she wants, and the fact that Tmobile has brick and mortar stores (instant activation), why would I/should I go with one over the other?

    Still don't know if I'm going to buy the phone outright or pay monthly. I'm still just sick about the fact that subsidized prices are over.
     
  20. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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    Apr 20, 2016
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    Portsmouth, NH
    #20
    Cricket has brick and mortar stores as well. My daughter is on cricket and I like it a lot. But if you like TMobile then use them.
     
  21. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #21
    The T-Mobile plans and incentives are very enticing. The sweet spot is 4 lines or more. That's when you can get a great family plan for a very good monthly price.
     
  22. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #22
    So my daughter has decided to wait a few months for the next phone release and bring her current phone over to TMobile. So I went through the process to get it unlocked and it was approved, but it says this:

    "Device unlock portal - Approved
    Check status of another device | Device unlock portal
    We’ve approved your request to unlock your device. Here are the instructions to complete your unlock:"

    And then...nothing. There's no further instructions. Is that it? Nothing else I have to do?
     
  23. ecschwarz macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #23
    If you got the okay that it's good to be unlocked, typically you can do one of two things to unlock it. The first is to insert a SIM card from another carrier (the phone should just work with the new carrier). The second is to do a backup & restore and that should restore it to an unlocked state.

    Personally, I keep a few "dead" T-Mobile and AT&T SIM cards around purely for unlocking iPhones, since it's a bit less disruptive than a restore.
     
  24. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #24
    You are good to go.
    You can stick a Tmobile sim card inside, connect to wifi and test it out.
    It should take you to the activation screen and then it will work with the Tmobile sim card.
    Good luck.
     
  25. iPhone Momma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #25
    Well, it's all done - this phase of the plan. Teenage daughter data sucker is successfully ported over to TMobile, and the three of us remain on AT&T. Next up is to figure out what to do after our contracts are up for husband and I (we got our 6S's on a 2 year contract last December). I'm anxious to run the math to see what is truly cheaper after the new bills settle for a month or so. AT&T with our grandfathered unlimited + our employer discount, or TMobile for four lines. I'll say it again that I'm still ill that the subsidized pricing for phones is gone...that kind of ruins the whole thing.

    Last month we spent $180 in overage fees ON TOP OF the $50 we paid for her Data Pro 5G, plus her line fees...so yeah, $70 is a lot less. :)
     

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