On vs. Off contract?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Dobiewonkanobie, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Dobiewonkanobie macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2007
    Any insight into the pros/cons of going unlocked/off-contract vs. subsidized on contract? :confused:

    (I looked for any similar Ip5 threads, but didn't find any.)
  2. XboxMySocks macrumors 68020


    Oct 25, 2009
    Buying on contract is ****:D I pay $20 a month for my iPhone (that's in Canada though, that's cheap as hell)
  3. SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
  4. Dobiewonkanobie thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2007
  5. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    People come here and ask this everyday, and start new threads.

    There are some reasons, but from what I can tell, they are tied to

    a) Intl usage
    b) They do not want a two year contract because apparently they will be changing carriers inside of two years
  6. praetorx macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2010
    If you live in the US going for a 2 year agreement is the only sound choice if you're planning to use your smartphone to browse the web (US carriers don't offer prepaid data plans).

    In other words it makes no sense to buy an off contract phone here if you plan on using data or need to talk a lot.
    On the other hand if you don't care about either and just need to be reached a prepaid option will do (recommend using T-mobile prepaid. ATT charges you once you start dialing out the number, no need for the other party to answer)
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    The reason for the 5 is the same as for any other phone.

    Correct me if am wrong but can you get a off-contract 5 in the U.S. at this time? Because otherwise is a moot point.
  8. mpossoff macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2010
    I agree. I'm with AT&T and I'm not planing to switch carriers because I'm satisfied.
  9. Fliesen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 30, 2010
    ad a)

    for international usage, just get the Verizon phone. it supports more international LTE bands and it's sim-unlocked

    ad "b)"

    it's not just about changing carriers
    the situation in the US is quite different to the situation in other markets.
    Whether you buy the phone off-contract or heavily subsidized, the monthly plans don't get any cheaper really, so why not get the almost 500$ subsidy.
    in most European countries, you can get a phone for 299€ on a 20€ / month contract, but you can also just buy it full price, off contract for 679€ and choose a discount "pay-as-you-go" plan that's 10€ cheaper per month.
    Usually, buying it off-contract and picking a cheap service results in a lower TCO compared to buying it subsidized

    for US citizens, however, it's actually the most sound thing to buy the phone subsidized, since paying full price upfront won't reduce your monthly rates by a cent.
    Verizon's LTE is better afaik and the verizon phone is sim-unlocked and identical with the GSM / LTE model for Europe.
  10. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    On contract is a lot cheaper because with non-contract phones, you still pay the same price for monthly service.

    Prepaid isn't a good option in America unless you want lots of minutes/text but little data. Usually customer service and data speeds are significantly worse with prepaid providers.

    Prepaid is slightly better pricing for non-smart phones but who wants to pay for service in advance when most people would rather pay after the month is over.
  11. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    I don't think it's necessarily true that on contract is better in the US. I can get an off contract phone and then sign on to a T-Mobile plan for $45/month which includes unlimited data. An AT&T OR Verizon plan would be approx $90/month and wouldn't include unlimited data.

    The difference in phone prices is about $450. But over two years, I'd be paying much more than that for the service plan on either AT&T or Verizon.

    Of course, if you go this route, you get fewer talk minutes and probably lesser 3G/4G network coverage.
  12. ANMA dojo macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2010
    I suggest you to stop blindly propagating this blanket advice.

    instead, how about suggesting they get the best domestic service where they'll be 99% of the time.
    depending where they live, AT&T may give them better service and faster/more reliable LTE internet.

    Verizon may come already GSM unlocked, but AT&T contract phones can be just as easily unlocked for as low as $5 on ebay. both models support 3G HSPA+, which hasn't automatically become obsolete. for the couple weeks that they're traveling outside the USA, with either model they'll have a phone that works on local carriers, and will have access to decently fast internet -- the Verizon model will simply have access to faster LTE data

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