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Carrier Switching back to AT&T from T-Mobile

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Original poster
Nov 29, 2011
12,917
3,490
Boston, MA
Had a few questions for anyone that may be able to answer.

my wife recently found out she can get a massive Account wide discount on most plans with ATT. We have confirmed that it will work with the new (as of this Monday) $35 per line for four lines plan, so all is good there.

We initially had no plans to replace devices. All are working fine and so we had no desire to incur an additional expense. But then since we would be porting numbers we were made aware by the CSR that we would be eligible for free base iPhone 11's with trades for any device iPhone 6s or newer, and that deal seems too great to pass up. But before we jump in feet first I want to make sure everything is as I expect it to be.

the devices are supposed to be free via bill credits (which I do have experience with through T-Mobile) but it says it may take 1-2 billing cycles for that to work. So, my question is, how does that work? If it takes two billing cycles for it to work, I will have paid roughly $47 per device, essentially not making it free. Do they credit that back in an upcoming bill? Or is this just or for the course and "free" means "after out system gets around to crediting you". Obviously $47 isn't the end of the world, but as I said, "FREE" is what made this enticing. I am aware sales tax is due up front.

also, it didn't seem like the csr had any problems with four lines receiving free phones. Is there a limit? That seems like quite the "gift" and even without a discount towards the lines it would seem a family in the market for new devices is better off going with ATT than T-Mobile right now, no? I'm basically getting $2800 in hardware (granted there is a trade in but our phones total worth is maybe 800) handed to me to switch...

lastly, the term of the purchase agreement seems to be 30 months. As is par for the course you basically have to stick with it for 30 months in order to make this whole thing actually net you $0. We don't typically buy AppleCare but with repair and replacement costs having risen over the years it seems worth it. I think there was some sort of option with AppleCare for theft. Does Apple offer a monthly option (I know ATT does but I don't believe that has Apple care type coverage) or does one need to buy that up front?

Appreciate the help. This deal kind of came up unexpectedly and I am trying to make sure all the facts are clear before we move ahead.
 

jetsam

macrumors 6502a
Jul 28, 2015
585
322
Had a few questions for anyone that may be able to answer.

the devices are supposed to be free via bill credits (which I do have experience with through T-Mobile) but it says it may take 1-2 billing cycles for that to work. So, my question is, how does that work? If it takes two billing cycles for it to work, I will have paid roughly $47 per device, essentially not making it free. Do they credit that back in an upcoming bill? Or is this just or for the course and "free" means "after out system gets around to crediting you". Obviously $47 isn't the end of the world, but as I said, "FREE" is what made this enticing. I am aware sales tax is due up front.
After 1-2 billing cycles you'll get full credit from day 1.

I had a deal like this for the iPhone 7 Plus, where I was getting $29/month credit. I got nothing the first two months, then $87 the third month, followed by $29 each additional month (up to 24 months).

Four free phones does have a certain "too good to be true" feel to it. Can you get the offer confirmed in writing?
 
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pbonitati

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2015
111
142
Rhode Island
I'm sorry but my billing (whole) experience with AT&T was horrendous. I was only with them a short time due to this and "their ways". Small example of my experience: First bill: 4 lines/$640 and really no idea why nor did the CSR's (prorated BS), second bill $430ish, and third bill came down to almost normal. Took over 3 rotations for credits to kick in as well. Now, I switched back to T-mobile and my given situation with turning in phones my first bill is negative $415. You will miss taxes and major BS fees being added in at one price at T-Mobile. I know this is biased a little as I truly dislike AT&T ... Think back to Data Saver (opt out), 5G evolution advertising. Carriers are bad, they are the worse.
 
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phpmaven

macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2009
3,406
470
San Clemente, CA USA
This kind of thing is why I finally decided to opt out of T-Mobile and go with Mint Mobile. They use T-Mobile's towers and it costs me a ridiculous $11.25 per month per phone for 8GB of data. I have 5 lines with them and so it costs me $56.25 a month. You do have to pre-pay for the year, but with T-Mobile I was paying over $300 a month with everything I had going on. I just paid off all of the devices and moved to Mint Mobile. Been great so far. The one annoying thing is that they don't support eSIM, so you can't bring an Apple Watch over. I figure that's a small price to pay to save thousands a year.
 

Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,731
7,898
New Hampshire, USA
This kind of thing is why I finally decided to opt out of T-Mobile and go with Mint Mobile. They use T-Mobile's towers and it costs me a ridiculous $11.25 per month per phone for 8GB of data. I have 5 lines with them and so it costs me $56.25 a month. You do have to pre-pay for the year, but with T-Mobile I was paying over $300 a month with everything I had going on. I just paid off all of the devices and moved to Mint Mobile. Been great so far. The one annoying thing is that they don't support eSIM, so you can't bring an Apple Watch over. I figure that's a small price to pay to save thousands a year.

Another recommendation for Mint Mobile.

I'm not sure how you got a $11.25 / month plan with 8GB of data.

I'm getting their current lowest price plan of $15.00 / month 3GB plan by prepaying for a year.
 

Beelzbub

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2012
370
115
If it were me, I would make an appointment with the nearest AT&T Corporate store and do this in person and get it all in writing. Sounds like an excellent deal, but I would rather do this in person.

Whenever I need a new device with AT&T, this is what I do. Nothing against reps over the phone, I just have had a better experience with reps in person at the store. From past experience, calling a head and making an appointment works out good, this way you are not standing in line forever when showing up.
 

hbenitez09

macrumors regular
Jun 16, 2009
217
26
You mention porting back to AT&T how long ago did you port out? Could disqualify depending on how long it’s been. Just make sure it’s over 60 days.

They do credit back to day one for the free device with trade in. And it doesn’t take 2 bill cycles they just say 2 bill cycles to be safe.

Is your wife a veteran? It’s the only discount that qualifies on all plans. The limit is 10 on 1 consumer account. But technically unlimited as long as you meet the criteria port in a line and trade in a qualified device with minimum $40 dollar value.

Had a few questions for anyone that may be able to answer.

my wife recently found out she can get a massive Account wide discount on most plans with ATT. We have confirmed that it will work with the new (as of this Monday) $35 per line for four lines plan, so all is good there.

We initially had no plans to replace devices. All are working fine and so we had no desire to incur an additional expense. But then since we would be porting numbers we were made aware by the CSR that we would be eligible for free base iPhone 11's with trades for any device iPhone 6s or newer, and that deal seems too great to pass up. But before we jump in feet first I want to make sure everything is as I expect it to be.

the devices are supposed to be free via bill credits (which I do have experience with through T-Mobile) but it says it may take 1-2 billing cycles for that to work. So, my question is, how does that work? If it takes two billing cycles for it to work, I will have paid roughly $47 per device, essentially not making it free. Do they credit that back in an upcoming bill? Or is this just or for the course and "free" means "after out system gets around to crediting you". Obviously $47 isn't the end of the world, but as I said, "FREE" is what made this enticing. I am aware sales tax is due up front.

also, it didn't seem like the csr had any problems with four lines receiving free phones. Is there a limit? That seems like quite the "gift" and even without a discount towards the lines it would seem a family in the market for new devices is better off going with ATT than T-Mobile right now, no? I'm basically getting $2800 in hardware (granted there is a trade in but our phones total worth is maybe 800) handed to me to switch...

lastly, the term of the purchase agreement seems to be 30 months. As is par for the course you basically have to stick with it for 30 months in order to make this whole thing actually net you $0. We don't typically buy AppleCare but with repair and replacement costs having risen over the years it seems worth it. I think there was some sort of option with AppleCare for theft. Does Apple offer a monthly option (I know ATT does but I don't believe that has Apple care type coverage) or does one need to buy that up front?

Appreciate the help. This deal kind of came up unexpectedly and I am trying to make sure all the facts are clear before we move ahead.
 
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lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Original poster
Nov 29, 2011
12,917
3,490
Boston, MA
You mention porting back to AT&T how long ago did you port out? Could disqualify depending on how long it’s been. Just make sure it’s over 60 days.

They do credit back to day one for the free device with trade in. And it doesn’t take 2 bill cycles they just say 2 bill cycles to be safe.

Is your wife a veteran? It’s the only discount that qualifies on all plans. The limit is 10 on 1 consumer account. But technically unlimited as long as you meet the criteria port in a line and trade in a qualified device with minimum $40 dollar value.
It was four years ago.

no, she's not a veteran. But we confirmed with the ATT rep she worked with at her store that the discount works for the new (as of Monday) $35 per line for 4+ lines unlimited. This is what ultimately got us to switch back; our service bill should effectively get cut in half. The free phones were just icing on the cake.

we just picked our phones up today. crossing my fingers the bill credits go smoothly. When we originally switched to T-Mobile we took advantage of the "we pay your etf " deal and it was a battle getting the payout; we did eventually... 3 months later.
 

phpmaven

macrumors 68040
Jun 12, 2009
3,406
470
San Clemente, CA USA
Another recommendation for Mint Mobile.

I'm not sure how you got a $11.25 / month plan with 8GB of data.

I'm getting their current lowest price plan of $15.00 / month 3GB plan by prepaying for a year.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Original poster
Nov 29, 2011
12,917
3,490
Boston, MA
This kind of thing is why I finally decided to opt out of T-Mobile and go with Mint Mobile. They use T-Mobile's towers and it costs me a ridiculous $11.25 per month per phone for 8GB of data. I have 5 lines with them and so it costs me $56.25 a month. You do have to pre-pay for the year, but with T-Mobile I was paying over $300 a month with everything I had going on. I just paid off all of the devices and moved to Mint Mobile. Been great so far. The one annoying thing is that they don't support eSIM, so you can't bring an Apple Watch over. I figure that's a small price to pay to save thousands a year.
Unfortunately their data packages aren't typically enough for every user in our family. I see they have an 8 and 12 gig plan. Two of The lines on our plan end up being between 15-20 gigs a month, sometimes even more. There's a lot of streaming typically going on.

With T-Mobile we were using an old plan that gave 10 gigs per line with rollover but streaming didn't count against you in terms of data use. This was around $148 a month after taxes and fees.

the ATT plan is $140 for the base unlimited package (we don't get tethering but we don't typically use it anyway). On top of that there's a 60% discount. So we would end up paying about $60-ish per month for the service. It was too damn good to pass up rates like that.

The free Phones were something we did simply because we could. It was a port in offer we had to either take advantage of or lose. In hindsight I should've purchased at least one used 6s as a trade. I traded off an X that I could've gotten $350+ for. But this was an easy $0 out of pocket exchange.

forgot to mention that I found out triple A members also get their activation fees waived. The ATT Guy that was setting us up let us know.
 
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lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Original poster
Nov 29, 2011
12,917
3,490
Boston, MA
Figured I would update here for any future browsers.

Logged in the other day to see the bill waaayyyyyy higher than expected ($507 total). Looked at the pdf version and there were items on there that I didn't ask for.

Each line had "next up" on it, which is apparently like T-Mobile Jump, except they make you pay $5 a month. How this is worth it for anyone, and why it was there, beats me. They removed it no question.

There was also $40 accidental damage and loss protection on all lines ($40 total) which we also had them remove. Again, unsure why this was there.

Lastly, the activation wasn't waived. They worked on it, put me on hold a few times, an hour later the conclusion was I had to do it at the original store. Headed in there (40 minutes away but I visited a good friend and picked up my son's birthday gift from him so it wasn't all bad). Waited there about 30 minutes (Sunday, so I expected it) to be told to call in and tell them exactly that my AAA card was in file. Indeed it was, but the rep couldn't credit more than $100 so they're escalating it and I should see the credit in a few days...

They did again say that it would be up to three billing cycles to see the trade in credits for the devices but we did get confirmation via email that four devices were received.


Thus far I'm not terribly impressed, but honestly it's not any worse than what we went through porting to T-Mobile and trading devices in four years ago.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Original poster
Nov 29, 2011
12,917
3,490
Boston, MA
I'll do a (likely) final update for anyone asking similar questions in the future. This way they have a chance to read how it went for us from start to finish.

It took about two billing cycles for our trade ins to fully register and apply the credits monthly. Each of our numbers got an automated SMS confirming the credits were being applied monthly. We were also credited for the past two months. In our case these "back-credits" came out to about $200 ($23 x 4 devices x 2 months).

The insurance and early upgrade fees that we never wanted to begin with had to be paid for the month(s), canceled, and credited back. Still unsure how those were added in the first place as I confirmed they weren't something on "by default" and that either I, the customer, or the rep setting up the initial account would've had to select them.

Wife's discount was applied and dropped the cost of services (confirmed that it wouldn't work for insurance and such, but it will work on subsequent lines, Apple Watch, etc). Any money we "lost" from the first two months due to her discount taking time to apply would not be credited (this was expected).

overall it was a bit of a process but we are paying about half what we were with T-Mobile, and we got to take advantage of free phone upgrades, so I would say the process was worth it.
 
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