Switching to an installment plan in middle of 2 year contract

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by xrayboy, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. xrayboy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #1
    I have always bought the new iPhone on launch day and re-upped my AT&T 2 year contract each time. But now, especially since I have the 15GB Mobile Share Value Plan, AT&T Next seems to be a better deal for annual upgraders. AT&T says I am not available for switching to Next until April 2016. So my options for getting a new iPhone at launch seem to be limited to:

    1. Pay full price for a new iPhone, re-up my 2 year AT&T contract, and pay an activation fee. Is it true that you can't pre-order from Apple anymore if doing this? Could sell my existing iPhone 6 for ~$400

    2. Purchase unlocked phone directly from Apple with iPhone Upgrade Program, activate with AT&T (unsure how they would handle this when I'm only 1 year into a 2 year contract?), sell my existing iPhone 6 for ~$400

    If anyone is in the same predicament as me, how are you planning to upgrade your phone? At this point I'm probably going to just wait until April when I can move to Next, or completely sit out the 6S cycle.

    But I'm pretty convinced Next is the best deal for annual upgraders with a 15GB+ Mobile Share plan.
     
  2. TheRealAlex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    #2

    2 Year Plans are Subsidized so you get a huge discount. And you are locked into the plan but you can switch devices anytime.

    An installment plan has you paying, $27 or $31 x 24 months and you never keep the phone, thats $27x24 months = $648 for a rental
     
  3. marddin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    #3
    You have to be 18 months into your 2year contract in order to switch to Next. You cannot upgrade through Next any sooner. I learned this from the ATT store today actually.
     
  4. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #4
    No matter what, I don't want to do any more 2 year contracts, and it certainly seems like AT&T isn't pushing this either. One option i am thinking might be worth it is to pay the early termination fee ($325 minus $10/month for each month of contract served) and sell the iPhone to cover that cost. Then I could start AT&T Next or Apple iPhone Upgrade Program now.

    3 things I don't know though:

    1. Does early termination affect ones credit score?
    2. Is there a period of time you have to wait after terminating a contract to start with Next or BYOD?
    3. Can you keep your phone number?
     
  5. meetsam23 macrumors member

    meetsam23

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #5
    Yes

    I just broke off 2 contracts of my 2 lines on ATT this week. First line paid ETF of 215, got that as credit for some mistake of ATT rep, 135 of that amount went in this month's bill, remaining 80 $ of credit used to pay ETF of 2nd line and I was able to pre-order silver 6s+ on ATT next 24.

    Had to bang my head and keep a lot of patience this week while dealing with ATT reps.
     
  6. bielen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    AT&T told me that once the iPhones are shipping, I can switch to MobilShare to nullify the two year agreement and order a new phone without the ETF. Staying on the two year would require a $215 ETF per line.
     
  7. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    I am in this exact same scenario! I will be using the Apple Upgrade Plan, by doing it though Apple it has no bearing on upgrade eligibility with your carrier.

    So basically I'll start the Apple program and sell my existing iPhone on CL for way more than I paid :)
     
  8. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    Do not waste your money on ETF! I am only 1 year into my contract and bought my current 6 plus for the subsidized cost ($399). I am switching to the Apple plan and will sell my 6 plus on Craigslist!

    AT&T tried to tell me yesterday that I cannot do that and I had to school her why I can!

    Apple upgrade program is completely separate from carrier. They don't have any ties to the phone....it's being financed completely separate:). Obviously I have to finish out my contract for the service but they don't own my phone!
     
  9. xrayboy, Sep 13, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015

    xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #9
    yes, but while you are finishing out your contract don't you still have to pay $40/month per line for the duration of your contract, along with an activation fee for your new phone? I have another year until my contract is up, and the price per line with 15GB Mobile Share on Next or BYOD is $15/month. So that's $25/month I'd be saving over 12 months = $300. That more than nullifies the ETF. And the fact I can sell my current iPhone now at a good price seems to be the icing on the cake.

    Does AT&T have a waiting period after you early terminate a contract before you can sign up for Next? And do you get to keep your existing phone number(s)? This is the part that confuses me...

    Whether I switch to Next or do the Apple Upgrade Program, paying the ETF now and switching seems like a win-win to me. AT&T gets to keep me as a customer, I get to finally get off the 2 year contract thing, and I will always be able to upgrade the newest phone every September.

    If I'm thinking of this wrong, please tell me! Anyone else planning to do this?
     
  10. ultravisitor macrumors 6502

    ultravisitor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    AT&T might not let you keep your number if you buy out your contract. Verizon wouldn't let me. The rep said it was because the account would be cancelled.

    If you buy out your contract and want to keep your number, I believe you have to port it to another carrier.
     
  11. appygirl82 macrumors 6502a

    appygirl82

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    Yes I just got done talking to a AT&T rep. I have a whole year left of my contract and asked if I could switch to the Mobile Share plan. She said I could! I won't be switching yet tho because I have 5 lines and each one on the mobile share is $15 so it makes it more than I pay now.

    So I'm waiting until 2 of my lines expire and then I'll switch because it will save me money per month.

    I chose to do the Apple Upgrade plan over the Next cuz I don't want to be tied to any carrier anymore! And AT&T was playing games with me when I was trying to switch :)
     
  12. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #12
    so, I am 1 year into my contract and my 2 years is up 9/2016. At this time, AT&T is offering me an early upgrade discount to the new iPhone 6S at $250 over subsidized pricing, but I have to re-up my 2 year contract. I don't want to keep renewing these 2 year contracts, and paying $40/month for my 15GB Mobile Share.

    What happens if I offer to pay the ETF now? Will they just switch me to a month to month agreement and lower my fee per line to $15/month? If so, over the next 12 months that would more than cover the cost of the ETF. Even if I kept my current phone, this would make sense if that is how they operate. But switching to Next for a new iPhone 6S would further benefit both me and AT&T, because they would retain me as a customer after I terminated my contract, and I would get to start using the new phone immediately instead of waiting until next April when they say I am eligible to switch to Next.

    If the account is completely cancelled and I lose my phone number, I would obviously reconsider this.
     
  13. capitanbuzo macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    #13
    You can sell your phone whenever if you go the Apple payment route.
     
  14. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #14
    Of course you can keep the phone with financing, you just pay it off.
     
  15. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #15
    here is what I've decided to do:

    AT&T confirms that I can pay the early termination fee ($205 for me) and immediately be eligible for off contract monthly pricing. I can either get Next, do Apple Upgrade Program, or BYOD.

    I can sell my current iPhone for about $350-400, so that more than covers the cost of the ETF, and I will save another $300 over the next 12 months by not paying $40/line (will drop to $15/line).

    will buy a new 6S 128GB for full price of $849. In a year, when I want to upgrade, turn around and sell that phone for about $400 or more.

    To me, the only advantage of Next or Apple Upgrade is if you can't afford the full price up front.
    If you can afford to pay full price up front, you might as well because you can re-sell your phone again, which you couldn't do with Next at 12 months unless you paid off the full 20 installments.

    I'm also leaning toward buying phone for full price because they are still delivering on 9/25 and the reservations for in-store are booked up.
     
  16. netnothing macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #16
    I just did this with our two iPhone 6's. Paid the ETF for each ($215). Will sell them for $370 each.

    The minute I paid the bill and ETF fees, my account became eligible and I was switched to month-to-month at the lower $25 rate.

    -Kevin
     
  17. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #17
    Remember that on the AT&T Share plans, AT&T gives a $15 or $25 month DISCOUNT on the service, per line, for any phone that is not on a 2-year contract. On Share plans that are 10GB+, this usually makes the total two-year cost of an installment plan ~$150 cheaper than subsidized plans, plus you don't have to pay $199+ up-front to get a new phone (like you do with subsidized plans).

    Also remember that with the installment plans, you always get to keep the phone. Always. There is nothing in the installment plan that requires you to return the phone. They're simply 0% APR finance contracts.

    If you want to upgrade before you've paid off the installment plan, these plans have one option where turning in your old phone pays off the installment plan (and makes you eligible to upgrade), but that's simply one option. You can always pay off the installment plan (like you would any other bill where you owe money), keep the old phone, and then be eligible to upgrade and start a new installment plan.
     
  18. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #18
    what is the actual turn-in process for AT&T Next? Do you bring your phone to a local store, mail it in, or both? How easy is that process? Seems like it would be easier to just buy the phone full price up front, then keep ordering full price phones from Apple for launch day delivery, swap SIMS, and sell the old phone. Never have to go into a store doing it that way.
     
  19. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #19
    When I looked at upgrading my Next phone, they offered to ship a pre-paid box for me to mail it back in.

    Where I live, iPhone resale values on Craigslist suck. You're lucky to get $299 for a $649 iPhone. $275 is more normal. The convenience of AT&T buying it back for $260 isn't worth the hassle of trying to sell it around here.
     
  20. kazmac macrumors 601

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    in a Shaw Brothers wu xia
    #20

    I cannot answer the Credit Score question, but if you pay the ETF and reinstate an installment plan within a few days, you should be able to keep your number. I would suggest you call AT&T and ask them the exact amount of time you have to reinstate under an installment plan.

    As far waiting, yeah, you'll probably have to wait because once you rejoin. AT&T may give you a variety of dates saying when you can upgrade (start the NEXT plan.) I was told three different dates (initially, one week (9/8/15), when I checked my online account on 5th it said 10/28/2015 even though I paid the ETF and terminated my contract (which ended in late October 2016.) The phone rep told me she could see if they could get an upgrade date sooner than 10/28, but ultimately said late September. YMMV. As for me, I'm gone. Waiting to pay off my final bill and sell the iPhone 6.

    I wish you the best of luck OP.
     
  21. netnothing macrumors 68040

    netnothing

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    NH
    #21

    1. No, the ETF is not a penalty....just a way of completing a contract. From this page:
    http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB64922&cv=820
    2. Just did this and I believe the only period of time is you have to actually pay the ETF and any outstanding bill. I did the ETF via AT&T chat....the agent processed the ETF. It showed online in my balance. He waited while I paid the bill via CC. Once paid the account immediatley was switched to month-to-month and I was eligible for Next. Process took about 10 minutes.

    3. Yes. Doesn't do anything to your account UNLESS you are requesting it to be terminated. If you wanted to cancel your account....you'd have to pay the ETF. But if all you want is to be out of the contract.....pay the ETF and you're done. The phone is yours and you can switch to Next or anything else. NOTE, I believe this is different on Verizon. With Verizon, any ETF cancels your service and you lose your number. Best to find out for sure before doing it on Verizon.

    -Kevin
     
  22. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #22
    this is crazy. was chatting with AT&T and they said paying ETF is only for cancelling a line or unlocking a phone. was told it does not change phone eligibility. They are trying to tell me even if I pay the ETF I can't get a new phone until my contract date is up! Tell me this is misinformation??!?!?
     
  23. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #23
    now they are telling me that paying the ETF will simply revert my plan to a BYOP plan. I can buy a new phone at full price but I can't switch to NEXT until my original eligibility date. This sounds sketchy!
     
  24. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #24
    After much discussion, it sounds like paying the ETF does not change your AT&T Next Eligibility Date. I will be paying the ETF because it will save me $300 over the next 12 months on line fees ($15/month instead of $40/month). I will then buy a new phone at full price. Ultimately, this is probably the best option anyways because I can resell the phone later.

    Beware everyone, paying an ETF to get off contract does not necessarily let you purchase a phone on Next immediately!
     
  25. xrayboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    #25
    here is an excerpt from my chat transcript:

    "Since your line xxx-xxx-xxxx is under 2-year contract, if you will pay off the remaining contract, your line will not be eligible for upgrade (AT&T next / standard ). The pay to upgrade option is available only for the line with existing AT&Tnext or installment plan and it is not applicable for the line with 2-year contract. I understand you want to get the new iPhone. Our goal is to provide the best experience possible with your device and your service. While you don't quality for a discount on equipment at this time, you are able to purchase a device of your choosing, without extending your service agreement. Purchasing a device outright today will not impact discounts available in the future."
     

Share This Page