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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    Okay, I am trying to wrap my head around the new mobile share plans. For some reason, I am just "not getting it".

    I have a 10GB mobile share plan with 5 lines (5 iPhones). One line (mine) wants to upgrade regularly (ideally yearly) . Another (my wives) wants to do it about every two years. The other three are less concerned, and would probably do it every two years or so depending on cost. In reality, ALL four of the other lines might be interested in upgrading more frequently except for the cost.

    So our current plan is $120 per month, plus $30 for each line. I get a 20% discount on the $120, so the total is $246 per month, with two-year agreements for each phone. Phones are eligible for upgrading every two years at a discounted price. I am not including the actual cost of the subsidized phone because I can usually sell my current phone for the price of a new subsidized phone.

    If we switch to the new mobile share, at $100 per month, with a $40 charge for a 2-year agreement, the total (including the discount) would be $280 per month. Not a better deal.

    But I am trying to figure out this "NEXT" option. With the "NEXT" option, you pay a monthly fee, PLUS 1/20 of the unsubsidized cost of the phone for each line, correct? So the total cost would be $100 (for the 10GB), $15 per line ($75 total), 20% discount, so $155 plus whatever phone charges per line are. So if the monthly charges for the phones are less than $90, then we would be saving money.

    Some questions:
    1) With NEXT, if we upgrade after 1 year, do we send out existing phone back to AT&T? What if we wait 2 years between upgrades? Is the phone "ours" then? (And we could sell it if we like)
    2) Can we pass along "old" NEXT phones after 1 year to another line, and they will continue to pay the 1/20 of the cost? Or can we pass it along after 2 years for free?
    3) If someone is on NEXT, and they are eligible for an upgrade, can they upgrade, keep the same phone, and pass the new phone to a new line (sort of line letting another line use the upgrade?)

    Quickly doing some math, it doesn't appear to be a better plan. 1/20 of the cheapest iPhone (16GB 4) is $22. Even if all 5 of us did that, that comes to $88, so we would be paying the same, with the only benefit being that every year we get to upgrade to a 2-year old iPhone model. If we start to go for never models (say the 16GB iPhone 5C) it would add 1/20 of $28 per line, or $140 for all of us. Certainly not cheaper, and not really that beneficial since we are all getting the cheapest model of the newest iPhone. We are just paying for the "option" to upgrade each year.

    Is there a scenario that someone can envision that would allow me to upgrade my line each year, my wife to upgrade every other year, and the other three lines to upgrade every two or three years that is CHEAPER than our current plan? I can't see one, but that may be because I am getting confused with the numbers.

    If we use NEXT, and can keep the phone after two years (and sell it) that might be a factor in changing the price estimates.

  2. #2  
    iHackPro's Avatar
    iMore Intermediate

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    Default Re: Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    I'm trying to figure them out as well. I currently have 4 lines (3 iPhones and a feature phone) with 6GB family share. I believe I'm getting it wrong as well, but this is what I make of it.

    It's cheaper before you add Next, but after Next, it's just about the same, or maybe even more.

    1) Yes, you are essentially renting the phone I believe. You have to send them the phone back in good, working condition before you get your new one. After you've paid off the balance of the phone, I do believe you own it then.

    2) I believe so, just a simple SIM swap I'd think.

    3) Just like number two, I believe it'd be a SIM swap.

    Regardless though, I'm thinking of switching to T-Mobile. The service seems to be good in my area, contrary to what I thought before. Even when adding the price of the phones monthly, it's about twenty dollars cheaper than AT&T for us.
  3. #3  
    kgvickers's Avatar
    iMore Beginner

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    Default Re: Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    The $40 only applies for subsidized priced phones purchased after 2 Feb. If you got the phone prior to that then it's the standard $15 per month.

    So, assuming you get 10 gig of data, that's $100x0.82 (your discount) = $82 + 5x$15 ($75) = $157. Add maybe 20% for taxes and misc charges and you're around $188 per month.

    I called three (3!) different times and spoke to three different AT&T "customer care reps" to be sure I was getting the same story. I get a 25% discount on the data so with five lines I'm expecting my bill to be around $180 per month.

    The Next vs. subsidized pricing thing is very, very confusing. "Next" allows you to upgrade often but you've got to trade in the old phone if you've not paid it off. And you're paying full retail for the phone over 20 essentially interest-free payments (IIRC). Going the "subsidized" route, you get a reduced price up front but then you've got to pay an EXTRA $25 each month on that phone for two full years (thus the $40 confusion . . . $15 + $25 = $40). What I don't know is where the standard $36 upgrade fee fits in here.

    If you like to upgrade often, I think the best thing money-wise is to pick up a slightly used phone on craigslist. Yes, I know it's a hassle and you've GOT TO VERIFY that the IMEI is not blocked, etc, but that's the best deal. Swap the SIM card and you're good to go. AT&T does NOT hit you with a $36 upgrade fee if you do that.
    Last edited by kgvickers; 02-05-2014 at 12:52 PM.
  4. #4  
    Arktos's Avatar
    iMore Newbie

    13 Posts

    Default Re: Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    Guys, this Next thing is really easy to understand if you approach it psychologically.

    AT&T sells service.
    Apple sells the iPhone.
    Service for 4 lines with UL T/T and 10GB of data is $160.


    If you ask the carrier to finance 4 iPhones for you (over $2500 worth of iPhone) they will have to go ahead and ask that you pay them back.

    "But my free upgrade..."

    Was never free. You thought it was, but it wasn't. You really think the carriers stay in business by giving you $600 phones for free? Come on now. That cost was recouped somewhere in the bill, you just didn't get to see where. And now you do.

    Hope this helps!
  5. #5  
    David Harris12's Avatar
    iMore Newbie

    10 Posts

    Default Re: Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    So is the next plan that I am on cheaper
  6. #6  
    nancybout's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help wrapping my head around the new plans.

    I had a phone on contract it wa 40$ month
    Plus the down payment
    The next plan is whatever you buy say u buy a phone that's 15$ a month
    Plus 15$ for the line
    That's 30$ so it's 10$ cheaper and u can upgrade sooner!
    You just have to have certain amount of payments IN (i plan on keeping my phone) but u can trade ur phone and upgrade much sooner

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