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AT&T now offers discounted monthly service for contract-free data sharing customers

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wireless customers who bring their own device, buy a handset without a subsidy, or have their current contract expire will see their monthly data share bill drop by an average of $15 per month, AT&T announced on Thursday.

AT&T


The changes are part of the carrier's new "Mobile Share Value" plans, which will be available starting Sunday. They also apply to customers who finance new smartphone purchases through AT&T's Next plan.

However, any customers looking to take advantage of the new discounted rates must subscribe to one of AT&T's Mobile Share plans, which offer shared data among a group of subscribers, as well as unlimited talk and text. Mobile Share plans support up to 10 devices for consumers, while businesses have options for up to 25 devices.

Previously, the same monthly rates applied to all AT&T customers, whether they were under contract or not, and whether they had subsidized the purchase of a smartphone like Apple's iPhone or not. The new plan represents a more fair option for customers who choose to pay for their own handset, or stick with a legacy device.

AT&T


A 16-gigabyte iPhone 5s sells through carriers such as AT&T with a two-year service contract for $199, but an unsubsidized and unlocked version of the same phone sells at full retail for $649. Carriers will subsidize that additional cost in exchange for customers signing a 24-month contract, allowing the company to recoup the costs.

In addition, AT&T announced on Thursday that a new Next plan offers an 18-month upgrade option. Also available Sunday, it offers lower monthly payments than the existing AT&T Next option, spreading those payments over 26 months and giving eligible customers a way to get a new smartphone after 18 monthly payments with no down payment, no upgrade fee, no activation fee and no financing fee.

"With our new Mobile Share Value Plans, customers don't have to compromise," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. "Our new no contract option lets customers add a smartphone to the nation's fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network at a lower monthly cost. Customers want great value and a premium network - and now they can save more and get unlimited talk, text and data to share."

The move by AT&T follows smaller carrier T-Mobile, which switched to contract-free plans with unsubsidized phones as part of the company's so-called "Uncarrier" initiative earlier this year. But both the iPhone and iPad debuted on T-Mobile's network earlier this year, while AT&T has carried both devices since their respective launches. Most iPhone users in the U.S. are customers of AT&T, which is the second-largest wireless provider in America.
post #2 of 24
A no contract plan is the way to go. Especially if you use minimal minutes and data. After my 4S contract expired I went with the Go Phone plan, my monthly bill was $67 and now it is $41. I will most likely sell this phone when the iPhone 6 is released and buy it outright. Those contracts may make it easy to get a new phone but it actually saves you money going without the contract.
post #3 of 24
It should drop by $19. That's about how much of your bill is going to pay off your phone.
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

It should drop by $19. That's about how much of your bill is going to pay off your phone.

Right. Headline should read "AT&T is hoping you don't know math"

15 x 24 = $360 + $200 phone = $560
$650 - $200 = $450 / 24 = $18.75

If you're stuck with AT&T or prefer them- still smarter to subsidize every two years barely, but this is a step in the right direction.

Also- I'm curious how many "fees and taxes" are reduced with a bill $15 less per phone. So that $15 number will be a tiny bit higher.



If I were an AT&T shareholder though, I might not like this. I figured they'd make a ton on the unsubsidized folks with the current plan

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #5 of 24
This right here is why the government was correct in not allowing the T-Mobile buyout by AT&T. This is all happening because of T-Mobile's move to break the cost of the phone out of the cost of the service. Competition is a good thing for consumers. Allowing mega mergers isn't.
post #6 of 24

Still a ripoff.  If you live in a city that has T-mobile LTE its a steal.  I get unlimited everything with no throttling even after 50GB(thats the most I used for a month).  For two users its $120 per month (with unlocked phone).  It also includes 2.5 GB of hot spot use per user.  So I could also cancel my 3 GB iPad plan.  To get the same usage from AT&T would cost over $250 with unlocked phones

post #7 of 24
Quote:"The move by AT&T follows smaller carrier T-Mobile..."

Yes, the three largest cellular providers are marching in such lock-step, market changes are driven by #4 T-Mobile. Yeah, T-Mobile!

Apple is also working quietly to introduce more competition. Depending on the country & model, some of the latest iPhones let you switch to a wider array of providers. Unlocked, the A1533, for instance, will work with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Details here:

http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

We're not quite to a World Phone that'd work with any cellular carrier on the planet, but we're getting closer.

--Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


Right. Headline should read "AT&T is hoping you don't know math"

15 x 24 = $360 + $200 phone = $560
$650 - $200 = $450 / 24 = $18.75

If you're stuck with AT&T or prefer them- still smarter to subsidize every two years barely, but this is a step in the right direction.

Also- I'm curious how many "fees and taxes" are reduced with a bill $15 less per phone. So that $15 number will be a tiny bit higher.



If I were an AT&T shareholder though, I might not like this. I figured they'd make a ton on the unsubsidized folks with the current plan

I  think the move is a direct response to competition from the likes of T Mobile who already offer some form of this "discount". With this move ATT and their shareholders may see the wisdom of stanching subscriber flows to more affordable networks.

For your sake, I hope you're right.
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For your sake, I hope you're right.
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post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Right. Headline should read "AT&T is hoping you don't know math"

15 x 24 = $360 + $200 phone = $560
$650 - $200 = $450 / 24 = $18.75

If you're stuck with AT&T or prefer them- still smarter to subsidize every two years barely, but this is a step in the right direction.

This leans in favour of subsidization even more when you consider that you don't need to wait a full 24 months before you can re-up to a new subsidized device and keep your old one without any additional payout.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

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post #10 of 24
Meh. Move along, posted in error.

Edited by tundraboy - 12/5/13 at 8:32am
post #11 of 24
Sign me up for a Go Phone account. I'm not on a data sharing plan and don't want to be locked in to a contract.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post

This right here is why the government was correct in not allowing the T-Mobile buyout by AT&T. This is all happening because of T-Mobile's move to break the cost of the phone out of the cost of the service. Competition is a good thing for consumers. Allowing mega mergers isn't.

agreed.

post #13 of 24
This is definitely a step in the right direction. I switched to T-Mobile because I liked the fact that they were more clear and upfront about costs and treated the phone and calling plan seperately. I am saving over $150/month compared to my old Verizon bill for 4 iPhones on a family plan. Plus My wife and I have unlimited data now.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


Right. Headline should read "AT&T is hoping you don't know math"

15 x 24 = $360 + $200 phone = $560
$650 - $200 = $450 / 24 = $18.75

If you're stuck with AT&T or prefer them- still smarter to subsidize every two years barely, but this is a step in the right direction.

Also- I'm curious how many "fees and taxes" are reduced with a bill $15 less per phone. So that $15 number will be a tiny bit higher.



If I were an AT&T shareholder though, I might not like this. I figured they'd make a ton on the unsubsidized folks with the current plan

 

T-Mobile broke the ice, so AT&T is likely doing this in response to compete with the lower rates.

 

As your math points out, for people buying the expensive phones, and for companies that make expensive phones, subsidies are great.

 

The people buying less expensive phones who don't need all the features have been getting ripped off.  They pay the same high carrier rates that have the subsidies built into the price.  It's been a case of the poor subsidizing the rich.

 

Now that they can get lower rates without the subsidy pricing built in, someone buying a $200 or $300 dollar phone can actually enjoy substantial savings without having to pay extra to help the carriers pay off the tabs of people buying expensive phones.

 

It is a much better system, the carriers compete just on providing you with x data at y speed for n price.  The price of a phone is now the price of a phone- a nice one will now cost more than a cheap one.

post #15 of 24

Discount? I'd pay at least $40/month more. 

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post
 

 

T-Mobile broke the ice, so AT&T is likely doing this in response to compete with the lower rates.

 

I think it's more fundamental than that. When Apple first introduced the iPhone something phenomenal and new happened: The phone manufacturer became disconnected from the wireless provider--That is, you could go to someone other than the wireless provider and get a phone that worked on that network. That was simply unheard of before that (yes, some shops existed that sold unlocked GSM phones, but virtually no wireless customer was conscious of that). This was the crack in the dike. Apple made that happen. It took much longer than I hoped, but now this disassociation is starting to benefit us all.

 

On another note: When calculating the cost to own a subsidized or non-subsidized phone, consider the residual value of your current phone at the point in time when you get a newer one. This is definitely a factor. Some of the comments I see seem to miss that.

post #17 of 24

I ordered an iPhone 5s via the Apple Store app on iPhone, signed up for their unlimited voice offering at $39.99/mo. to go along with my grandfathered unlimited data.  AT&T now claims it was an error and no such plan exists!  What a joke, they are still investigating, as is Apple.  Order was placed on launch day, still not resolved.  

 

For a large majority of customers, T-Mobile in the US is the better deal if you are on an AT&T/GSM iPhone today.

post #18 of 24

The machinations of carrier plans make my head spin.  We have an AT&T family plan with 4 iPhones, unlimited data and text.  Two are outside the contract and two are still inside.  Does this news today mean anything for me?  The monthly bill is about $260.  I was just over at T-Mobile's website and I can get a similar plan for $160.  Might be something to consider when the other two phones are out of contract.  How good is T-Mobile in the Austin area - anyone know?

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post.  How good is T-Mobile in the Austin area - anyone know?

Ok, I don't know how good it is in Austin, but here's something we tried in Dallas:

 

1. Get one of your out of contract iPhones unlocked by AT&T (go to their website and start with this link: https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/?)

2. Go to T-Mobile and get a month-to-month SIM. They have a name for the plan, but I forget it. It's either $30 or $50 a month for a nice iPhone type plan.

3. Put the SIM in your phone and go check the coverage.

 

Regarding unlocking an iPhone with AT&T: I found the unlock process fast an easy. Within 24 hours (actually much less) I got an email saying it was done. Then, you must completely wipe your phone and restore it through iTunes. During that process you will get a message box telling you the phone is unlocked. I found that I had to do a complete wipe. Simply restoring from a backup wasn't enough.

 

Good Luck.

post #20 of 24

As I calculate it and based on me being grandfathered into the old unlimited plan, the subsidized phone still saves about $90 if I keep it a full two years.

 

My average monthly bill is about $81, including taxes and fees.    So subsidized= $199 for the phone +$35 account fee + $81*24 months = $2178 over two years.

 

Unsubsidized= $649 phone + $35 account fee + (($81-$15)*24) = $2268 over two years.   It could be slightly less if there are taxes or fees associated with the $15 reduction.   

post #21 of 24

Wonder what kind off affect this could have in Apple's iPhone sales? If at the end of my two year contract my monthly bill drops by $15 if I stick with my old phone, a little less incentive to rush out and upgrade right away.

 

And...OK, Verizon, your turn. 

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post
 
Apple is also working quietly to introduce more competition. Depending on the country & model, some of the latest iPhones let you switch to a wider array of providers. Unlocked, the A1533, for instance, will work with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Details here:

http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

Sadly, that isn't the case. Buying an unlocked iPhone (or having one officially unlocked) disables the CDMA portion of the radio. They're for full-on GSM networks only. Verizon still relies on CDMA for voice calls and fallback data. 

 

The only thing that implies is it's now the same model of the iPhone for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. If you have the Verizon iPhone unlocked, it will no longer work on Verizon, since that disables the CDMA radio.

post #23 of 24
Too little, too late, AT&T. We ditched you last year once TMobile started supporting the iPhone.

I always hated being on AT&T - they support corrupt politicians to further their business goals and they have crappy service and lately have been on a roll in policies to screw over their customers (Where is HD Voice, AT&T ?!?! thought you were going to roll that out this fall)

TMobile doesn't have the best signal, but it works fine for me (LTE most places, 4G everywhere else I usually go), and combined with HDVoice and inexpensive family plans (my wife/parents don't need access to my 2GB data pool - they have their own 500MB allotments that work out fine for their light usage) combined with their uncarrier non-contract approach makes them the best choice for me.
post #24 of 24

Great news.  Amazing what competition can do to an industry -> lower prices.

 

We need the government to remove the cable company monopoly next so we get choice and lower prices there too.

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