AT&T Rolls Out Cheaper Smartphone Plans

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AT&TT -0.30% is now offering cheaper monthly service if you buy or bring your own smartphones — another sign of the pressure on prices brought by a newly competitive T-MobileTMUS -0.90%.The new “Mobile Share Value” plans roll out this weekend and don’t require a contract. You can also get them once you come to the end of your two-year contract. In addition, the price of bigger data buckets have been cut.The new plans seem to have two purposes: wean subscribers off of subsidies that can run higher than $400 for the iPhone and sap carriers’ profits every time there’s a new upgrade cycle, and fight off competition from T-Mobile, whose cheaper rates have been a draw for AT&T customers coming off contract.AT&T had already experimented with backing subscribers off subsidies with its AT&T Next plan, which broke the cost of the phone up into monthly installments and allowed for more frequent upgrades. But it was criticized for effectively double charging subscribers. The monthly rates were the same as for its subsidized plans — rates that are higher because they include an embedded cost for subsidizing the phone.T-Mobile ditched service plans earlier this year and requires people to pay full price for their phone–a base model iPhone retails for $650–with the option of an interest free installment plan. T-Mobile also lets subscribers bring their own devices, and many of those customers are likely coming from AT&T, because the companies use similar network technology.Under a traditional contract plan, you buy a smartphone at a subsidized price, say $200 for the latest iPhone, and can upgrade it every two years. The carrier pays the rest of the cost of the phone. The cost of that subsidy is broken up over two years and bundled into the fee subscribers pay for monthly service.The rub is that the bundled subsidy charge doesn’t go away once the subsidy is paid off. Your monthly bills are the same, so people who don’t upgrade their phones are essentially overpaying for their service once they have paid off the phone.This was a major marketing point from T-Mobile, which argued that traditional carriers are forcing people into contracts and making them overpay. The new AT&T plans cut the monthly price by $15 for people who have their own phone, compared to people signing a contract.Under AT&T’s Mobile Share service plans, customers pay for a bucket of data and then pay a separate fee for each device attached to that bucket. The price of adding a smartphone previously depended on the amount of data you bought. Now, the cost of adding a smartphone is flat: $40 a month if you take a subsidy and sign a contract, or $25 a month if you cover the cost of your own phone. Data costs are higher for some buckets, 2 gigabytes now cost $55 a month instead of $50, but lower for larger ones like the 10 gigabyte bucket, whose monthly price falls to $100 from $120.T-Mobile added 648,000 of the most valuable wireless subscribers in the third quarter, its second quarter of adding customers after years of losses. AT&T added just 363,000 in the latest quarter, and less lucrative tablets accounted for all of them. 

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Big fail for AT&T. Not surprised here.

For 1 phone the cost before tax is $70/month for the cheapest 300MB plan. For $25/month less, you can get >2GB on the AT&T network with StraightTalk, including LTE service. Move over to Ptel Mobile and get unlimited everything for $35/month (albeit slow internet speed for this plan), which runs on the TMobile network, compatible with AT&T phones w/o a jailbreak.

Its not cheaper. I have already ran the number for our business and using our usage model we get less over all data for the same price. Too bad it's not really an option for us to go prepaid for business (roaming requirement, nationwide company).
Danfromfla said:   Big fail for AT&T. Not surprised here.

For 1 phone the cost before tax is $70/month for the cheapest 300MB plan. For $25/month less, you can get >2GB on the AT&T network with StraightTalk, including LTE service. Move over to Ptel Mobile and get unlimited everything for $35/month (albeit slow internet speed for this plan), which runs on the TMobile network, compatible with AT&T phones w/o a jailbreak.

  Even less if you shop around. Got a years worth of Straight Talk on Amazon for $439.99 ($36.67/mo).

I've seen tons of posts about this on different sites and no one can find how this is "cheaper" then other alternatives. Guess att is hoping no one does the math.

In some cases, it does work out to be cheaper, others not so much.

For me for instance, I was on the older share everything plan with 4 total phones, three smart and one basic. I was paying $225 before taxes and fees with 6GB of shared data. On the new Mobile Share Value plan, I am now paying $205 for a monthly savings of $20.

The new value plan drops the 6GB data cost by $10, raises the cost of my in-contract smart phones from $35 to $40, drops the cost of an out of contract smart phone from $35 to $25 and drops the cost of a basic phone from $30 to $20.

You need to run your own numbers to see where you are at, but for me it represented a sizable savings and brings me down to $205/month (actually $188 after my FAN discount - $47.05 per phone), before taxes and fees. I'm very comfortable with that pricing considering the only MNVO I would consider is StraightTalk at $45 before taxes. I can live with $2.05 extra per phone to have the option of a subsidized upgrade and full speed data.

Still moving to Straight Talk after my AT&T 2 year contract ends.

YingTK said:   Still moving to Straight Talk after my AT&T 2 year contract ends.
  I'm debating the same thing, but thinking about actually just paying the ETF since I will save $$ over time.

In comparing to ST or even AIO from ATT one also need to figure in taxes and FAN discount (if you can get it) - so one question is will there be taxes on this? I think so but not 100% sure.

For e.g. I moved to AIO 2GB for one phone and 300MB for other phone and thats total of $100 per month.The closest in Mobile share value is 2GB (shared) which would be $55+50 +taxes which would be $110-115 per month. Also those who have the FAN discount possibility (which I have), I think one will get discount on the monthly charge only. So in my case the FAN discount will be same as the tax (15% of the $55) so its $100 for AIO vs 105 for ATT vs. @$80 for ST - I will get higher tier network connection priority with this and have to pay $5 to $20 for that priority? AT&T. Network connection priority is: AT&T own>AT&T Go phone>AT&T MVNO (AIO/ST etc.

Am I doing this analysis right?



 

mailvips said:   In comparing to ST or even AIO from ATT one also need to figure in taxes and FAN discount (if you can get it) - so one question is will there be taxes on this? I think so but not 100% sure.

For e.g. I moved to AIO 2GB for one phone and 300MB for other phone and thats total of $100 per month.The closest in Mobile share value is 2GB (shared) which would be $55+50 +taxes which would be $110-115 per month. Also those who have the FAN discount possibility (which I have), I think one will get discount on the monthly charge only. So in my case the FAN discount will be same as the tax (15% of the $55) so its $100 for AIO vs 105 for ATT vs. @$80 for ST - I will get higher tier network connection priority with this and have to pay $5 to $20 for that priority? AT&T. Network connection priority is: AT&T own>AT&T Go phone>AT&T MVNO (AIO/ST etc.

Am I doing this analysis right?



 

  
No.  Let me explain why.

Your model assumes you have devices which you would bring to AIO or to ST.

If you sign a contract with ATT, you can use your existing device, buy and resell the subsidized devices.  Let's say you do it before the holidays - you can probably buy 2x iPhone 5S 16GB for $125.  You can flip them on eBay for $600-$650. After fees, you'll probably clear at least $375 per device.  $375 x 2 = $750 profit.

$750/24 months = $31.25 you can deduct from your ATT bill.  So your $105 for ATT is more like $105-$31.35 = $73.65 per month.

People keep failing to account for the cycle of phone purchasing in making these decisions.

Everyone rants "I'm paying x per month on ATT/Verizon/Sprint and I could be paying $45 on ST etc".  They forget what device they prefer and how close they are to replacing that device.  If you can get 3-4 years out of your smartphone, then prepaid may make sense.

But if you are on a family plan, or if you plan on selling your device after 2 years and can keep it in reasonable condition, post paid almost always makes sense for AT&T and Sprint, and will soon do so for Verizon as they can't keep pricing in the stratosphere as carriers move to VoLTE and Sprint/T-Mobile's networks start to become more competent.

 

when you call them (customer support of att) to stop the service or early termination, all of a sudden they will start offering you many offers, including minimum $25 credit in many cases and up to $200 in few cases and once of my friend was able to get early upgrade ~8 months (without any thing paying extra $$) early without any hassle, and if you want to stay with att it is worth trying; YMMV!

YingTK said:   Still moving to Straight Talk after my AT&T 2 year contract ends.
  
Our family moved from Verizon to Republic Wireless and saving a fortune ... we'll never go back

Hmm, I may actually be able to consider AT&T with this plan if they can provide better coverage than T-Mobile. The cheapest plan is only $2.5 higher per month+taxes with no contract requirement. T-Mobile gives a bit more data with free tethering but has not been very helpful on the coverage issue. I will have to wait for my current contract to expire. If T-Mobile cannot fix my coverage in 6 months then I may switch. That is of course assuming AT&T would provide better coverage...Price is important but it's not worth sacrificing coverage for.

Red for WOT. Use some paragraphs.

zapjb said:   Red for WOT. Use some paragraphs.
The cost of those is still high, OP is trying to save money. 

Danfromfla said:   Big fail for AT&T. Not surprised here.

For 1 phone the cost before tax is $70/month for the cheapest 300MB plan. For $25/month less, you can get >2GB on the AT&T network with StraightTalk, including LTE service. Move over to Ptel Mobile and get unlimited everything for $35/month (albeit slow internet speed for this plan), which runs on the TMobile network, compatible with AT&T phones w/o a jailbreak.

  
Thank you. just ordered Straight Talk sim with unlimited plan

Psst.. H20 Wireless is $30 per month for unlimited talk, text/mms + 500MB Data.
It uses AT&T coverage

I saw a 7$/mo. Tracfone ad on TV..

I like ATT. Especially when traveling. I have 3 Iphone 5's I got last November and one slider on my plan. I pay 199 per month including fees etc. I get a discount of 25% through employer. I get 2 gb data and 700 minutes. I never seem to go over even though we surf and call a ton. Works out to ~45 per iphone and 30 for slider. Then add in tons of fees. Not sure if this new plan would help me. I upgrade every 2 years. Will probably upgrade to new handset next November.



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