When the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were released in 2014, your ordering options were simple: shell out $199 or more with a two-year mobile contract…done! All that has changed. You can now lease an unlocked iPhone as part of a monthly carrier installment plan, which leads to ownership, or buy it outright, again unlocked. In the end, the actual iPhone 6S is the same no matter where you buy it, and although the prices may vary some (perhaps much more come Black Friday), the carrier performance can be drastically different depending on your location.
Here’s a guide to your options for ordering or trading in a new iPhone 6S through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Or you can take advantage of Apple’s new monthly financing programs and choose your carrier while upgrading almost at will. (Bookmark this iPhone 6S Buying Guide for more updates of options as they develop.)
AT&T Next 18 phone plan lets consumers pay off iPhones with monthly financing (24 months total). Customers can upgrade to new iPhones for free every 12 months (requires a trade-in of current iPhone on contract). AT&T also offers other options that allow device replacement and currently have trade-in credits of up to $300. Or, if switching from competitive carriers, you may be eligible for credits of up to $500. Next 18 costs $27 per month for the new 16GB iPhone 6S and $55 per month for average costs of unlimited talk/text and 2GB of data. The 24-month total cost will set you back $1,970.
AT&T DEALS: Get up to $50 in Cash Back from FatWallet
Sprint iPhone Forever is a 22-month lease program. You pay only $15 per month for a new 16 GB iPhone 6S with trade-in of your old smartphone or $22 per month if you don’t have a trade-in. Final cost of the lease is $330 with a trade-in or $484 without trade-in. Any additional cost to purchase the phone after the lease agreement is unknown at this time. Average costs for unlimited talk/text and 1GB of data will cost you $45 per month. The 22-month total cost will set you back $1,410 with the initial trade-in or $1,564 without trade-in.
Sprint’s $15 DEAL: Get up to $125 in Cash Back from Fatwallet
T-Mobile Jump On Demand is an 18-month lease program. It costs $20 per month to lease a new 16 GB iPhone 6s. That’s a total of $360 at the end of the program. After 18 months, you can turn in the phone and pay nothing more or pay an extra $164 and buy the smartphone outright for a total price of $524. That’s below Apple’s retail cost of about $650. Average costs for unlimited talk/text and 1GB of data will cost you $50 per month, making the 18-month total cost $1,560 to lease or $1,724 to own the phone. T-Mobile is also offering floating values for trade-ins.
T-Mobile DEALS: Get up to $37.50 in Cash Back from FatWallet
Like AT&T, Verizon offers an installment purchase plan on a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $27 per month for 24 months, after which you own the phone. Verizon is also currently offering up to $400 on trade-ins. Average costs for unlimited talk/text and 1GB of data will cost you $50 per month, bringing a total 24-month investment of $1,848. TIP: You should be able to bargain for 2GB of data for the price of 1GB if you make your purchase on a call versus online or in-store.
Verizon DEALS: Get up to $37.50 in Cash Back form FatWallet
For the first time in its history, Apple is offering direct monthly installments from the Apple Store (no-interest contracts are financed through Citizens One). Customers have two choices:
- A general installment plan for the 16GB iPhone 6s for $27 per month, and after 24 months ($648), you own the phone
- A new Apple iPhone Upgrade Program where customers can pay $32.41 per month, which includes the AppleCare+ extended warranty service (customer care and phone replacement). You can then exchange the iPhone at the end of 12 months for a new model by restarting the 24-month contract (final phone cost of $778 after 24 months).
The best part here is that now when you buy an iPhone through Apple, it comes UNLOCKED, allowing you to shop for the mobile carrier of choice.
In conclusion: Apple seems to have thought this out well. Having the peace of mind to be able to upgrade to a the newest iPhone every 12 months, replace it or trouble shoot technical issues with customer service for free, and move around to the mobile carrier that has the best signal or best deal may be worth a few extra bucks.
That said, Apple does not participate in offering Cash Back through FatWallet, and cash back can add considerable savings when your purchasing a big ticket item like cell phone deals (get up to $125 in cash back) and accessories.
The new FatWallet Express is the “easy button” for online shoppers to assure cash back on every purchase online, and FatWallet Cash Back Shopping App for the same savings opportunities on their mobile devices.