Buying a cell phone is quite fun, at least the experience that most people have is fun. You go around to a few stores, check out the new ones, then either walk out of the store spending next to nothing on a shiny new device – or you pop online and spend less on it. Either way, with 24 hours, you go from a dull, battery drained paperweight to a new, speedy, gorgeous handset that you can’t wait to show your friends. What most people don’t think about though, is how much that phone really cost – even if it was free,
Currently, if you are willing to compromise a bit on specs, you can get a steal on a phone and a killer deal on monthly service – regardless of the carrier you use right now. This isn’t that MVNO sell up, but the actual carrier themselves.
Verizon Wireless sent shockwaves earlier this month running out their version of the Google Moto G for $99.99 without contract. Their monthly service includes unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data for $60 or 4GB of data for $70. The only drawback to their month to month deal, there’s no LTE available. If you would rather grab the kids a iPhone for that great prepaid package, the iPhone 4 is available in a black, 8GB model for only $99.99 as well. The cost of using the Moto G for two years on the 2GB plan is a $1539.99. This works out to be about half off Verizon’s regular contract pricing.
AT&T matches Verizon’s volley with the AT&T Z998 that uses their $60 GoPhone plan for unlimited talk, text and 2GB of LTE data. The Z998 is a decent Android handset that will set users back about the same as a mid to upper range smartphone on contract. The $159 price is a bargain for not having to ink that 2 year deal. The 2 year cost on this deal is $1599, which is nearly half the price of AT&T’s service with that “FREE” phone.
Don’t be left out with the new T-Mobile Simple Choice plan’s either. They are still subject to all those taxes and fees that can add 20% to your bill in a blink. But moving to their Monthly 4G plans, you can purchase refills online and pay no taxes at all. This makes the unlimited plan $70 a month. Where T-Mobile gets you is that they no longer offer ‘discounted’ handsets. This makes it hard to grab a device with more than entry level specs and still save money. That said, grabbing a Nokia Lumia 521 for under $100 and the $70 a month unlimited plan would be a good move for many. An unlocked Moto G from Google directly will only set users back $179 as well. With the Moto G and two years of unlimited service, users are only going to be set back $1859.99 – or about 20% less than T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan.
Any way you look at it, paying full price, or discounted prepaid prices for your next phone will save you substantially over the standard carrier rates. In many cases you will save almost half or more off your bill when you pay up front for your next device. Make sure you shop all the options before renewing that contract or paying $600 plus for that new phone, because the cash you keep.