If there is one thing that drives a cell bill up faster than anything else today, it’s those pesky “phone payments” that don’t seem like much, until you see that it’s almost as much as that discounted rate that you signed up for. The bad part, nobody on any of the four major carriers is exempt from this. In fact, most people don’t even realize how bad it is, until it smacks them in the face. Bill shock used to come from overages, now, it comes from those “free” devices that you walked out the door with on day one. A quick rundown of service plans from the big four has a family of four staring at totals like this:
T-Mobile – $140 (four lines of service) + $120 (4 Galaxy S8 phones) = $260
Verizon – $180 (four lines of service) + $126 (4 Galaxy S8 phones) = $306 + taxes
Sprint – $90 (four lines of service) + $125 (4 Galaxy S8 phones) = $215 + taxes
AT&T – $185 (four lines of service) + $100 (4 Galaxy S8 phones) = $285 + taxes
Now, even though we NEVER recommend ‘leasing’ a device, there could be a strong case made for doing that right now on Sprint. Currently, they are offering two stellar deals, one lease and one purchase. The Galaxy S8 series has the smaller S8 for $15.63 or the S8+ for 19.80 a month. Of course to completely one up this deal, you can still purchase the HTC 10 for just $240, or $10 a month on payments and keep the phone when you are done paying it off. This makes that same family plan that is $215 only cost $130 plus taxes (or about $150 total!) Of course, T-Mobile also has a deal on the S8’s right now, which is virtually a buy one, get one free deal. Using this promotional pricing, you can lower that bill to $200 and still walk away with the two phones after two years of payments on the first two and using the rebate cards to pay off the second two. Still, it’s remarkable that the carriers have managed to return their rates to their former $300 glory for a family of 4 without much notice from consumers. Of course, there’s the option of dropping $3000 on your way out of the store to ditch those additional payments, but who wants to do that?
Welcome to the realm of the mid-range device. A mid-range phone usually as a set of features that will make a phone plenty useable, without having those over the top expenses that will drive the cost up so high that the average person needs to make payments on it instead of paying cash. Getting to know mid and low range devices can be hard, but thanks to Motorola, it’s not nearly as hard as one might think. Motorola turned the industry on its ear when they brought out a few lines of devices, most notably, the E and G series. What started out as a sub $100 ‘starter’ phone for the carriers has turned into a sub $150 powerhouse of unlocked potential. The Moto E4 and E4+ are here to make you question your sanity over buying a flagship device. If the $229 Moto G series was a bit out of range for the family, the E is here to save the day. By trimming the onboard memory and the display quality, this sub $130 offering should be perfect for connecting the entire family for less than one of the competitors newest designs. It is also fully compatible with each network in the US, which means budget hopping users will be able to take it anywhere they like for use on any network they choose. MVNO’s like FreedomPop, Tello, Total Wireless and more are all available to your Moto E4.
If you need a bit more pop than that, but still need to watch that budget, the E4+ could be the device for you. For an expected market price under $180, the Moto E4+ is quite a stellar package. Jumping up to meet the G5+ screen size at 5.5”, the E4+ is the bridge that blurs the line between “low end” and “amazingly functional” in most performance areas. The 13MP rear camera shoots through an f/2.0 aperture to shoot amazing detail, even in low light. It also features an immensely large 5000 mAh battery to keep things powered up for days, not hours. It, like it’s smaller sibling is also unlocked for use on any US carrier or MVNO as well. Motorola is definitely doing things right in the new E series devices.
While it may seem like your new carrier deals are saving you huge money, they are still getting it from you as they are no longer giving you that $800 phone for a huge discount. In fact, you may notice that your unlimited bill that you have today really resembles that unlimited bill you had before all those data caps and increases began to hit a few years back. The real way to save is to escape those two year contracts, whether they are on the service or the devices and begin to look at what’s important to you in your device. There is always going to be something ‘better’ that comes along, but if your device does what you need it to, there’s no sense in upgrading instead of saving.
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