I want to switch from ATT to TMobile. I a due an upgrade on ATT and could purchase a subsided iPhone 6 with them when it comes out, but am not sure how I would switch to TMobile at that point. What is the best route to a new iPhone 6 and TMobile?
There's two philosophies:
1) Buy the device on AT&T, get it unlocked (if it's locked - I know T-Mobile's is, and I THINK AT&T's is) from their rules [which probably means a number of months more with them), then come to T-Mobile, trade in your old device and buy a new qualifying device to get your ETF paid for.
2) Come on over when the iPhone6 comes out and you have no ETF to pay for from AT&T. You can attempt to get a credit from your current AT&T phone through trade-in or sell it on ebay for more.
If you do a hypothetical cost on these options (I'm making up numbers here because I don't know how much your AT&T bill is, how much the discounted iPhone would be on AT&T or how much MSRP on the iPhone is, nor do I know the price of the cheapest qualifying device that have to be purchased as part of the ETF deal)
Option 1: $300 iPhone + 3 months of service to get it unlocked @ $100/mo + $400 qualifying device - $200 estimated proceeds for selling qualifying device = $800
Option 2: $600 iPhone + 3 months of service to match the same timeframe @ $50/mo - $50 for selling your AT&T device = $700
Obviously the slight changes in dollar amounts can shift things from one option to another. I would wager that it would be about even once you're able to throw real numbers into it.
The one thing to think about is EIP. With Option 1, you're going to have to throw down the entire cost of the discounted iPhone at once, then possibly another amount for the qualifying device (people are less likely to buy a device if it's still on EIP). With option 2, you can throw as much as you want as a down payment on the iPhone (based on credit) and pay the remainder off monthly. Also, with Option 1, you're required to pay AT&T the ETF and T-Mobile returns the ETF to you within 8 weeks in the form of a card. So, you're going to need to have access to another <insert amount of AT&T ETF> for this.
Thanks for the info! Do you know if TMobile will be offering a discounted version of the iPhone? When I visited the Apple Store iPhone 6 page the only TMobile device available was an off contract device. No option for a subsidized phone.
T-Mobile does not offer discounted devices. Instead, they offer discounted plans. Discounted plans are better off for people who keep their phone longer than 24 months or don't buy high-end phones, which is quite a majority of people). With a "discounted phone plan", the cost of the phone is really built into the monthly plan, where you're getting taxed on that on a monthly basis after you already paid sales tax on the phone. Also, with those plans, you're continuing to pay for a phone you're not getting after a period.
Example, Samsung Galaxy Light. MSRP is $240. If it's "free with upgrade", the plan may cost $70/mo (when T-Mobile had both the discounted phone and no discounted phone plans, the no-discount plan was $20 cheaper). 24 months * $70/mo = $1680. If you pay full price for the phone and $50/mo equivalent plan, you'll pay $240 + (24 months * $50/mo) = $1440. (And, well, the GLight is even on sale right now making the 24 month range cheaper). If you do this for 30 or 36 months, the cost difference grows.
With the higher end devices, the difference isn't as much. The short is the discount has to be at least $480 ($20 plan difference * 24 month contract) in order for the discounted device & plan to be better. In T-Mobile's history of these plans, it happened with like 6 phones in total, and none of them were iDevices.
Thanks for all the info! Lots to consider!
As I said, the math above is probably what you'll have to do to figure out which is best for you.
Your credit determines what your down payment would be for the device. DO NOT run through the process more than once since each time you go through, your credit is run again and your down payment will go up since they're doing hard credit inquiries, which affect your score.
I, personally, would EXPECT a down payment of $300 for an iPhone and be pleasantly surprised if your down payment is less (as I said, it's all based on credit) and go through the process one time.
Also, unless you're doing a trade-in for ETF, I would wait to port your number until you have your phone in hand. T-Mobile tries their best to initiate ports on the day you'll get the phone, but there's a number of people where they port a day or two (or in one case week) early, leaving people without a phone from their old provider. Not only does it give you the guarantee of seamless transition, but you can try out the service for a couple days and if you don't like it, you can return everything in the 14 day remorse period without having to go through the hassle of trying to move back to AT&T and get your number back and that. There's been a handful of people who have had this experience where T-Mobile just isn't up to par in their area yet.
I have a similar question.. in regard to your answer above, where does the $400 qualifying service comes in? If I get a discounted iphone, and decided to cancel the ATT service after 2 month and switch to TMobile, in theory, I only lose the money (say $200 for the discounted phone) I paid right? I already have a Tmobile compatible phone so I don't need to get the ATT iphone unlocked, and can just sell that phone right?
In order for T-Mobile to pay your ETF, you have to first have an ETF from your old provider, secondly you need to turn in a phone from your old provider, and finally you need to purchase a qualifying device from T-Mobile.
If you do not meet all three of these, T-Mobile will not reimburse you an ETF. In some cases, not reimbursing an ETF may be a better deal.
Ah, thanks so much! I thought you didn't need to turn in your old phone.. can it be any phone listed there, regardless of the trade in value?
also, as for the $400, i'm still confused what number it represents? a Simple Choice plan is starting only $50 a month.
You can trade in any phone with that provider.
The $400 is the estimated price of purchasing an eligible device from T-Mobile. It may not be a lump sum payment, rather on EIP spread over 24 months, but it's a cost. It may not even be $400. I just threw out a number.
Ah I see. Thanks!!
Can you explain why you need 3 months of service to unlock the phone on AT&T? Can't you renew your contract and then unlock it right afterwards?
I cannot explain AT&T's policies.
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