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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

AT&T is offering off-contract pricing for some who are still on-contract


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Lifeisabeach

 
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My wife and I had to review our phone plans since she is increasingly using her phone for work and the minutes just aren't enough anymore (thankfully our bank of rollovers has kept us from overages). Our existing plan was for 3 lines, 700 shared minutes, 2 GB data plans per phone, and unlimited text. That runs about $180 before the discount I get through my job.

So, we were weighing our options. Knock it up to 1500 minutes or get a house phone. It'd all cost about the same extra. Then I looked at their family shared plans. I was very confused when I saw that the cost (before job discount) on the shared plan with unlimited call, text, and 10 GB of shared data would be $145 (+ taxes, fees, etc, of course). That made no sense. How could I be getting so much more for so much less? Surely there's a hidden per-line charge in there I'm overlooking. We decided to make a trip to their store to clear this up and weigh our options.

Well in a nutshell, I wasn't imagining things and there were no hidden extra charges. That plan normally runs $220 on-contract, but they are extending the off-contract pricing to anyone who signed a new contract prior to approximately mid-February (I forget the exact date). They have other data package tiers, but oddly enough, the 4GB plan (which would have been ok given our current usage) was the same price. There are increased discounts that kick in at that tier and above. I don't know how long this is good for, perhaps it's a limited time offer to promote it, but definitely check it out if you are on AT&T and qualify.
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RavingMac

 
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Do you know if that plan allows tethering, or is it an optional charge?

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavingMac View Post
Do you know if that plan allows tethering, or is it an optional charge?
Not that I know of. I'm sure it doesn't. The base price on this plan is $100, with the rest being $15/device. I've never read anything suggesting AT&T has allowed tethering on any plan at no additional charge.

Now this is interesting. I just checked my iPhone's hotspot settings and it gave no indication that there is a charge if I turn it on. It seems like it used to do that. I just toggled it on/off and no prompts about fees. Nothing. What does yours say?
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Lifeisabeach

 
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I'm reading over the fine print on AT&T's website for the shared data plans. It does look like tethering is indeed included! Read it over and see if I'm interpreting this right.
Families Save More with Mobile Share Value Plans from AT&T

Quote:
Device Limits: Up to 10 per plan for consumers and IRUs. For business and government customers, up to: 10 CRU devices per plan up to 20GB; 15 CRU devices per 30GB plan; 20 CRU devices per 40GB plan; and 25 CRU devices per 50GB plan. Tethering and mobile hot spot use is permitted with up to 5 simultaneous devices.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
I'm reading over the fine print on AT&T's website for the shared data plans. It does look like tethering is indeed included! Read it over and see if I'm interpreting this right.
Families Save More with Mobile Share Value Plans from AT&T
Outstanding!

I'm currently paying for a tethering plan on my phone and my wife's is grandfathered to the old unlimited data plan. But, this looks like it is worth trying.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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A totally aside comment on this trend: Are we finally getting to a point in the US where carriers will start offering phones/plans without the contracts? I wonder if the consumer base is ready to take on the higher initial cost of buying the unlocked device. But, I also like T-Mobile's idea of making people an amount ($200) that they were happy with before and paying the rest of the price of the phone over many months with no interest..

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Pretty sure tethering is included on all the current 'shared' data plans.
And have unlimited text.
Still have ours on the grandfathered unlimited also - which means pay separately for both text and tethering.
10 GB shared at a reasonable price I could do, 4 GB can't.

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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raz0rEdge View Post
A totally aside comment on this trend: Are we finally getting to a point in the US where carriers will start offering phones/plans without the contracts? I wonder if the consumer base is ready to take on the higher initial cost of buying the unlocked device. But, I also like T-Mobile's idea of making people an amount ($200) that they were happy with before and paying the rest of the price of the phone over many months with no interest..
That is in fact what AT&T is now doing. I suspect though that there are other factors driving this besides just a desire to compete with T-Mobile (though T-Mobile getting the iPhone did put a hurting on them). From what I've read, they are increasingly dissatisfied with Apple because they have taken so much control away from them. They pay higher subsidies back to Apple than they do on other devices; can't put their garbage on the phones; and a large part of their user base thinks they should be entitled to yearly upgrades, which almost certainly has proven to be a real headache for them to deal with. I don't know if they will eventually eliminate on-contract pricing and the subsidy model, but if that is the goal, then I can see more people being hesitant to pay up front for an iPhone over much cheaper Androids, regardless of what the real-world performance and experience may provide comparatively.

For myself, the fact that I was continuing to pay contract prices after paying off my subsidy was a huge sore point. I would have preferred to continue using my older iPhones for at least an extra year, but financially there was no incentive to do so since they sold for what a new one cost on subsidy. Now... well right now AT&T has basically given us our 3 current iPhones below cost, on top of the option to continue using them past contract without overpaying on my plan. It's a win-win, something that's just unheard of in this market.
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@ lifeisabeach: So, you were on contract, now you are not and you kept the phones you had? Am I understanding that right? When you decide to upgrade your phone(s), you'll have to pay full price for the phone?

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Lifeisabeach

 
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@ lifeisabeach: So, you were on contract, now you are not and you kept the phones you had? Am I understanding that right? When you decide to upgrade your phone(s), you'll have to pay full price for the phone?
I am still on contract (we all upgraded to the 5S between this past October and January), but AT&T is offering the lower off-contract pricing on the family shared plans to anyone who is either off-contract or to existing customers who renewed their contract prior to mid-February. I am still committed for another year and half or so and subject to early termination fees if I want to leave. Once that period is up, if I want to upgrade, I will either have to buy a new phone at full price if I want to keep the off-contract pricing, or return to the higher on-contract pricing with the subsidy model (assuming that will even be an option still at that point). I can, of course, choose to not upgrade and continue paying the off-contract price.

Actually... it may not just be any existing customer who renewed before mid-February. It's possible it's only available to select customers based on how long they've been with them.
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This is the plan I switched to a day or two after it was first released. I was still in an existing contract when I went in, and the AT&T reps hadn't even received setup guides to create the plan on existing plans/contracts. My existing contract term continues, so I still have till December 2014 for it to finish, but I'm on their new plan. I realized it was a decent deal after noticing that my grandfathered data plan wasn't being used as much, and the other lines could benefit from a data plan. We get 10gb, unlimited text+talk, and free tethering(all the norm for this plan) for $156/m. after tax, some extra fees, and work discounts. Saves me about $25/m. I'm happy.

As for AT&T being mad at Apple, they can shove it. I got so tired of the AT&T/Google/other crap being forcefully downloaded on my Note 3 that I went out a bought an off contract iPhone 5S 64gb(same exact version I sold a few months ago to buy the Note 3) a week ago. I was seeing new apps being downloaded constantly, and I would not be allowed to uninstall it. It wouldn't have been a big deal if they weren't such memory hogs. I have no sympathy for AT&T.

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