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AT&T Hints at Possible Handset Financing
May Follow T-Mobile's Lead This Year
by Karl Bode 07:53AM Monday Jan 28 2013
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has hinted that the company could follow T-Mobile's lead and offer handsets under a finance plan. T-Mobile has said they'll be eliminating handset subsidies later this year, meaning users can either buy a device outright, or tack an additional monthly charge on to their bill until the handset is paid off. Stephenson says AT&T is busy looking at the option. "I kind of like the idea, commend them for trying it," said the CEO -- adding that the company will "have to respond to some of it." T-Mobile has insisted that while users will pay more each month for handsets their wireless bill itself would be lower, something that seems less likely on AT&T or Verizon.

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gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL

Will the bill actually be lower?

I'm all for this if the bill would actually be lower, but I don't believe one bit that carriers will drop the overall bill costs due to this switch (even though they should).
TWCcdman

join:2002-04-14
Kernersville, NC

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

It would make upgrading to the latest phone cost prohibitive for many. I was in the habit of upgrading my iPhone with each new generation. That may no longer be possible. In the end thought its still the consumer that gets the shaft and the corporations still take in profits.
mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

said by TWCcdman:

It would make upgrading to the latest phone cost prohibitive for many. I was in the habit of upgrading my iPhone with each new generation. That may no longer be possible.

Or to put it another way, you upgraded when you normally would not have just because you could...the cell provider ate a big chunk of the cost of the new phone. So why not?

Now that they are taking away your free ride and, you know, expecting you to pay full fare for your ticket, you're pissing and whining about "getting the shaft", as if not getting the latest and best the moment it hits the market makes one abused and mistreated by the Big Bad Cell Company.

It's funny how people are ok with sucking others dry but suddenly become soooo conservative about money when it involves their own wallet.
ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·VOIPO
·ooma
·Verizon Broadban..
·Northland Cable ..
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

said by mocycler:

Or to put it another way, you upgraded when you normally would not have just because you could...the cell provider ate a big chunk of the cost of the new phone. So why not?

Now that they are taking away your free ride and, you know, expecting you to pay full fare for your ticket, you're pissing and whining about "getting the shaft", as if not getting the latest and best the moment it hits the market makes one abused and mistreated by the Big Bad Cell Company.

It's funny how people are ok with sucking others dry but suddenly become soooo conservative about money when it involves their own wallet.

I don't think it's exactly about a free ride. I'm sure the difference was being made up by everyone for the high voice/text prices for sure. Back in the day the phrase was "the cost of doing business".

There's only going to be one winner in this - for the short term. Those winners will be the share holders of the Bell companies.

The phone makers will hurt. Most people simply won't spend $800 on a telephone.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

1 recommendation

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

Mainly because there is not a phone made that should cost anywhere near $800 full retail. $300 would be a fair price and fair profit for any of these phone makers and resellers. This includes the iPhone the Galaxy and any other that has been produced in the last 5+ years.

It is the subsidies of the phone companies that have kept the retail price of these phones so high and we will all see that as this becomes common place the market settles in a year or 2.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

1 recommendation

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

Agreed. If AT&T goes ahead with this, Apple will either be substantially re-thinking the way they price their devices, or their marketshare in the US will start free-falling. In the Android world, if the bigger, more established players don't want to start lowing prices, ZTE, Hauwei, and others will do it for them.
negritude

join:2006-04-06
Oakland, CA

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

said by BiggA:

If AT&T goes ahead with this, Apple will either be substantially re-thinking the way they price their devices...

»www.macrumors.com/2013/01/28/app···-curves/
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

Or they could just take $350 off their current pricing model and be all set. Oh wait, that would eat up much of their massive, bloated margins.
Telco

join:2008-12-19
Speak for yourself. I've never made a single dollar from shafting another person.

Probably why I also do not vote (R).

gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
said by mocycler:

said by TWCcdman:

It would make upgrading to the latest phone cost prohibitive for many. I was in the habit of upgrading my iPhone with each new generation. That may no longer be possible.

Or to put it another way, you upgraded when you normally would not have just because you could...the cell provider ate a big chunk of the cost of the new phone. So why not?

Now that they are taking away your free ride and, you know, expecting you to pay full fare for your ticket, you're pissing and whining about "getting the shaft", as if not getting the latest and best the moment it hits the market makes one abused and mistreated by the Big Bad Cell Company.

It's funny how people are ok with sucking others dry but suddenly become soooo conservative about money when it involves their own wallet.

I'm confused by what seems to be a politically motivated statement

If the carrier allows you to upgrade every 12-18 months, anyone who doesn't take advantage of this is crazy. I upgrade whenever I have an upgrade available (I have 5 lines on my account). I upgrade each year and sell the previous phone and make money on everything when it's all said and done. I am already paying for it in my monthly bill, so what difference does it make?
kerya666

join:2002-12-20
Valrico, FL
said by mocycler:

said by TWCcdman:

It would make upgrading to the latest phone cost prohibitive for many. I was in the habit of upgrading my iPhone with each new generation. That may no longer be possible.

Or to put it another way, you upgraded when you normally would not have just because you could...the cell provider ate a big chunk of the cost of the new phone. So why not?

Now that they are taking away your free ride and, you know, expecting you to pay full fare for your ticket, you're pissing and whining about "getting the shaft", as if not getting the latest and best the moment it hits the market makes one abused and mistreated by the Big Bad Cell Company.

It's funny how people are ok with sucking others dry but suddenly become soooo conservative about money when it involves their own wallet.

Actually it was the other way around. ATT's monthly bill already included the cost for assumed phone that you got "subsidized" form them. Whether you upgraded phones every 2-year contract or not they still charged you for it as you did.
i.e. if you brought your own phone you will get 0 discount unlike some European carriers.

So the only person getting shafted is the customer who did not use something they already paid for in the original obscene bill.

Besides they get these phones in bulk for fractions of what retail price is so they get positives form the whole deal either way.
Telco

join:2008-12-19
Reviews:
·Callcentric

1 recommendation

How does having more choices shaft the consumer? Ironically, that's the fundamental (oil) of capitalism - choice.

It's why having one uber powerful walmart has screwed the US consumer in retail.

Choice is why Europeans (ironically) and many in the Asia_pac pay half as much as we do and receive better value.

gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

said by Telco:

How does having more choices shaft the consumer? Ironically, that's the fundamental (oil) of capitalism - choice.

It's why having one uber powerful walmart has screwed the US consumer in retail.

Choice is why Europeans (ironically) and many in the Asia_pac pay half as much as we do and receive better value.

I am not a fan of Walmart, but the problem is that we the consumer continue to support a company like Walmart. They're a shit company with poor business practices, yet the consumer still goes and shops there because they want to save a few bucks.
desarollo

join:2011-10-01
Monroe, MI
said by TWCcdman:

It would make upgrading to the latest phone cost prohibitive for many. I was in the habit of upgrading my iPhone with each new generation. That may no longer be possible. In the end thought its still the consumer that gets the shaft and the corporations still take in profits.

The costs of the handsets would then be set by a real market, not what the handset manufacturers and cellular phone companies collude & determine to be mutually beneficial to themselves, not the consumer.

Apple and Samsung sure seem to sell a lot of phones in countries without handset subsidies...I think we'll be fine here once it happens.

grydlok

join:2004-01-06
Richmond, VA
nope because t-mobile plan are pretty much the same.
Plan prices under this model should be drastic but they are not.
Telco

join:2008-12-19
of course not. AT&T do not offer any sort of discount if you BYOD, which shows it's just a money grap.

My plans cost half as much when I BYOD overseas and they would give me a credit if I locked into a 12 months contract.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: Will the bill actually be lower?

said by Telco:

My plans cost half as much when I BYOD overseas

I've often have heard such claims, and I'm curious as to the exact details. Can you please specifically state what carrier/plan you have here in the US (along with the number of minutes/text/data you get each month, as well as the corresponding plan in whatever country you went to where the plan was 1/2 the price when you BYOD.
flycuban

join:2005-04-25
Homestead, FL

What a bad idea

So if the iPhone is paid in full price of $800.00 at $20.00 a month, that would take 40 months to pay off... Looks like customers will NOT be upgrading their devices as often... Talk about shooting themselves in the foot.... Dang...
TWCcdman

join:2002-04-14
Kernersville, NC

Re: What a bad idea

and it will be the end of the unlimited plan too. Wondering getting a lower rate you will need to changed to one of the shared data plans or a bucket o minutes. AT&T figures out a way to screw the consumer in the end.

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY

Re: What a bad idea

Again the European model, But your device and then look for service, make it easier to switch carriers. If AT&T knew you could tell them to stick it and switch, and competitors knew they could pick off customers with sweeter deals just think of the impact that would have.
--
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
jagged

join:2003-07-01
Boynton Beach, FL
You do know the cost of your iPhone is factored into the voice and data plans you pay per month right?

you'll pay a lower price per month for your voice/data plan and tack on a monthly charge, after a downpayment, for your device of choice.

Right now if someone buys an iPhone from Ebay at a discount, they pay the same price per month as everyone else does but get no phone subsidy.
saratoga66

join:2002-08-22
Saratoga, CA
Your math is a little off. You are not getting that $800 phone free if you upgrade under the current plan. You still have to pay part of it at the time of upgrade.

A 32G I5 at AT&T is $750 retail. If you get it under the current plan you will have to pay $300 at the time of upgrade. That means you are financing $450 of the phone. If AT&T lowers the price plans by $20/mo and you pay the full retail for the phone you could upgrade every 22 months for about the same price.

CodeeCB
Premium
join:2001-10-01
Minneapolis, MN

T-Mobiles other ideas?

What about T-Mobiles other ideas that AT&T forgot to mention that actually benefit the consumer? Such as unlimited data. AT&T is a pretty irritating company.
podstolom

join:2010-01-25
Wichita, KS

This plan....

won't fly unless there is incentive to the consumer to buy outright. Expecting the consumer to sacrifice a subsidy and keep plan rates high won't cut it. As for the European model, sure it's great, true competition for business but that can't work here now either since SIM-unlocking your phone is now illegal w/o carrier permission.

God how I hate how American corporations do business. Investor-driven, lobbyist-funded, apathetic or downright hostile to the desires of the consumer who pays the dividends and CEO mega-million $ salaries.
jagged

join:2003-07-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 recommendation

Hate to say it but...

... I told you all so. T-Mobile's current activations are 80% on Value Plans that offer the device subsidy.

And if AT&T is planning on doing it, guess what Verizon is thinking about? Yep, same thing. It's just a matter of time, to let the mathematicians figure out the pricing so ARPU and EBITDA don't drop take a it.

AT&T and Verizon both hate subsidizing the iPhone especially, it is costing them an arm and a leg. Sprint learned that the hard way, enough to let Softbank buy a 70% stake in them.
tanzam75

join:2012-07-19

Re: Hate to say it but...

said by jagged:

And if AT&T is planning on doing it, guess what Verizon is thinking about? Yep, same thing. It's just a matter of time, to let the mathematicians figure out the pricing so ARPU and EBITDA don't drop take a it.

But it's interesting that AT&T is first to follow along. Are they seeing a lot of iPhones defections over to T-Mobile? Because they're a GSM/SIM-based carrier, it's easy for someone to take their old AT&T phone over to T-Mobile. And as the most iPhone-heavy carrier (80% iPhones), AT&T is also paying the most in subsidies.

Verizon doesn't feel quite as much pressure from T-Mobile, because they're a CDMA/ESN-based carrier. You have to buy a new phone to switch to T-Mobile, and that's a barrier.

Sprint has already given its pound of flesh to Apple. They're stuck.

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

2 recommendations

rather it this way

American needs to be more like captialist europe , same phone works on many carriers. LTE is the need cross carrier model. Change a sim, change your carrier.
jagged

join:2003-07-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 recommendation

Re: rather it this way

yeah, will have to pry that control out of AT&T and Verizon's cold dead hands first
sharksfan3
Premium
join:2004-02-16
North Hollywood, CA

1 edit

1 recommendation

It's a great change

The free phone from years past is still the scourge of the industry today. People don't have a clue how much these devices really cost. If anything it will create competition among the smartphone makers to lower costs. If Google is able to keep their Nexus pricing down, they will be the real winners with this change until other the other guys catch up...

With the S3, you put like $100 down, then pay $20 a month for the next 20 months. After that you reap the savings of their lower priced value plans. More expensive phones have a higher down payment.

This will hurt those Apple fanbois who parade around with their sense of early upgrade for nothing entitlement.

edit: check out t-mobiles value plan pricing... it's much cheaper then the classic plan pricing...
jagged

join:2003-07-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 recommendation

Re: It's a great change

tell me about it

I know people working retail and we chat almost every day. And it's the same thing, people buying the iPhone 4s then coming to the store when the iPhone 5 come out and ask for it and act all surprised when they learn that the phone's cost is not $199

Dummy

@comcast.net

No more contracts?

Question..currently if your contract is up and you decide to purchase a phone full retail they will not put you on a new 2-yr contract. Will this eliminate contracts all together?

SHoTTa35

@optonline.net

Re: No more contracts?

You can always sign up with AT&T without a contract, this was the case as always. THere wasn't a benefit however because you paid the same price as if you had a contract.

With T-Mobile - you pay less per month than people that have a contract if you buy your phone full price.

For me, i save so much money per year ($700-900) that I can afford to buy a new phone every year without even thinking about it. My plan on AT&T used to cost my $110/month (+ taxes/fees), now I pay $50 (taxes included) for MORE than I had before (get international calls now included ).

Derek32880

@newwavecomm.net

Re: No more contracts?

what some of you don't realize is you are being lied too by the cellphone carriers in order to get more money out of you lets look @ the reality of it first..

1) The companies say that have to have such high prices to cover the cost of the phone.. OK then why are the prices STILL the same if you buy the phone at full price up front?

2) why is there a $350 ETF that only subtracts $10 a month that you stay in the contract? if you go a full year you've only knocked off $120 there is still $230 you'd have to pay.

3) why do you have to pay $300 for a phone under the subsidy when well go back and read #1

now here i'm gonna do guess work these are not actual facts but considering the fact that it is a fact how business works then even if i'm not exactly accurate you get the idea

Companies PROBABLY spend $100 for 1,000,000 mins and probably about the same or less for text/pic messages and probably $100 for 1,000 GB of data (as i said these are just guesses and are not facts)

so basically each consumer pays MORE for each of these since unlimited talk, text is now something that many consumers are using less of the companies lowered these charges so basically we now probably pay $25-$30 for unlimited talk, and text and (with verizon) $10 for 1GB of data and the rest is paying for that smart phone.

IF this is the case that would put $300 down +$60x24 for that phone for a total of $1740 over a course of 2 years for a smartphone that is worth what? $200-$300? (this is some not all i dunno about Samsung but the HTC Thunderbolt definitely was worth about $200 and that's it)

now I ask you would u rather pay $700 for a phone or $1740?