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The Phone You're Paying For But Not Getting

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T-Mobile's $10 discount isn't quite enough

by Globhead    Mar 20, 2013, 12:07 PM

It's a little complicated to figure out exactly what we are paying for our phones (good enough reason to change the system right there).

Your first subsidy with a new carrier can be as high as $400 for some of the very popular high-end phones. That works out to about $20/month.

But your "upgrade" discount is usually only about $200-250, which is about $10/month.

So T-Mobile's option only relieves us of the subsidy scam if we are planning on staying with the same carrier (for whatever reason) by switching to the non-subsidized plan for a renewal, AND if we took advantage of the $400 discount for the first phone.

If you truly want to not waste money, you have to switch carriers every 2 years to get $400 back from the $20/month you put in. Otherwise you are only getting back half of it (either via a $10/month discount, or a $200 discount on a phone).

But then we don't know for certain if that $400 is actually covered by the 2-year contract. There were some claims (without hard data being available) that AT&T for example was actually losing some money on those big iPhone discounts (which are higher than typical subsidies in the past, often around $300).

Of course we shouldn't have to wonder about any of this because our expenses should not be hidden from us by the bundling of service and hardware.

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