Phones, we need them, we use them continuously, we depend on them, they’ve become an extension of self. To some it’s a means to reach out to the world, to stay in touch, to Instagram and snap away, although some of the older generation baby boomers will out right tell you that having a phone is simply a means to an end, a way to simply call and answer calls, that’s what my dad always says at least.
Maybe 10 years ago that’s what we used them for, now our mobile devices are more powerful than the rocket used to launch Neil Armstrong to the moon and back.
Needless to say, phones have gotten expensive. I can write, edit a whole blog post during my daily commute and not break a sweat. Phones come equipped with office suites and photo editing applications that are nearly as good as adobe’s library. On the same token, we also need a good carrier, having the right phone carrier could be the difference between being able to snap your way across the city and having to wait for a poor Wi-Fi connection to upload your stuff. Our choices in America aren’t that diverse, most consumers only know about Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and the mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) such as Cricket wireless, Boost Mobile etc.
The question being asked here is this: do you buy (lease or finance) your phone from the carrier, from the manufacturer or do you buy third party?
With the new iPhone coming out in a few months and the new Samsung Galaxy lines already out, these are important questions.
I still use my IPhone 6 Plus, though the device got a bit slow it works perfectly fine, it was completely protected with a solid case throughout its lifetime and has not given me any major issues. I bought it straight from apple on day 1. The day I bought it, I was not tied down to a contract, in fact my old sprint contract had ended a year prior and I was grandfathered, I was paying $50 for an unlimited plan with all the perks.
The day the phone came out I remember walking across Manhattan going from carrier to carrier looking for a “good price” on the device… Spoiler alert there weren’t any.
The simple answer is that it is much cheaper to buy an unlocked phone from the manufacturer than from a carrier.
I am not only talking about price year, I am telling you that signing a two-year contract for a company to front a device for you is plain stupid and is a practice that should stop.
If you want to save money but still want to go with a carrier here are some options.
Some carriers in 2017 will allow you to buy the phone up front, but that also means the phone will likely not be unlocked, unless you ask them to do so.
Leasing is also a new and popular option for most people, but consider that the phone does not belong to you and if it breaks you are responsible for the full amount.
Financing is getting better, but consider taxes, fees and the fact that you will be stuck with a bill for the next 2 years. If service sucks, you can’t leave unless you buy out your contract and pay off the phone.
The bottom line is while some carriers make it seem easy to buy a phone from them, they cloud the contracts with a whole bunch of “early upgrades” insurance and clauses that will cause your monthly bill to look unmanageable.
If you have the money, buy your next phone from the manufacturer, you will get a spanking new unlocked device free from carrier software bloat. If you don’t have a lot of money, shop around, look at Amazon or EBay for good prices on Android and Apple devices, buy last year’s model. Believe me it’s not worth getting tied down for two years.
Nowadays companies like Apple, Motorola and Google are allowing consumers to finance their phones without having to be tied down to a carrier contract for 24 months. If you don’t fancy a premium carrier, go with a mobile MVNO they are cheaper and have no contractual obligations, keep in mind that they are usually slower and don’t cover a wide range like major carriers do, they lease data service from Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon for resale.
The lesson here is your freedom to choose is far more valuable than getting chained down to a device that you are going to break anyway.