Other than buying 3 months or more at a time (which to me defeats the purpose of prepaid) how did you arrive at that figure?
It's all what you need but for about a rotten 10 a month I know I have 2GB of data to use as I please. Is it cheaper no, but a better value, yes.
If ST and these other sneaky companies were transparent about it we could then know what the better value is.
If you are going to use postpaid anyway, it make financial sense to spread out your equipment cost over two years rather than paying it all up front and still pay the same price for service. That is the time value of money. "An egg today is better than a chicken tomorrow."
Earl F. Parrish
$729.88 per year for Red Pocket
46% more expensive.
But I did not take into account the 5% discounted RedPocket refills.
$499 per year for Straight Talk.
$693.37 per year for Red Pocket
39% more expensive.
On a monthly basis it's:
$45 per month for Straight Talk.
$56.99 per month for Red Pocket.
Only 27 % more.
I don't see buying a year at a time to have any conflict with prepaid. On Pageplus I buy the $80 ($76) cards which are good for a year so I don't have to bother every four months with adding money, plus it's the cheapest per minute rate if you're on the standard plan.
Also, the reality is that Straight Talk's unstated data limit on unlimited is much more than 2GB. Users routinely report 3-6GB/month without a warning.
Straight Talk's hesitation to explicitly state a data limit may be annoying, but it's understandable. Most smart phone users don't even user 1GB per month, even those on grandfathered unlimited plans from major carriers. If Straight Talk specified a data limit of 2GB or 4GB you'd have subscribers being much less careful, not bothering to use Wi-Fi when available, and using data recklessly in order to "get their money's worth." The one thing Straight Talk has no leeway on is tethering. Presumably Red Pocket doesn't care. Straight Talk also looks at your daily data usage, not just your monthly usage. If you have several consecutive days with very high data usage, they warn you.
With prepaid, the cost of buying an unsubsidized handset is quickly recovered by the significantly lower monthly cost. Of course the real issue for the postpaid carriers is the problem of people that don't need a new handset after two years, and take their iPhone to a prepaid carrier. Then you have the problem of people like me that buy gently used Android handsets for relatively low prices ($100 or so) and take them to a prepaid carrier.
For all the whining about ST not specifying a hard data limit, the reality is that the vast vast majority of smart phone users are as unlikely to run up against ST's unspecified limits as they are to be throttled on AT&T.
There is no lower monthly costs with AT&T or Verizon on postpaid. You pay the same prices for service no matter how you acquired the phone. Let's say that you are on the cheapest individual voice plan with AT&T and purchase a 16 GB iPhone to use on a postpaid account. With the subsidy, you pay $200 for the phone plus $70 per month for the service (voice and data). That comes out to $1680 over twenty-four months. Paying full price, you spend $650 for the phone and the same $70 per month for the service. That come out to $2330 over twenty-four months. It is not that you can invest the money but you can use the money for something else. There would not be 97 million subscribers with AT&T if each subscriber had to pay full prices for the phones. The carrier would have to raise the prices on those subscribers who remain. I know that I would not pay $3250 for five iPhones when I could pay $1000 for five subsidized phones.
On the Verizon network, you can pay $649 for an iPhone plus $1254 for 24 months of service with unlimited voice, unlimited messaging, and 1GB of data per month, for a total of $1903 (using Verizon MVNO Pageplus). Or you could pay $200 for the phone, plus $110/month for 900 minutes, unlimited texts, and 300MB per month for a total of $2840 for 24 months on Verizon proper. Of course if you're not a heavy data user you could pay only $1332 for 1200 minutes, 3000 texts, and 100MB of data per month on Pageplus.
On AT&T you can pay $199 for the iPhone plus $2424 for a total of $2623 for 900 voice minutes, unlimited texts, and 200 MB of data per month for 24 months, or you can pay $649 + $998 for a total of $1647 on Straight Talk for unlimited voice, texts, and data. Of course you could pay $2983 on AT&T if you chose 2GB of data rather than 200MB.
The reason the postpaid carriers continue to add subscribers is that the whole idea of paying $649 for a handset, all at once, is unpalatable for to so many people. Yet paying an extra $668 per year in monthly charges is just fine. There's nothing wrong with this of course, and there are reasons people choose to pay more. 1. Some people simply don't care about spending an extra $56 per month. 2. Some want to use their phone internationally without the bother of getting a local SIM card (and of course on AT&T they won't even unlock an iPhone that's still under contract, though Verizon and Sprint have no problem doing so). 3. Many people are simply unaware that there are ways to spend much less. 4. Some people are bad at math.
Pricing theory dictates this whole system. You want to sell your product at the maximum price to those that are not price-sensitive, but since the supply of the product is essentially unlimited you also want to sell your product at a lower price to those unwilling to pay the higher price. There would be no MVNOs at all if the carriers did not want to sell essentially the same product at wildly different price points.
Will the $50 Unlimited Plan on PAYG still be offered? It has unlimited data. With the proper APN settings, an iPhone can still be used on this plan. Am I right?
Last edited by efparri; 04-12-2012 at 06:43 PM.