Apple Vs. Carrier: Where Should I Buy My iPhone?

Since Apple’s release of the iPhone in 2007, cellular service providers have been trying to steal customers away. Each carrier has different plans including data plans ranging from anywhere around $15-$55/month with different prices for text messages and minutes depending on the plan. Now that the iPhone is available unlocked, where should you buy your phone and can you really get wholesale iphone?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in a cell phone provider or how much money you want to spend. The cheapest place all around to purchase an iPhone is directly through AT&T (the initial exclusive provider of the cellular handset). On their website they offer an 8GB iPhone 4S for $199 , unsubsidized price. The catch is that this package requires a 2-year contract and a $55/month voice and data package. However, AT&T recently dropped their price for an iPhone 5 or 4S with the same 2-year contract and data plan requirement to $50/month with unlimited text and talk.

If you’re willing to purchase your unlocked iPhone at full price (the cheapest being $649 for the 16GB version), Verizon Wireless is one of your best options. Their most basic plan includes unlimited talk and text along with 1 GB of data each month (3G) for only $40 per month. While this price has increased since 2010 when it was first introduced, it is still considerably less than other carriers that offer similar plans; both Sprint and T- offer various levels of “unlimited” data and run $80-$90 per month.

The most expensive option for iPhone users is purchasing through Sprint or T-Mobile . Both carriers currently offer a 16GB iPhone 4S in their stores starting at $199 , but this price does not include a 2-year contract. In order to get an iPhone from these companies, you must purchase the device off your credit card and sign up for a monthly plan with each company that costs between $70-$100/month . Additionally, neither Sprint nor T-Mobile provide any unlimited data plans that would allow you to use the Internet how much you want for one flat rate; instead they both have various levels of “unlimited” service ranging from around 1 GB all the way up to unlimited.

Consequently, the customer is faced with a dilemma when purchasing an iPhone: should they buy through AT&T or Verizon and pay full price for their phone or sign up for a 2-year contract with Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon? When weighing each decision’s pros and cons, it becomes clear that buying via AT&T or Verizon is the best overall choice. Sprint and T-Mobile require customers to pay more than $10/month extra in order to get features such as “unlimited” data packages which are available at no cost from either AT&T or Verizon . Additionally, if one subscribes to these plans they will be forced to remain on them even after the release of the next iPhone model. In order to keep up with the “latest and greatest” phone, one would have to pay a high monthly fee for their new iPhone as well.

In conclusion, if you are planning on purchasing an iPhone from Sprint or T-Mobile it is important to consider that they will require a 2-year contract and a higher monthly rate to provide you with unlimited data plans. If you plan on purchasing directly through Verizon, AT&T, or Apple be sure to compare prices before deciding where to purchase your device since there are currently no contracts required. Additionally, consider the cost of calling relative to text messages so that you can make the best possible decision based on what is most important to you.

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