Shortly, I will no longer be on my company’s cell phone plan. My Blackberry Curve has served me well for years but now it’s time to part ways. I would like my next phone to be an iPhone 5 which is supposed to be released this summer (or I don’t want an iPhone 4 and then kick myself in three months when I see the 5′s new features: NFC, A5 processor, larger screen, better antenna). My dilemma is that if I buy an iPhone from Verizon or AT&T today, I will probably be ineligible for the special iPhone 5 pricing when it comes out. When you buy a phone with a new contract, the carrier subsidizes part of the cost. So, the iPhone 4 that normally costs $600 only costs you $199 with a two year contract. If I buy an iPhone now, I will have to pay full price for the iPhone 5 this summer. That’s not a good option. After visiting some mobile phone stores, here are some other options I found:
Option 1: Sign up with AT&T or Verizon, buy an iPhone 4 and get whacked when the iPhone 5 comes out. Ouch. Alternatively, sell the iPhone 4 on eBay or Craig’s List when the 5 comes out to recoup costs.
Option 2: Sign up with Verizon and buy the iPhone 4. When the iPhone 5 comes out, add a second line for $10 a month and sign a new two year contract. Instead of paying an extra $400, I’m paying $240. This option could be come more attractive if Verizon comes up with FIOS-bundle promotion (there’s a rumor this is in the works).
Option 3: Sign up with Virgin Mobile and buy their Android phone for $150 (LG Optimus V). There’s no contract and it’s only $25 per month for a 300 minute voice plan with unlimited data and texting. Compared to the $60 a month cost of AT&T or Verizon, that’s some serious savings per month. If the iPhone 5 comes out in June, I would have saved $105 on monthly rates almost paying for the cost of the phone. Wait a couple more months and it’s a wash. I hope Sprint’s network has improved in Boston. The other benefit is I get to play with Android.