Unsubsidized phones

justlaxin13

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Heard the AC guys talk about this on the most recent podcast (re. Verizon's new data plans) but what are the advantages of buying an unsubsidized phone for AT&T? Aside from not being locked into another two years obviously.

Also, how does that work with LTE phones? For examples, i have an SGS2 and have the grandfathered unlimited plan. Because of all the new android phones are, my next one will have LTE whether I want it or not. Even unsubsidized wouldn't I have to switch my plan to get any data, LTE or otherwise?

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cmunic8r99

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Assuming you are already on AT&T, If you bought your SGS2 subsidized, you should already be on a "4G" plan. This is the same plan they put LTE devices on, so your plan wouldn't have to change.

The advantages I see in buying unsubsidized (for an individual plan) are:

Quicker phone upgrades (because you didn't have to wait for the discount)

The lack of a contract tying you to the carrier

The knowledge that you have purchase discount in your back pocket, so to speak, in case you want to use it (though this only applies after your current contract runs out).
The ability to choose from an expanded selection of phones (international versions, etc.) that aren't AT&T branded.

The fact that if you choose a phone from that expanded selection, software updates will most likely come quicker.

If you are on a family plan, buying all your phones unsubsidized can get a bit expensive.

I usually get my other lines' phones subsidized, but generally get my phones off-contract. I did use my upgrade to get an Atrix, but after he SGS2 came out, I bought it outright at Walmart and passed the Atrix to her. Now, she's eligible for an upgrade, and i'm considering using it to get the SGS3.

Personally, I don't worry about the contract stuff - I'm not bailing on AT&T any time soon. That is a bigger deal for some, though.

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justlaxin13

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Yeah, I'm part of a family plan. I can't see leaving it any time soon. But, I'm considering the sgs3 when it comes out and I don't have upgrade since I used it on my current phone. shame its gonna cost me the $550 or whatever.

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bnceo

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Buying unsubsidized gives you options if a carrier really annoys you. You can leave without a contract. Moreover, in Apple's case, if you buy a phone full price from them, you get it unlocked right out of the box.
 

natehoy

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There's also less "carrier bloatware" on an unsibsidized phone (though, of course, you can always root the phone or load aftermarket firmware if you want to solve that problem without paying full price for a phone).

Also, there are sometimes features that work on self-purchase phones that don't on carrier phones. For example, my wife wanted a smartphone a few years back, but we didn't want to pay the data fee. So we got a Nokia Symbian phone, and she just used data when on WiFi. AT&T is now requiring data plans for anything they consider a "smartphone" now, so this is less relevant today than it was back then.
 

aokusman1

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Heard the AC guys talk about this on the most recent podcast (re. Verizon's new data plans) but what are the advantages of buying an unsubsidized phone for AT&T? Aside from not being locked into another two years obviously.

Also, how does that work with LTE phones? For examples, i have an SGS2 and have the grandfathered unlimited plan. Because of all the new android phones are, my next one will have LTE whether I want it or not. Even unsubsidized wouldn't I have to switch my plan to get any data, LTE or otherwise?

Sent from my SGH-I777 using Android Central Forums

I dont see the advantages too. On t-mobile you pay less if you bring your own phone and that's how it should be since they did not subsidize your purchase.

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rockigirl

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Other than the advantages mentioned above purchasing unsubsidized allows me to get phones that are not sold by at&t like galaxy nexus. Plus I like timely updates.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus