Cost of Unlocked Phone compared to Locked Phone- ATT

T-mobile unleashed the Uncarrier plan; So, ATT has to make some changes to their plan to counter-act. A small competitor is finally shaking up the rotten Wireless Industry in US. So, I decided to do some math on how much a person can save owning an unlocked device on ATT itself and not use the “upgrade” every time you get one aka leaving within the means.

Cost Breakdown- for using with ATT (just individual lines) Contract-less Phone- Lumia 520 2 yr Contract- iPhone
Startup Device 69.99 199.99
Tax 7.0 20.0
Extra cost per month per device- Locked device 0 $15*12(months)*2(yr)= $360
Flexibility for moving devices to another carrier- T-mobile Full No Flexibility
Termination Fee None Upto $575
Service status/plans Same Same
TOTAL cost of device over 2 years 77.00 579.99
Savings 502.99 -502.99


That’s a saving of $500+ over a period of two years, if you use pre-own the device or control your impulses for when you have an upgrade. Let’s face it, it is in ATT’s best interest to allow you to upgrade…NOT yours. If you have a family plan with 4 lines, then the savings are 2000$ over two years. Numbers are in front of you. Make wise choices in life.

Things to do:

Get a High-End device on Craigslist (Be careful dealing on Craigslist- handful of crooks, Deal locally, Check IMEI before purchasing by calling ATT to verify the device isn’t locked/stolen, Call ATT to register the IMEI to your account soon after purchasing the phone so seller can’t list it lost/stolen). Don’t Upgrade often. Keep your devices as long as it works. Buy Cheap Unlocked Phones (Lumia 520, Nexus 5, Moto G, Lumia 1320) and keep the rest of savings in your pocket.

Sad State of Windows Phone in ATT store

So, I had to make an unfortunate visit to my nearest AT&T store. It was God awful. Unfriendly staff, overall feel of getting through to next customer, unpleasant. Just plain unpleasant. The store was in Bryant, AR. The store didn’t have ATT wifi, right outside the store. No wi-fi. Can you imagine that?

So, on to the state of Windows Phone devices on the “premier partner” in US. This is the transcript of actual conversation between a potential smartphone customer:

Customer: This phones look good (pointing at Samsung Ativ and a Nokia 920/1020). what about this?

Agent: They are ok phones. They are not as solid as an iPhone, though. We had to take a couple of display, (pointing to ones that didn’t have phone to sway her away from buying phone. points to iPhones) These are solid phones.

Customer: These phones are cheap ($.99 and $49 price tag) and looks decent. why so? are they good?

Agent: Ya, they fluctuate a lot.Some are good, but most aren’t (again pointing to the empty display spot). So what would you like?

Customer: Black iPhone.

So, that was the state of Windows Phone at it’s premier partner. No wonder there is only 4% market share in US. Microsoft/Nokia should ditch the label and make the phones available on all carriers if they are treated like third class citizen in their premier store. Sad. Pity.