Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

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tim1999
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:20 pm

My last few smartphones have been ~ 2 year old refurbished models bought for < $200 cash.

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dollar_elbow
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by dollar_elbow » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:21 pm

I like to buy outright from swappa. I buy used iPhones every year or two when the price on previous models drop to around $300 (inclusive without additional sales tax). I reason that new iPhones are grossly overpriced and $300 is about what tear down sites estimate it actually costs Apple to assemble an iPhone so I consider that price acceptable. I get a new phone model every year for about a quarter of the price of buying new. Some of the phones are in mint condition which makes me wonder what the point of buying new is.

Afty
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Afty » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:55 pm

I buy outright, usually unlocked directly from the manufacturer. Sometimes carrier versions of the phone are gimped in some way, like having bloatware installed.

KarenC
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by KarenC » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:20 pm

mpsz wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:22 am
I get the latest iPhone each year... one of a small handful of indulgences I enjoy outside the Bogleheads philosophy. I'm a tech/gadgets guy, software engineer by trade, etc.

I'm on Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program. Costs me the same to finance versus buy outright, and I have the option of trading in each year without any additional cost (except Verizon's customer loyalty penalty activation fee). Though, this is looking like the first year there will be absolutely no reason to upgrade.
Same here (except I’m on AT&T), including the reservations about upgrading this year.
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Quirkz
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Quirkz » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:02 am

Seeing this thread led me to doing a little research. The battery on my work-provided iPhone 6s has been getting cranky, but the office has opted out of the phone business, and it's back on me to find a replacement. Some comments here had me looking at a Moto g7 anyway, and then I noticed Verizon was offering them half price ($120), so I ordered one. Normally I wouldn't borrow, but the rebate was $5/month for 2 years, regardless of whether I paid up front or in installments, so I figured I'd rather get the cost and the rebate in parallel. A little ironic that I came in here to say I've always paid lump sum, and this led me to the opposite.

Watts
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Watts » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:57 am

I always buy my phone outright. It has allowed me to leave postpaid plans for the prepaid world. I’m currently using mint mobile on an iPhone X, which I’ve been very happy with. Plus, buying the phone up front has also swayed me to not upgrade phones for 3-4 years.

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Sheepdog
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:19 am

I go simple and inexpensive (and happy doing so). My Moto G6 phone was purchased thru Tracfone. $120 for the phone https://shop.tracfone.com/shop/en/tracf ... tf-moto-g6 I went simple buying a service plan with 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and 1.5 gb data with a years service. That is more than enough for me for one year. Yes, I paid up front.
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Caduceus
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Caduceus » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:26 am

lazydavid wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:46 am
Caduceus wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:57 pm
You can get new cellphones behing the technology curve on Ebay for really great prices. I just bought a completely new Iphone SE on Ebay for $125. It doesn't seem much different from the Iphone 5S it replaced, so I'm not sure what the hype is with all these newer and newer models!
The reason you didn't notice a difference is because you bought basically the same phone, rather than upgrading. The iPhone 5S was a flagship at launch, and the SE was a low-end budget model introduced as a direct replacement for the 5S when it was discontinued.
Oh, OK, I didn't know that. But I bet that 3 years later when I buy the Iphone X or XXS or whatever it is called, the folks who are ecstatic about how excellent this phone is right now will tell me it's a terrible phone, it's a three-year-old outdated phone, etc. I've played around with my boyfriend's phones (he's one of those stereotypical dudes who likes to have the latest gadgets) and it just doesn't feel any different to me in terms of what it can do. There's a difference if a phone is unable to do something, like when the Iphone 4 was unable to download some Apps from the app store, that's when I upgraded to a 5.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:39 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:47 am
I pay outright as I don’t want to be tied down to any provider .
Financing through the manufacturer doesn't tie you to any provider. I've bought my last several phones directly from Samsung, and taken advantage of their 0% financing. Phones are completely unlocked and can be used with any carrier.

mtwhmemn
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by mtwhmemn » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:58 pm

I didn't read all the post so please forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's response. Ask yourself why AT&T/Verizon/Sprint will hand you a $750-$1000 device with 0% financing? Well, there are several reasons but the bottom line is they are making a massive amount of money off you with their very high monthly rate plans. The days of needing to use AT&T/Verizon/Sprint are over for anyone that is looking for the best value in wireless. Keep in mind almost no one needs "unlimited" high speed data. Not even teens glued to social media 18 hours a day. Just as an example, my wife and I were paying over $120 per month for 2 iPhones with AT&T. Both our phones belonged to us and both phones were unlocked. In a matter of an hour I ported both our phones to Mint Mobile. I'm on a 8GB plan per month and my wife is on a 3GB plan. If we go over they just throttle us to a slow data plan. We've never gone over. The cost is $20 and $15 respectively, bottom line if paid in full for 12 months. The towers are T-Mobile and work just fine for us. Your mileage may vary. They have a free "test" plan. So, buy a phone and use a service like Mint and save a boatload of money.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:41 pm

Admiral wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:09 am
Since phones can now be financed at 0% (the full price is spread over 24 equal payments), I'm wondering how Bhs approach this.

Assuming that paying the full price of a $700-$900 iPhone in not a financial hardship, for example, do you just buy it and have a monthly bill that's $27-$32 less per month than it would be if the cost was spread out?

Is there any advantage (financial or otherwise) in paying the full cost upfront?

I've usually felt that if someone's willing to give me 0% financing it's silly not to take it. But maybe I'm missing something. The only thing I can think of is that if you own the phone, you have the option of selling (or trading) it earlier in its life, thus recouping some of its value. But, of course, the savings usually just goes to a new phone!
Personally, I feel more "hurt" when I pay the entire amount. Which sometimes makes me not buy an expensive item. I think if it gives me a pause to think about the expense, its likely a good strategy so I pay in full.

DVMResident
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by DVMResident » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:02 pm

Depends on the deal. I bought DW’s phone ~4 years ago and Verizon gave a discount on paying monthly over 2 years (all totaled including the bundled service plan). I purchased an iPhone 8 a few months back and these deals seemed to dry up. So, instead I purchased directly from Apple with employer megacorp discount 5% and another 2% from my Fido Visa card.

Shrug, whatever deal is at the time. If the carrier were really giving 0% and no discounts for upfront payment, I would take the 2 year loan, cash flow to pay back, and leave the leveraged funds in my AA (I did just this with my 5 year/0 down/0% car loan 1.5 years ago).

DaftInvestor
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 am

Smoke wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:17 am
Purchased outright, $49 Samsung orbit.
It's a phone.
For most of us:
These aren't just phones anymore though. Personal Planner; small Computer for browsing/on-line-shopping/etc.; GPS Navigator; Calendar; Calculator; Personal Music Player; Fitness Tracker; Portable streaming video player; foreign-language-translator; ride-calling-service; ... the list goes on.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Smoke » Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:46 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 am
Smoke wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:17 am
Purchased outright, $49 Samsung orbit.
It's a phone.
For most of us:
These aren't just phones anymore though. Personal Planner; small Computer for browsing/on-line-shopping/etc.; GPS Navigator; Calendar; Calculator; Personal Music Player; Fitness Tracker; Portable streaming video player; foreign-language-translator; ride-calling-service; ... the list goes on.
And my $49 phone does most if not all of that,
I even bluetooth music and audio books to my hearing aids as well.
:sharebeer
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

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8foot7
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:51 pm

Those who talk about the hassle of carrier financing are not being reasonable. The amount is just added to the bill you pay every month. You pay the phone bill and the phone gets paid off as part of that. There is no additional hassle and the remaining balance and number of payments is clearly laid out on the monthly bill.

I get if you don't need a super expensive phone or choose to go prepaid, but if you're at a postpaid carrier and your reasoning for not taking the 0% is you think the debt is a hassle, that's just not reflected in reality. There are many reasons to not take the financing but that's not one of them.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:00 pm

Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:46 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:42 am
Smoke wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:17 am
Purchased outright, $49 Samsung orbit.
It's a phone.
For most of us:
These aren't just phones anymore though. Personal Planner; small Computer for browsing/on-line-shopping/etc.; GPS Navigator; Calendar; Calculator; Personal Music Player; Fitness Tracker; Portable streaming video player; foreign-language-translator; ride-calling-service; ... the list goes on.
And my $49 phone does most if not all of that,
I even bluetooth music and audio books to my hearing aids as well.
:sharebeer
Excellent. :sharebeer
I don't get the iPhone crowd myself.... 8-)

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:06 pm

Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:46 am

And my $49 phone does most if not all of that,
I even bluetooth music and audio books to my hearing aids as well.
:sharebeer
If my current carrier hadn't offered us 2 new & capable phones at $1 each outright, with no future commitment to stay with them, I might have considered spending as much as $49 for a decent phone.

BTW my phone does all of that as well. The only feature that I wish our phones had but don't is wifi calling without resorting to an app like Whatsapp or Skype.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by DarkHelmetII » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:17 pm

brand new unlocked android for $100 - $200

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SmallCityDave
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by SmallCityDave » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am

I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.

I find it interesting how so many spend so much on a phone and most will finance it..... I would expect that from 30 y/o on most other forums but not here.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by xb7 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:06 pm

I just went through this literally yesterday. Like a previous poster, my wife and I have T-Mobiles "55 and over" plan where we pay $60 per month for service for both of us, so $30/month each. This includes unlimited calling, texting, and 4G internet. As an aside, hiking in Europe recently I found that T-Mobile overseas service worked as advertised --- free texting there, free unlimited 2G internet (hey, enough for emails, basic stuff), calls 25 cents per minute. The surprise was how much we ended up calling over there, but still overall better than getting a local SIM card and doing a prepaid plan with one of their networks.

Anyway, I wanted to get the Samsung Galaxy S10e, the lower end (128 GB) model. Samsung has a sale on that (maybe other stuff) where the unlocked version is $200 cheaper than the carrier-specific model. I've done this before, and occasionally there are little issues --- on my last phone I couldn't get "wi-fi calling" without the T-Mobile branded phone, but fortunately I didn't care. Overall though, just slam in the SIM chip and it works, with the added benefit that it gives me carrier portability and --- despite the first paragraph --- at least the option to put in a local SIM while travelling. I don't think I'm going to want either of those, but doesn't hurt to have the option to change your mind or adapt to future developments.

As to the point of this thread ... they did offer to let me pay the exact same cost on a monthly basis over 2 years or just buy it outright. I just bought it. For me this makes life a little simpler, and at current interest rates I might have earned $5 before taxes in a savings account with the money --- not worth even thinking about.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Caduceus » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:52 pm

SmallCityDave wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am
I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.

I find it interesting how so many spend so much on a phone and most will finance it..... I would expect that from 30 y/o on most other forums but not here.
That's such a good deal. Where did you get a refurbished Iphone 6S for $25? I've been looking at seller refurbished phones on ebay and even the Iphone SE costs about $120.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:04 pm

I buy secondhand via Swappa and use Ting. I have a Google Pixel ($160) and our monthly bill for two lines is anywhere from $28-46. The real savings come from not being tied into the plan.

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funktor
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by funktor » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:34 pm

Outright and usually I'm buying mid tier phones. They do everything I need for a fraction of the price as flagship. Though my next phone I would like to have NFC :greedy
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:44 pm

xb7 wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:06 pm
Anyway, I wanted to get the Samsung Galaxy S10e, the lower end (128 GB) model. Samsung has a sale on that (maybe other stuff) where the unlocked version is $200 cheaper than the carrier-specific model. I've done this before, and occasionally there are little issues --- on my last phone I couldn't get "wi-fi calling" without the T-Mobile branded phone, but fortunately I didn't care. Overall though, just slam in the SIM chip and it works, with the added benefit that it gives me carrier portability and --- despite the first paragraph --- at least the option to put in a local SIM while travelling. I don't think I'm going to want either of those, but doesn't hurt to have the option to change your mind or adapt to future developments.
With Android you should always verify your APN Settings transferred over/in correctly with your new phone.

Settings > Cellular > APN (or the variation for the S10e).

If the APN is correct then data and picture texts will work. I've seen it where the "auto APN" creates 2 APN with different settings. Only one APN is active at a time, so the phone didn't work.

Just a quick thing to check on Android phones if you want to make sure call/data/text settings are correct.
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rapscallion
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by rapscallion » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:10 pm

SmallCityDave wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am
I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.
This seems too good to be true. Please tell me where I can get this deal. Thank you.

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SmallCityDave
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by SmallCityDave » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:50 am

Caduceus wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:52 pm
SmallCityDave wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am
I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.

I find it interesting how so many spend so much on a phone and most will finance it..... I would expect that from 30 y/o on most other forums but not here.
That's such a good deal. Where did you get a refurbished Iphone 6S for $25? I've been looking at seller refurbished phones on ebay and even the Iphone SE costs about $120.
Total Wireless, they've had the SE at that price a number of times but that's the 1st time I've seen the 6s.

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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by 02nz » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:07 am

SmallCityDave wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:50 am
Caduceus wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:52 pm
SmallCityDave wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am
I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.

I find it interesting how so many spend so much on a phone and most will finance it..... I would expect that from 30 y/o on most other forums but not here.
That's such a good deal. Where did you get a refurbished Iphone 6S for $25? I've been looking at seller refurbished phones on ebay and even the Iphone SE costs about $120.
Total Wireless, they've had the SE at that price a number of times but that's the 1st time I've seen the 6s.
An important detail was left out of that $25 price for the plan - you need 4 lines to average that cost. 1 line is $47.50 with auto-refill.
Last edited by 02nz on Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JackoC
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by JackoC » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:34 am

Our ATT plan gave basically only 0% financing as an advantage to buy phone through them. Base cost for 5 lines, including taxes and fees, was $196/month 15gb data limit (which meant at least a couple $100 in data overage charges per year). They sell you locked phones. In theory unlocking later is no big deal but having to herd 4 other cats to get them to apply for unlock and then go through the process, it actually was.

We switched to Cricket at $125/mo unlimited data (tech savvy people have explained how you get less on Cricket's use of ATT's network than an ATT plan proper, but we notice zero difference). Cricket has no attractive subsidy or financing for phones. So I bought three unlocked replacement iphones from the Apple store paying upfront (with CC of course, for the cashback and slight float). The other two phones worked with Cricket without being unlocked from ATT. Those were slightly newer so I'll replace them with unlocked phones from the Apple store next year, then we won't have to worry about the lock issue if we find a better deal somewhere else.

I'm not sure we now have the absolute 100% optimized set up but I don't see any way the extra $1000/yr to ATT provided commensurate value, in buying phones or any other way. And it was so non-transparent. I think I'd prefer the transparency of what we're doing now even if it wasn't saving a grand a year. For comparison in case anyone needs it, earning 1.6% after tax in VMFXX, paying for a $750 phone over 2 yrs at 0%, 1 yr average life of loan, is worth $750*.016=$12 v paying upfront, a quite minor consideration in the scheme of things. And if the 'phone included' thing is providing a discount if you replace more often, you can't count that as 100% benefit since some of it paying for new phones more often than needed. The main reason I replaced my iphone 5 with a XR after IIRC 6 yrs was obsolescence on software side. The battery was dying and the face cracked but those could have been repaired. Getting a new phone ever 2 yrs is major overkill for me, and I'm not a super frugal person at all.

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Bammerman
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by Bammerman » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:55 pm

RudyS wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:26 pm
If you use your card to buy it outright, then many credit cards will give you an extended warranty benefit.
+1

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SmallCityDave
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Re: Do you buy cellphone outright or pay over 2 years?

Post by SmallCityDave » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:48 pm

02nz wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:07 am
SmallCityDave wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:50 am
Caduceus wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:52 pm
SmallCityDave wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:36 am
I just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s for $25 and my/our plan is $25 per month for 25gb on the Verizon network.

I find it interesting how so many spend so much on a phone and most will finance it..... I would expect that from 30 y/o on most other forums but not here.
That's such a good deal. Where did you get a refurbished Iphone 6S for $25? I've been looking at seller refurbished phones on ebay and even the Iphone SE costs about $120.
Total Wireless, they've had the SE at that price a number of times but that's the 1st time I've seen the 6s.
An important detail was left out of that $25 price for the plan - you need 4 lines to average that cost. 1 line is $47.50 with auto-refill.
The main point is the $25 phone, $33 for a single phone plan not $47.50.

My family plan is $95 for 4 lines with unlimited data but the 1st 100gb is @ "high speeds".

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