With the exciting news from Apple Tuesday of two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the larger 6 Plus, comes the task of figuring out the least expensive path to owning one.
Once again, handset financing plans with early upgrade capability — including Verizon Edge, AT&T Next and the trend-setting Jump from T-Mobile — are well worth considering over the traditional two-year contract plans.
“By and large, the majority of customers will benefit from using those plans,” Todd Day, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan, told CNBC.
You can pay a subsidized price (cheaper up front) for the new iPhone, but you’ll be stuck in a two-year contract.
However, the financing plans charge the full retail price for the phone spread out over a set period, mostly without interest.
A 16GB iPhone 6 will cost $649.99 retail, or $199.99 with carrier subsidies. That works out to $32.50 per month under a Verizon Edge 20-month plan, or about $27.09 under AT&T’s Next 18, which covers 24 months.
iPhone users would get a price break of $10 to $25 per line on their monthly service plan. Moreover, they can opt to trade in their phone any time after an established period elapses, such as 6 months.
For iPhone users who like to upgrade regularly, it’s more like renting than purchasing, or like leasing a car rather than buying one.
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plans let customers pay for their smartphone over a 24-month period. A $10-per-month Jump add-on let’s you upgrade after 50 percent of the handset price is paid. And it includes a handset insurance plan in case your phone is damaged or stolen.
Bottom line: contract plans may be more cost-effective for some. But iPhone financing and early upgrade options can yield savings for many, especially Apple followers already wondering what’s cooking for 2015’s iPhone upgrades.