1. dmmontal's Avatar
    I've been a VZW customer for roughly the past decade. Lately I've been strongly considering switching to AT&T due to their greater support of WP. I've done a fair bit of research into their plans online, and I also stopped by an AT&T store the other day to check out the Lumia 1520 (which I loved).

    I'm a bit confused about what my options are as far as potentially purchasing my new device from a non-AT&T source, i.e. the Windows Store, vs purchasing a device on-contract through AT&T themselves. I see no way online to note that you're bringing in an "outside" device (essentially just purchasing service rather than service + a device). When I was at the AT&T store the rep said that the "No Annual Contract" option (as it's called online) was "only for people who were already customers of AT&T after their initial contract had expired." This sounds bogus to me. My feeling is I am supposed to be able to purchase my device at the Microsoft Store if I want, and then I would bring it to an AT&T location for activation (I know I would pay the $36 activation fee), and then I would be able to use it "off-contract". Do I really have to be an existing AT&T customer to do this?

    I'm wondering if anyone can confirm?
    02-02-2014 02:40 PM
  2. palandri's Avatar
    No, you buy the phone at Microsoft for full price and when you activate it on AT&T either at the store or over the phone, you tell them you want a 30 day and out contract.

    The AT&T store by me did the exact same thing when I was switching from T-Mobile back to AT&T with my own phone. I was told everyone has to sign a two year contract. I just called AT&T directly and ordered a SIM card and selected a minute and data plan, 30 days and out.
    Last edited by palandri; 02-02-2014 at 10:55 PM.
    Laura Knotek and dmmontal like this.
    02-02-2014 03:26 PM
  3. Jazmac's Avatar
    "It seems like everyone is going "un-carrier" these days, slowly branching out from the standard two-year contracts that have dominated the US smartphone industry for the last few years. Today AT&T announced a new "Mobile Share Value Plan" for families and small businesses, which gives both new and existing AT&T customers the opportunity to share unlimited talk and text and a 10GB pool of data starting at $130 a month. AT&T's pricing table indicates that you'll be paying $100 for the 10GB of data and $15 for each phone you connect—three lines will run you $145 a month, four will cost $160, and so on up to a total of 10 lines for $250 a month.

    New-to-AT&T customers who want to take advantage of the new pricing will either need to sign up for AT&T's Next program, bring their own unlocked devices, or buy phones at the standard unsubsidized price. Next program customers pay nothing up-front for new phones but need to pay the full unsubsidized price of their phones in monthly installments. The cost of these installments isn't included in the Mobile Share pricing table above." More here.

    What is a little bit of a puzzle to me is they talk about bringing your "unlocked" device. Are they saying even if the phone is branded Verizon or T-Mobile those can be activated on AT&T? That would be a bit of a coup d'etat if that is what they are saying. But I plan to take advantage of it myself as my 2 year commitment ends in March.
    02-02-2014 03:28 PM
  4. dmmontal's Avatar
    Thanks for the info guys - very helpful.

    Palandri - is the AT&T SIM card something you had to pay extra for? Or is that the same as paying the activation fee?
    palandri likes this.
    02-02-2014 03:58 PM
  5. palandri's Avatar
    Thanks for the info guys - very helpful.

    Palandri - is the AT&T SIM card something you had to pay extra for? Or is that the same as paying the activation fee?
    When I ordered the SIM card over the phone, it was like $6.97 for the SIM card and the postage. I can't remember if I got charged an activation fee when I activated it.
    dmmontal likes this.
    02-02-2014 04:21 PM
  6. dmmontal's Avatar
    Ahh gotcha - so doesn't sound like an activation fee, but pretty negligible price either way. Thanks again.
    palandri likes this.
    02-02-2014 10:32 PM
  7. palandri's Avatar
    Ahh gotcha - so doesn't sound like an activation fee, but pretty negligible price either way. Thanks again.
    Even if you get an activation fee, just call them and ask them if you can get the activation fee reversed. Just be honest with them. Tell them you are transferring from Verizon. If you are planning on staying with them for the long term, tell them that.
    dmmontal and Laura Knotek like this.
    02-02-2014 10:54 PM
  8. dmmontal's Avatar
    Good advice, and will certainly give it a try once I get to that point.

    The truth is I am planning on staying with them for the long term (at least for the next two years). Just the way the lines will work, the price difference between me signing a 2-year deal and paying month to month with a full device purchase will be almost negligible. So if I'm paying about the same over 2 years, I would probably prefer to buy from the Microsoft Store so I can get their (from what I've read) highly regarded insurance plan.
    palandri likes this.
    02-02-2014 11:08 PM
  9. mase123987's Avatar
    If you only have one line, go with AT&T's $60 prepaid plan. You get unlimited talk and text with 2gb of data (LTE included). If you pay in store at the self service computer, you don't pay any taxes.
    dmmontal likes this.
    02-02-2014 11:56 PM
  10. dmmontal's Avatar
    Thanks Mase - do you know if you can use any phone under the prepaid plan? I'm looking online and it seems like it's more for lower end devices.
    02-03-2014 12:12 AM
  11. mase123987's Avatar
    Thanks Mase - do you know if you can use any phone under the prepaid plan? I'm looking online and it seems like it's more for lower end devices.
    Yes you can. I have used the 920, LG Optimus G Pro and Z10 on the service. To me, this became a viable choice when they started including LTE.
    dmmontal likes this.
    02-03-2014 12:18 AM
  12. dmmontal's Avatar
    Hmm seems pretty viable in that case - so how exactly does this work? I have no prior experience with this type of plan, and I guess I'm wondering why it's so much cheaper (i.e. "what's the catch"?). Is it that you're buying a card every month with minutes on it? A little unclear from AT&T's website...
    02-03-2014 08:45 AM
  13. mase123987's Avatar
    Hmm seems pretty viable in that case - so how exactly does this work? I have no prior experience with this type of plan, and I guess I'm wondering why it's so much cheaper (i.e. "what's the catch"?). Is it that you're buying a card every month with minutes on it? A little unclear from AT&T's website...
    You can pay directly on their website or in their stores. You don't have to buy a card. You can't do any tethering. I personally haven't ran into any other limitations.
    dmmontal likes this.
    02-03-2014 10:02 AM
  14. dmmontal's Avatar
    Thanks a lot - this really sounds like it's the way to go.

    I actually just spoke with a sales rep online and they explained the whole thing to me. They said the coverage is a bit less compared to any of their standard plans. For instance they said on their normal plans they have deals with other GSM carriers (i.e. T-Mobile) to share signals in areas that don't overlap, but on prepaid it would strictly be AT&T's own network. But I can't imagine many instances where T-Mobile would have such better service, especially for me as NYC resident. And I understand I could always switch to a standard month-to-month plan if for some reason it doesn't work. So I think if/when I do switch to AT&T this will be the way I go.

    Thanks all for the help - I'm very appreciative!
    02-03-2014 10:14 AM
  15. tgp's Avatar
    What is a little bit of a puzzle to me is they talk about bringing your "unlocked" device. Are they saying even if the phone is branded Verizon or T-Mobile those can be activated on AT&T? That would be a bit of a coup d'etat if that is what they are saying.
    I'm quite sure you can bring any unlocked GSM device. This would include T-Mobile as well as Verizon LTE devices. My boss uses a Nexus 4 with an AT&T line he's had for many years. Everything works perfectly.

    You can't do any tethering.
    Although tethering wouldn't be included in the plan, I'm quite certain it's possible with an unlocked device. I tether with Net10 AT&T service.
    02-03-2014 11:38 AM
  16. dmmontal's Avatar
    Here's another question for you all:

    Today I was looking at the Lumia 1520 on the Microsoft Store website. All of the phones listed on their site are listed as being "no-contract" devices. However under the 1520 there is small print stating: "In-Store Only: Get the Lumia 1520 with a new 2-year contract for $99."

    I wasn't aware you could sign up for a contract at the Microsoft store - I thought you could only purchase the devices for full price, and then bring them to your respective carrier for activation. Does this sound right to everyone? If it's true that I can sign up for service on AT&T and pay $100 less than I otherwise would for the device on-contract, this will actually end up being the cheapest option for me over a two-year period - slightly cheaper even than doing the prepaid plan.
    02-04-2014 03:10 PM
  17. dmmontal's Avatar
    Never mind - I actually answered my own question. Just got back from my local Microsoft Store and they do offer to sign you up for contracts on cell providers. Seems like a no-brainer, but the online customer service reps would not give me a straight answer.

    Thanks for everyone who helped me with this thread!
    02-04-2014 05:24 PM
  18. 21stNow's Avatar
    "It seems like everyone is going "un-carrier" these days, slowly branching out from the standard two-year contracts that have dominated the US smartphone industry for the last few years. Today AT&T announced a new "Mobile Share Value Plan" for families and small businesses, which gives both new and existing AT&T customers the opportunity to share unlimited talk and text and a 10GB pool of data starting at $130 a month. AT&T's pricing table indicates that you'll be paying $100 for the 10GB of data and $15 for each phone you connect—three lines will run you $145 a month, four will cost $160, and so on up to a total of 10 lines for $250 a month.

    New-to-AT&T customers who want to take advantage of the new pricing will either need to sign up for AT&T's Next program, bring their own unlocked devices, or buy phones at the standard unsubsidized price. Next program customers pay nothing up-front for new phones but need to pay the full unsubsidized price of their phones in monthly installments. The cost of these installments isn't included in the Mobile Share pricing table above." More here.

    What is a little bit of a puzzle to me is they talk about bringing your "unlocked" device. Are they saying even if the phone is branded Verizon or T-Mobile those can be activated on AT&T? That would be a bit of a coup d'etat if that is what they are saying. But I plan to take advantage of it myself as my 2 year commitment ends in March.
    I don't know of a time when AT&T didn't allow unlocked devices on their network. AT&T is a GSM carrier; bringing your own device has always been one of the advantages for GSM carriers. I've used factory unlocked and unlocked T-Mobile phones on AT&T for 3-4 years now. The recent change is that AT&T will now charge less for monthly service fees if you don't get a subsidized device from them.
    02-05-2014 12:02 PM

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