Investors and consumers might want to look closely at the purchase plans carriers are offering for Apple’s new iPhones.
I found that if I bought the iPhone from AT&T and qualified as a good credit risk, I would receive a 0 percent loan for the full cost of the phone and could pay it off over 24 months at $27.05 a month, which comes to a little more than $649. Let’s round that off at $650. There’s no $40 upgrade fee. And there’s no $199 down payment. (I would have to pay sales tax on the $649 cost of the phone.) For me, I concluded, it would be cheaper to buy the phone from AT&T on the installment plan. If I used less data, it would be cheaper to buy the phone from AT&T through a service contract. And, of course, there are different deals on different carriers.
Once I started down this road, it made me pause. Do I really need to replace my phone every two years if it’s going to cost $650?
As Farhad Manjoo has explained in these pages, many people don’t need to buy new phones that often. In my case, if I keep my old phone a bit longer, I’ll save $25 every month, and that adds up.