Use This Calculator to Save More Than $1,700 on iPhone 7
Trying to find the best carrier plan for the iPhone 7 can be treacherous business. But a handy calculator is trying to take some of the guesswork out of that.
WalletHub, a site that tracks users’ credit, has launched a new tool designed to help users determine how much they will spend over a two-year period owning the iPhone 7. The data is based on both individual and family plans and claims that, depending on the option customers choose, could net iPhone 7 owners a savings of more than $1,700 over a two-year period compared to the highest-cost plans.
The findings come less than a week after Apple unveiled its iPhone 7. The smartphone comes with greatly improved cameras, a better processor, and a slightly modified design. Most surprisingly, it’s the first iPhone not to come with a headphone jack, requiring owners to use Bluetooth-based headphones or the adapter that will allow tethered headphones to connect through the smartphone’s Lightning port.
WalletHub analyzed plans and initial investments required from the top wireless carriers in the U.S., including Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T). The company then factored in their plan costs on both individual and family plans and arrived at a two-year total cost of ownership. It found that on the individual side, it’s possible for customers to save $1,074 by picking up an iPhone 7 off contract from RingPlus, a small carrier that allows users to use their own devices on its network. Opting for RingPlus and family plans would cost customers $2,988 over two years, saving them $1,705 compared to the most expensive major carrier wireless plan.
However, because most users will opt for one of the big carriers, WalletHub examined their plans and included the cost of buying an iPhone either on a two-year contract, unlocked, from Apple (AAPL), or from the carriers themselves. It then added the cost of carrier plans for a total cost of ownership over two years. It found that on the individual plan side, Sprint offers the cheapest options, costing customers $1,757 on an installment plan, assuming they use 3GB of data per month.
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For family plans, the results were mixed. T-Mobile (TMUS) customers who buy the smartphone from the carrier and use its installment plan will pay $3,828 over two years for four lines and 12GB of monthly data. If customers want an installment plan but would like to buy the iPhone 7 from Apple, Sprint takes the crown at $4,050 over the two-year period.
The findings are not all that surprising, since T-Mobile and Sprint (S), the smaller of the four major U.S. carriers, were among the first of the bunch to make a strong push for iPhone 7 buyers by offering free upgrade programs. AT&T and Verizon are also offering freebies on the iPhone 7 with slight variations among all the carriers in how they’re pitching the deals.
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Earlier on Monday, T-Mobile announced that iPhone 7 preorders had surpassed its sales records, indicating that sales have been strong at the carrier’s stores. Now with some hard figures—and a handy “cell phone savings calculator” to boot—it’s easier for customers to see exactly the kind of deal they’ll get from each carrier.
The iPhone 7 goes on sale on Friday.