So you’re thinking of buying Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 14. Like thousands of people, you’re likely to gravitate towards buying the phone from your carrier, which has always been the best way to save. But is this still the case?
In WalletHub cell phone savings calculator(Opens in a new window) It allows you to compare the initial cost of a new phone as well as the monthly fee, to see how much it will cost for the next two years of your life. In the chart below, it provides a full breakdown of 128GB iPhone 14 pricing for each carrier, as well as all MVNOs that use carrier networks.
These types of comparisons are not simple, because everyone has different needs – eg individual plans versus family plans. Some buy the phone with a payment plan, while others buy their phones in advance. Some people even buy their phones directly from Apple via an installment plan. WalletHub also splits these costs.
If you feel you have to stick with the top three US carriers, and you only have one phone, the cheapest way to go is with T-Mobile. A carrier installment plan with the purchase of the new iPhone 14 will cost $2,173 over two years, which is cheaper than buying the phone up front without a contract. You can save a dollar more if you buy the phone from Apple on their installment plan (Apple’s iPhone Carrier payment program) instead, which allows users to upgrade to a new iPhone every year and includes full AppleCare+ coverage.
But you can save more than an extra $659 by buying your iPhone 14 outright and going with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), the kind of carrier that doesn’t have its own network. In this case, the cheapest option is to use Visible: For the no-contract option, the total cost including the phone over two years is $1,513. It’s by far the cheapest MVNO using these criteria—the cheapest after that is Straight Talk at $1,817.
Visible is owned by Verizon and uses the Verizon Wireless network of towers. Straight Talk uses towers from all three major carriers and is now Verizon-owned. But you don’t always get 5G coverage with an MVNO. This is reserved more for direct carrier customers.
Family plans are pretty similar when it comes to the best carriers, with T-Mobile offering the best prices when you get the iPhone 14 in installments. The price savings when you jump into a discounted family plan with MVNOs that have four or more lines is only a little better, at less than $300 per line over two years — but to get that, you have to use Cricket Wireless (an AT&T owned company). MVNO). Again, this will only save money if you buy the phone up front, which isn’t always an option for people.
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Here is the complete infographic of WalletHub(Opens in a new window)which also shows that real savings come from using old phones with the above mentioned Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), depending on individual (visual) or family (cricket) plan.
For more information, read Best Cheap Phone Plans for 2022 and Virtual Carriers Beat AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon on Customer Satisfaction.
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