Competition between carriers offering unsubsidized iPhones, contract-free data plans and other options keeps getting hotter. AT&T Mobility has taken another step in this direction, and now offers its Mobile Share plans with no-contract pricing. Mobile Share Value Plans are now available, promising to save AT&T subscribers $15 per month.
The new plans officially launched on December 8th. AT&T seems to be directly competing with T-Mobile's recent offerings, which remove subsidized devices from the equation. With AT&T Next, customers can choose to purchase a new iPhone outright with no contract or sign up for a monthly installment payment plan.
There's no need to wait until Black Friday for an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c sale. AT&T is currently offering one of the best deals on both of Apple's new handsets. You can nab a 16GB iPhone 5s for $100 or a 16GB iPhone 5c for $50. That's 50% off the suggested retail price of the iPhone 5s. As usual, these deals require that you sign a new two-year contract with AT&T.
A lot of big box retailers such as Walmart are also offering deals on Apple's latest generation of products, but these deals normally involve some kind of gift card rebate. On Black Friday, Walmart will be giving away a $75 gift card with the purchase of an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, and the iPad Air will be $20 off at Target. The Target iPad Air deal also includes a free $100 gift card, essentially making the the new tablet only $379. This is the best Black Friday iPad deal that has been announced so far.
Big changes are coming for customers who sign up to start AT&T Mobility service later this month. The mobile carrier has decided to nix its traditional service plans once and for all. Existing customers will not be affected unless they actively change their current subscription plan. So what exactly will AT&T offer instead of standard per-device monthly service?
AT&T began offering its Mobile Share plans last summer, which allow customers to share a data allotment among several devices with unlimited talk and text. Each device is charged a monthly fee on top of the pooled data price. The more data that is purchased the cheaper it becomes to connect each individual device to the plan.
All four major U.S. carriers are now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5c. You can pre-order the colorful handset from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint or Apple for $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB). T-Mobile is also accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5c through T-Mobile.com. The 16GB model is zero dollars down, plus 24 monthly payments of $22. The 32GB model is $99 down, plus 24 monthly payments of $22.91. The iPhone 5c is also launching in ten other countries today, and international carriers like Rogers in Canada have already started taking "reservations" for the new phone.
The iPhone 5c is available in green, white, yellow, red and blue. It is powered by Apple's A6 chip and boasts an 8MP iSight camera and 4-inch Retina display. It is also LTE capable and includes all of Apple's popular features like Siri and FaceTime.
It's official. Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will begin shipping on September 20, 2013. Apple announced the new handsets at its press event today in Cupertino, California. The iPhone 5s will cost $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model on a two year contract from AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. T-Mobile customers can nab a contract free version of the new Apple phone for $549 (16GB) and $649 (32GB).
The 8GB iPhone 4s is now free on-contract and the iPhone 5c is $99 for the 16GB model, and $199 for the 32GB model. The iPhone 5 has been discontinued. The iPhone 5s will be available in black, silver and gold, and the iPhone 5c will be available in green, white, yellow, red and blue.
Even more evidence points to a September 20 release date for the Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C this fall. Not only has T-Mobile blacked out vacation dates for employees around this time, now BGR confirms AT&T has done the same. The second half of September will also be reserved for the iPhone, with no other high-profile devices seeing initial release.
This comes as no surprise, as AT&T has blacked out employee vacation dates around each iPhone launch since the very beginning in 2007. Back then, the carrier had an exclusive deal with Apple to offer the iPhone stateside. Apple's next generation iPhone media event is widely expected to occur on September 10. Additional reports have confirmed a September 20 release date in Japan and other countries outside of the US.
The announcement of T-Mobile's Jump device upgrade program has made some waves in the wireless market. Now AT&T has launched Next, which promises to allow smartphone and tablet owners to get an annual upgrade. For the most part, iPhones are now subsidized by AT&T in exchange for a two-year contract.
The subscriber pays $200 up front for the 16 GB iPhone 5, contributing to the purchase price. When it's time to upgrade, the old device is owned by the customer and the process starts all over again. AT&T Next operates differently. Participants in the program will pay monthly installments to cover the cost of the phone. There is no down payment at the beginning of service.
The original iPhone data carrier continues to improve its LTE and 4G service with numerous investments in network technology across the United States. AT&T has recently announced 4G LTE service in 30 new markets across the country, steadily rolling out the fastest data service to more customers.
Although Verizon Wireless is ahead in the coverage game with more markets on LTE nationwide, speed tests are different. AT&T dominates as the fastest mobile data service, according to independent tests by Consumer Reports, PC World, and Rootmetrics. So where can AT&T subscribers begin enjoying these fast LTE speeds on their iOS devices?
AT&T Mobility delivers government-issued Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 owners on its network. The capability to receive these alerts was added with a recent Carrier Settings Update. There are three types of alerts, two of which iPhone owners can turn off.
To turn off WEA on your device navigate to Settings -> Notifications -> Government Alerts. Choose ON or OFF for AMBER Alerts and Emergency Alerts.
Remember the old Emergency Broadcast System that would interrupt your favorite radio station or TV show? Fast forward to 2013. AT&T customers with an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S running iOS 6.1 or later are set to begin receiving government-issued safety messages with the next carrier settings update.
The software update will be automatically delivered to your iPhone, after which the message "Carrier Settings Update: new settings required for your device have been installed” will appear. The alerts are part of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). Initially your iPhone will be set by default to receive all Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).