We're enrolled in a no longer available AT&T plan that included a secondary phone option of
- shared family minutes, long distance, etc.
- $10 monthly per device
- $15 for 200MB data (with alerts when limit nears)
- No SMS
At the moment my daughter is on this plan, the boys are on H2O wireless. Thanks to typical carrier hidden fees and some SMS usage billed at extortionary rates** the average monthly cost is about $33.
I'd been planning to switch her to H2O wireless too, but after doing a bit of analysis I can see why AT&T discontinued the plan we have -- it's oddly cost-effective for someone with the discipline to control data use. (The latter requires a level of self control that excludes her brothers.)
Here's a rough cut at what a valuation looks like for staying on this plan over 2 years (with a new contract iPhone) vs. switching to H2O wireless:
|AT&T sneaky phone fee||-40|
|iPhone 5S 16GB initial fee||-200|
|Two year payments||-840|
|H2O plan cost||120*|
So compared to H2O wireless staying on this plan would mean:
- Pay an extra $510 over two years
- Get an iPhone 5S (list $650)
- Get enough data for location services, light email, iMessage, Facetime-audio
If we wanted an extra iPhone 5S her current plan would make sense. We don't, so I'm likely to switch her to H2O wireless when her contract expires - like her sibs. On the other hand, if we lose a phone it makes sense to add her back on this plan and get a new contract.
Again, I can see why AT&T discontinued this plan. It is oddly competitive with paygo options.
* As of today H2O wireless for our kids use pattern costs about $80 for two years - voice and SMS only. It used to cost $200 for two years, this $80 price is weird and seems unlikely to last. In fact I'm not sure I can even get this plan for her any more, I think it was an artifact of some pre-smartphone pricing.
** Most of her texting is via iMessage.