Many of you may be wondering if you should buy your iPhone, Samsung, or other smartphone directly from Total Wireless or from some other retailer. The answer is, it depends on what is important to you. I wrote this article to help you understand the things you should consider before buying.
If you read smartphonematters.com or watch my videos you may know that I am a big fan of Bring Your Phone (BYOP) prepaid wireless plans and unlocked smartphones but some people may not have a phone to bring to to TotalWireless when they sign up and sometimes you can get a very good deal on an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone from totalwireless.com.
Price & Convenience
Buying your smartphone from Total Wireless can have a few advantages. First, you might get a really good deal on the phone. Compare Total Wireless’s full price on the phone to what you would pay for the phone if you bought it directly from Apple, Samsung, or Best Buy. Sometimes they offer iPhone or Galaxy models for hundreds of dollars less. You’ll save the most when you can combine a discounted phone with one of their phone and plan bundle promotions. Depending on the current promotion, you may save 15%, 20%, or 30% off when you buy a phone and plan together.
Second, aome people simply prefer the convenience of buying their smartphone directly from their wireless carrier. In fact most people in the US buy their phones from their wireless carrier. You know the phone is going to work with their service and theere is no need to visit another retailer or try and buy the phone you want unlocked.
When you buy an iPhone, Samsung, or other Android phone from Total Wireless, the phone is locked. This means you will not be able to use the phone with another wireless carrier other than Total Wireless. Total Wireless will unlock the phone for free after you meet the terms and conditions of their unlocking policy. Their unlocking policy states that after you use the phone on their network for 12 months they will unlock the phone. See their Unlocking Policy here.. Note that after even after they unlock the phone you may be able to use the phone with GSM/LTE carriers that use the AT&T or T-Mobile network, you will still have to check your phone’s IMEI/MEID (serial number) to see if it is eligible for use with any wireless carrier that use the CMDA/LTE carriers that use the Verizon or Sprint networks.
Next, you may find that Total Wireless does not offer the specific iPhone or Galaxy model that you want at a given time. So for example, if you were looking for an iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy S7 those models might not be available. And even if you find the model you are interested in, they may only offer the phone with the smallest storage capacity. For example, while Total Wireless does offer the iPhone X, they only have the 64GB model and not the 256GB model. Finally, they may not have the full choice of color options that the phone is available in.
When you buy a locked smartphone from Total Wireless, you are making a commitment to stick with the company for a year assuming you want to be able to use that phone with another service. One of the biggest benefits of prepaid wireless service is that there are no contracts or lock-in. You can leave the service at any time. If you buy one of their phones you are giving up that benefit. But on the other hand, you may be getting a great discount, a discount that will cover the cost of months of wireless service. You need to decide if this is worth it for you. Many people stick with the same prepaid wireless carrier for years without needing to change. So in that case it might be worth it for you.
For example in December 2017, I bought a iPhone SE and $25 plan from Apple for $108! The same phone from Apple cost $359. That was a savings of $251 dollars. That is enough to pay for about ten $25 monthly plans. Add to that the plan included in the bundle and I bought the iPhone SE and could have 11 months of service for about the same price as buying the iPhone SE from directly from Apple.