Adding a Third iPhone to An Existing Post-Paid "Mobile Share" Wireless Plan

The other day I was explaining to a friend how my son Jimmy ended up with the iPhone 4S that used to be my personal phone.  I thought that this explanation might be helpful to our readers who are considering a similar purchase.

Kathleen and I looked at the economics of buying the iPhone 5c for Jimmy.  Although the base configuration only costs $99.00, you have to take into account the device activation fees and monthly service fees in a typical mobile share wireless plan in order to determine the true cost of the phone.

On an AT&T 4GB Mobile Share Plan, the monthly cost is $40.00 per smartphone.  If adding another person did not push the group over the 4GB limit, the additional cost of purchasing a new iPhone would be:

  • $99.00 Retail Price of an iPhone 5c +
  • $36.00 Device Activation Fee +
  • ($40.00 x 24 months) Service Fees =
  • $1,095.00 plus taxes.

Since Jimmy is in elementary school, he really does not need continuous access to AT&T's voice and data network, or at least that access is not worth $40.00 per month to our family right now.

So, it makes much more sense to give him my iPhone 4S which I was otherwise planning to sell to Gazelle.  Jimmy can use the iPhone as an iPod Touch, whenever he is at home, in range of another WiFi network, or near enough to my iPhone to access Personal Hotspot.