Want to save $200+ a year? Don’t switch to the iPhone 7

By on September 9, 2016


If you purchased an iPhone 6, an iPhone 6 Plus (or another smartphone) two years ago, you likely took advantage of the tail end of the two-year contract cycle. Phased out in favor of no-contract plans during 2015, large mobile service providers like Verizon and AT&T no longer offer subsidized prices on new phones.

As you near the end of your contract cycle this year, you will have the opportunity to upgrade to a new model, like the iPhone 7 or Samsung S7. However, that’s going to require you purchasing the phone outright, either at full price immediately (at least $650) or at full price spread over two years in your bill ($30+ a month for 18 to 24 months).

However, you have another great option; don’t upgrade at all, keep your current smartphone for another year and lower your bill by switching to a no-contract plan. There’s a item on your current cell phone bill called “line access fee.” During your two-year contract, you were paying $40 a month per smartphone (assuming you were on Verizon, AT&T or Sprint).


Now that your contract is completed, you have the option of switching to a no-contract plan and reducing that line access fee between 40 to 60 percent per month for each smartphone on your plan. (All smartphones on the plan have to be out of contract to get the price reduction across the board.)

Here’s how everything breaks down for the three major carriers:

Verizon: (Link)

  • Monthly Access Fee under a two-year contract plan: $40
  • Monthly Access Fee under a no-contract plan: $20

AT&T: (Link)

  • Monthly Access Fee under a two-year contract plan: $40
  • Monthly Access Fee under a no-contract Mobile Share Value Plan (300MB-6GB): $25
  • Monthly Access Fee under a no-contract Mobile Share Value Plan (10GBB-50GB): $15

Sprint: (Link)

  • Monthly Access Fee under a two-year contract plan: $40
  • Monthly Access Fee under a no-contract Family Share plan: $15

To get these reduced prices, you can switch plans online or call your carrier to switch to a no-contract plan. Savings for a married couple could reach $600 per year with two smartphones. Families with mulitple smartphones will be able to save even more, potentially more than $1,000 per year if you have four or more smartphones on your plan!

Warning: If you don’t switch to a no-contract plan, your mobile service provider won’t do it automatically for you. They will continue charging you that $40-per-month fee indefinitely, even though you have fulfilled the terms of your contract. 

About Mike Flacy

By day, I'm the Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut in addition to being the content manager for Steve's Digicams and High-Def Digest. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!


  1. Robb Irrgang

    September 9, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    So, uhm. I just combed my current monthly bill (last month under contract) and I have no monthly access fees on a grandfathered plan that started with the OG iPhone. Is this something that was added later?

    It seems like this suggestion only works for part of the grandfathered users, maybe?

    • Mike Flacy

      September 10, 2016 at 7:40 am

      It may only be limited to folks on shared plans. I don’t recall if it was around when the original iPhone came out, but it’s been going on since 2012 at least.

      My “line access fee” (as noted on my Verizon bill) is $40 per month, per line.

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