TODAY | July 18, 2013
>>> meantime, trending on yahoo! is a no contract smartphone deal right for you? is a lot of people asking those questions these days after at&t became the latest carrier to offer phones free of contracts. let's get sharon's view on this. nbc's personal finance correspondent.
>> a lot of people hate these contracts. is this a good deal for consumers?
>> you don't want to be locked into a contract, this could be a great deal. no contract, no money down. you don't have to pay contracting fees, upgrade fees.
>> but the difference is you have to pay the full cost of the hardware itself. is that a good idea?
>> you're not paying a full cost . you're pagan installment plan . this installment plan could be 15 to $50 a month. if you have apple iphone 5, it will be $390 over 12 months. that's a $660 phone. it's a full cost but not subsidized as much as it would be in a two-year plan.
>> so you do save money, it sounds like.
>> the phone you're paying more for. it's $350 up front. if you want to switch your phone, you have to pay that early termination fee . that can be as much as $325. what you have to do is really calculate how much you're going to want this phone. do you like the carrier? do you like the phone? if you're going to want to switch after a year, you may want to consider not being locked into a contract.
>> will math be required on