Type whatever you want in here, probably not golf-related stuff. I'll start.
Investigated the new AT&T Family Plan yesterday. Actually spent about 90 minutes doing it, because my mother-in-law may or may not want a smart phone (she's paying $15 right now to mooch off our minutes and texting, with a dumb flip phone).
Daughter is looking to either convert her iPhone 4S or get a new 5c to a full phone (currently acting like an iPod Touch).
$60 - 700 minutes, my line (we have 4300 in roll-over :P)
$30 - Unlimited texting, free mobile-to-mobile (that's part of why we have 4300 rollover :D)
$25 - My Data (2 GB - I use about 750 MB/mo)
$35 - My wife's iPhone line + her data (2 GB - about 600 MB/mo)
$10 - Mother-in-Law's line
$160 - Total (pre-taxes)
Current Plan with Two More Smart Phones:
Family Plan with my MiL getting 4S, Daughter getting new 5c:
$100 - Unlimited minutes, text, 10 GB data to share
$15 - My phone
$15 - Wife's phone
$15 - MiL's phone
$40 - Daughter's phone…
So it looks like a good deal… until you realize that as soon as you upgrade ANY of the currently "owned" phones, they go to $40/month for two years. So if at some point in the last two years everyone has a new phone:
Family Plan with 4 phones newer than two years:
$40 x 4
You can stay at the $15 rate if you use AT&T "Next" (their plan), but that spreads your payments out. For example, the 5c on an 18-month "Next" program is $21.15/month… for 26 months. So in other words, $21.15 * 26 = $549.90. The retail cost of an unlocked, no-SIM iPhone 5c? $549. Paying an extra $25/month for 24 months? $600 + $99 to "buy" right now.
So there's some good benefits to consider just purchasing your phone outright, because you can pay $160/month, have slightly more data (2.5 GB apiece as opposed to 2), have unlimited voice (we don't need it, obviously), and so on. But you have to have the up-front costs to buy your iPhones each time. If you wanted an iPhone 5S right now, $649 up front versus $199 + $600 (again a savings of $150).
So, even after 90 minutes, I'm still not sure.
P.S. In that sense, the Family Plan + AT&T Next makes sense then too, because you're basically getting a zero-interest loan: $21.15 * 26 = $550, so you're still saving the $150, but you're spreading out the payments for 26 months. If you can deal with having some weird overlaps where you're paying for a phone while having a new one (both on AT&T Next, perhaps), then it makes sense to do that I believe - it's like a 0% loan for the cost of a new phone.
Basically, it comes down to this:
$90 ($60 + $30) in current plan compares to $100 in Family Plan (+ more data)
$35/smart phone + up-front subsidized rate vs. $15/smart phone in new plan with either outright purchase or Next (same cost, different ways of paying).
So let's assume you want an iPhone 5S today:
Current: $35/month + $200/24 = $43.33/month for an iPhone 5S on current plan (base rate of $90/month, and one line pays $10 less since it's included).
Family: $25 + $15/month = $40 for 26 months for an iPhone 5S on AT&T Next (same almost to the penny as the next plan)
Family: $650/24 + $15 = $42.08 for 24 months if you buy the iPhone 5S outright (base rate of $100/month, all lines pay the $15).
In other words, they're basically the same; it'll depend on how many new phones we have at any given moment.