How to pay for iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus: Full Retail price, Subsidies or Monthly payments?

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 11 Sep 2015

AT&T Verizon T-Mobile
Over the past year, wireless providers have really changed how you buy an iPhone. For the first time ever, customers now have the option to purchase a phone with no money down and a monthly payment plan at all four carriers. Even Apple has jumped into the payment plan bandwagon, offering a new iPhone Upgrade Program that promises a new iPhone every year. There is a wide variety of plans and pricing options so will break them down here for your convenience.

Full Retail

The easiest way to purchase a phone is full retail — you walk into any carrier store or Apple store and pay for the full cost of the phone. You own it outright and have no contracts. This freedom comes with a price as you must pay for the full value of the phone up front. With prices on the entry-level iPhone 6s starting at $649, this is a costly option.

Model Capacity Pricing
iPhone 6s 16GB $649
iPhone 6s 64GB $749
iPhone 6s 128GB $849
iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $749
iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $849
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $949

Subsidized Pricing with Two-Year Contract

Most people are used to buying an iPhone at a discounted price in exchange for signing a two-year contract. Carriers are moving away from these subsidized plans for a variety of reasons. AT&T and Sprint reportedly are still allowing new customers to sign up for subsidized plans, while Verizon only is offering this type of discount pricing to current customers who are grandfathered into the subsidized plans. If you are on a carrier still offering subsidies with two-year contracts, here is what you will pay for the next iPhone:

Model Capacity Pricing
iPhone 6s 16GB $199
iPhone 6s 64GB $299
iPhone 6s 128GB $399
iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $299
iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $399
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $499

Monthly Payment Plans

Instead of subsidies, major carriers are now offering payment plans that allow you pay for a phone over a 12-month, 18-month or 24-month period depending on the carrier. There’s no money down in these plans so you can walk out the door with a new phone with minimal damage to your wallet. With most of these payment plans, you are required to pay off most, if not all, of the existing phone before you can upgrade to a new one.


Verizon Wireless 2015 logo

Verizon’s payment plans are moderately priced with prices starting at approximately $27 monthly for the 16GB iPhone 6s and $31 for the 16GB iPhone 6s Plus. The carrier basically takes the price of the phone and divides it across 24 monthly payments. The terms of the agreement are straightforward, but strict with upgrades. Before you can qualify for a new payment plan, you must pay off your first one. You can either stick with the same phone for two years or by paying a lump sum that’ll cover the balance of your phone. Once you pay for your phone, it is yours to keep or sell.

To entice people to adopt these new payment plans, Verizon is waiving the activation fee when you buy a phone with financing. It also is discounting the monthly line charge, reducing it to $20 per month from the $40 you’ll pay on other plans.


AT&T Logo

AT&T Next offers reasonable pricing with flexible payment terms that allow you upgrade your phone every 12, 18 or 24 months. The carrier offers early upgrades, allowing you to choose to buy a new phone after 12 months on a 20-month payment plan, 18 months on a 24-month payment plan or 24 months on a 30-month payment plan. When you want to upgrade, you can choose to pay the remaining installments or turn in your existing phone and AT&T will waive all the remaining payments. If you pay off the entire installment plan, then the phone is yours to keep. For those who want to lower their monthly payments, AT&T allows you to put down a 30 percent down payment. Similar to Verizon, AT&T also offer discounts on monthly line charges, but it does not waive the activation fee.

AT&T Next is available for all iPhone models and storage capacities. The chart below uses an iPhone 6s 16GB for comparison.

AT&T Next 12 AT&T Next 18 AT&T Next 24
Available Online and in Store Online and in Store Online and in Store
Initial iPhone cost $0 (Plus tax) $0 (Plus tax) $0 (Plus tax)
Activation fee $15 $15 $15
Monthly installments 20 payments of $32.45 24 payments of $27.05 30 payments of $21.64
Monthly Mobile Share Value Savings Save $15-$25 per month Save $15-$25 per month Save $15-$25 per month
Eligible for upgrade After 12 payments After 18 payments After 24 payments

Sprint Easy PaySprint logo

Sprint offers Easy Pay, an affordable payment plan that lets you purchase a phone for $0 down and pay for it in 24-monthly installments. Pricing for the iPhone 6s starts at $27 for the 16GB model with an early upgrade option that costs an extra $10 per month. With the early upgrade option, you can buy a new iPhone after only 12 months, but you are required to turn your phone into Sprint.

Model Capacity Monthly Pricing
iPhone 6s 16GB $27.09
iPhone 6s 64GB $31.25
iPhone 6s 128GB $32.25
iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $31.25
iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $35.42
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $40

T-Mobile Equipment Installment Plan (EIP)


T-Mobile was the first carrier to ditch contracts and switch to an Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). With this program, you can purchase a 16GB iPhone 6s or 6s Plus with $0 upfront and 24 monthly payments. If you purchase a higher capacity device, you are required to place a down payment of $99 for the 64GB model and $199 for the 128GB version. Similar to Sprint, T-Mobile has an early upgrade program called Jump! that costs $10 per month and allows you to upgrade early. You must trade in your existing iPhone and you will receive credit for all remaining device payments, up to half of its original cost.

T-Mobile is offering a limited time incentive that’ll lower the price of the 16GB iPhone 6s to $20 a month for 18 months with JUMP! On Demand. After 18 months, you can turn in your phone and walk away without paying T-Mobile another dime. You also can pay a small amount to keep your iPhone. In the case of the iPhone 6s, you can pay $20 for 18 months and then add $164 to keep the phone for a total cost of $524. This is a limited time offer that starts during the pre-orders and ends at an undisclosed time.


Another option for obtaining the iPhone is a leasing program. Under the terms of the program, you pay a monthly fee for your device and you can turn it in for a new after a short amount of time.

Sprint iPhone Forever

Besides monthly installments, Sprint also has a leasing plan that allows you to pay monthly for a phone and upgrade to the latest iPhone when it becomes available. From now until December 31st, Sprint is offering a discount that’ll reduce the monthly cost when you trade in your existing phone. When you bring a smartphone as a trade-in, you can pay $15 per month instead of the regular price of $22 per month. This pricing is for an iPhone 6s 16GB,

Model Capacity Pricing
iPhone 6s 16GB $22 for 21 months ($15.00 for 22 months with trade-in)
iPhone 6s 64GB $26.77 for 21 months ($19.77 for 22 months with trade-in)
iPhone 6s 128GB $31.53 for 21 months ($24.53 for 22 months with trade-in)
iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $26 for 21 months ($19.00 for 22 months with trade-in)
iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $30.77 for 21 months ($23.77 for 22 months with trade-in)
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB TBD

iPhone Upgrade Program

Apple is joining the carriers in offering a payment plan that’ll allow you to pruchase an iPhone with zero down and 24-monthly payments. The Apple program works as a lease, whcih allows you get a new iPhone each year as long as you turn your existing one in. You also have the option to pay for the phone over the full 24-months. The program provides you with an unlocked phone so you can choose the carrier and rate plan you desire. The monthly payment also includes AppleCare+ to cover your device in case it is broken. Pricing is reasonable with the iPhone 6s starting at $32.41 per month and the iPhone 6s Plus for $36.58 monthly. The Upgrade Program will be available at Apple Retail Stores in the US. Customer who want to purchase an iPhone via this plan can make an in-store reservation online, starting at 12:01 a.m. PDT on September 12.

Model Capacity Pricing
iPhone 6s 16GB $32.41
iPhone 6s 64GB $36.58
iPhone 6s 128GB $40.75
iPhone 6s Plus 16GB $36.58
iPhone 6s Plus 64GB $40.75
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB $44.91

How will you purchase your iPhone?

With all these available options, how are you going to purchase you phone? Will you opt for a contact, pay full retails or sign up for one of the monthly payment plans. Let us know which payment option you will select and why in the comments.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Buyer’s Guide

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