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Verizon and AT&T give you discounts on monthly bills if you choose the installment plan, known as Edge or Next. T-Mobile requires all customers to pay full price, so it has already baked in the discounts. With T-Mobile, to upgrade before your phone is fully paid off, you'll need to pay $10 a month extra for Jump, which also gives you insurance for loss and damage.
Although the discounts are typically less than the subsidies you're forgoing, it's the reverse for plans with at least 10 gigabytes of data. So big families sharing lots of data are probably better off with a full-price plan. That's also the case if you don't need a high-end phone, as the monthly fees for voice, text and data services factor in the costs of subsidizing the most expensive phones.
Otherwise, you're better off with a subsidized phone. But be sure to upgrade right at the two-year mark, or you'll pay more overall in monthly service fees without getting the benefits of subsidies.
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