On Signing 2-Year Contracts To Use Hand-Me-Down iPhone 3Gs
Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So an AT&T customer shows up at an AT&T Store with a first-generation iPhone and a hand-me-down iPhone 3G—a common enough scenario this week given that quite a few people are giving up their 3G units for the iPhone 3GS. “I’d like to upgrade the old iPhone to the new one,” the customer says, handing over two phones. “Sure,” says AT&T, “we can do that. But you’ll have to sign a brand new two-year service agreement.” “Wait, what?” the customer asks, “you’re not giving me a phone, I’m bringing my own, so why do I have to commit to two years of service?” “Sorry,” says AT&T, “that’s Apple’s policy.”
Such was the case over the past day as we went through the process of attempting to transform a 2007 iPhone owner into an iPhone 3G user. We were familiar with the obvious upgrade charges—the fees, the $10 additional data charge, and the $5 additional charge for text messaging—and we were willing to pay them to AT&T for a year. The goal was to let the existing customer spend that year using a hand-me-down iPhone 3G, paying $200 extra ($900 total) for faster service, and then switch her over to the inevitable 2010 iPhone. But that plan wasn’t going to work if a two-year commitment was required, and it made almost as much sense to get a brand new iPhone 3G at full subsidy instead.
Interestingly, AT&T claimed that this mandatory contract policy only applies to Apple’s products, not to other self-supplied hardware, for whatever reason. Could the issue be subsidies? No; the old iPhone 3G’s subsidy had been paid off when we upgraded to a 3GS, paid the higher than normal price, the early upgrader fee, the activation fee, and signed a brand new two-year contract. So the iPhone 3G was free and clear, ready to be handed down or even sold.
Since it can’t be handed down, perhaps “sold” is the way to go. Given the choice between signing another two-year AT&T contract, or unlocking the phone and selling it to an overseas buyer for use on a different network, it’s tempting to go the latter route.
Readers, what have you done with your iPhone or iPhone 3G units after upgrading to 3GS? Have you sold them, handed them down, or just tossed them in a drawer? What has your service provider tried to do if you’ve tried the hand-me-down route? We’d like to know.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple hires radio exec for iTunes Radio
- Apps: 12 Days of Gifts, The Animal Alphabet Singers, Drawing Together + FIFA
- China Labor Watch seeks investigation of Pegatron deaths
- Dec. 20 deadline for CES Best of Show Submissions
- Report: Forstall advising startups, involved in philanthropy
- Lightning developer leaves Apple, redesigns Square Reader
- China Mobile opens iPhone preorders on Dec. 12
- Apple, others call for govt. surveillance reform
- New apps aim to fix iOS 7 wallpaper issues
- iLounge Weekly coming Monday, new giveaway
- Kanex Foldable iDevice Stand
- Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 5/5s
- Belkin APEX360 Advanced Protection Case for iPad mini
- STM Grip 2 for iPad Air
- CM4 Slite Card Case for iPhone 5c
- Newer Technology NuGuard KX for iPad Air + iPad mini
- The Joy Factory aXtion Bold for iPad Air
- OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPad Air + iPad mini with Retina display
- Tabu Lumen TL800 App Enabled LED Color Smart Bulb
- Wren V5BT Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
- Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac
- iMessages come in from email address instead of phone number
- Whether to include specific apps in iCloud backups
- Passcode entry field not appearing on iPhone
- Custom ringtones assignments don’t sync to iCloud
- Resuming incomplete iCloud backups
- Adding multiple photos to a Shared Photo Stream
- Quality of videos sent via Messages
- Text messages being delivered to wrong iPhone
- Problems logging in to iTunes Store