On Signing 2-Year Contracts To Use Hand-Me-Down iPhone 3Gs
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’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)