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 recruits two Google Satellite Executives
- Nike unveils new Nike-exclusive ‘Apple Watch NikeLab’
- Prince single ‘Deliverance’ disappears from Apple Music
- Apple releases 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report
- Condé Nast Traveler reveals cover photo shot with iPhone 7 Plus
- Facebook integrating Apple Music into Messenger app
- China meeting with Apple to discuss concerns over live streaming apps
- New Prince single available on iTunes, Apple Music; EP available for pre-order
- Apple makes iWork apps, iMovie and GarageBand free to download
- iDevices Wall Outlet
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartSocket for Apple HomeKit
- Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
- FiiO i1 Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- Blue Ella Headphones
- Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation)
- AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon Headphones
- ExoLens PRO with Optics by ZEISS Wide-Angle Lens Kit
- Blue Sadie Headphones
- Circle with Disney Parental Control and Internet Filtering System
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10