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Switching for an iPhone
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nonhuman
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Aug 18, 2007, 07:29 PM
 
Jessi and I currently have a family plan with Verizon. I want to get her an iPhone for her birthday. I don't particularly want to get an iPhone for myself (want to wait until the 2nd gen, hopefully 3G one). As far as I can tell from the AT&T website, you can get a family plan where everyone has an iPhone, or you can get a family plan where no one has an iPhone. Does anyone know if there's some third option I'm not seeing?

Also, how does it work porting your old number to an iPhone? I assume it's pretty simple since the activation part was done by Apple, but I was hoping someone who's done it could let me know.

One other question: since I don't particularly want an iPhone for myself and it looks like that would exclude us from an AT&T family plan, I was thinking that I would go with T-Mobile. It would be much cheaper that way (getting two iPhones and the iPhone family plan is barely more expensive than getting an iPhone and another non-iPhone with AT&T). Does anyone know if there would be any complications with splitting up our family plan to two different carriers?
     
memory-minus
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Aug 19, 2007, 08:13 AM
 
Go to an AT&T store. Sign up for a family plan and pick out a phone for yourself and a freebie phone for Jessi, port your numbers, all that. Once you get everything activated/ported/etc., walk across the mall to the Apple Store, buy an iPhone, take it home and activate it using the option to replace an existing AT&T phone (this will be very clear during the activation process). You'll have to add the $20/month unlimited data plan for it, of course, but otherwise it will work out just fine.

It's buried and I don't feel like searching for it right now, but basically if you sign up for an iPhone Family Plan you can add additional non-iPhone lines for $9.95 a month each. You COULD just do the iPhone upfront along with a phone for yourself, as long as you went to an AT&T store that stocks them, but my method above nets you a backup phone (the freebie one) that you can swap your SIM into if something happens to either of your phones. If you're going to be signing a 2-year contract regardless, you might as well get the subsidized phones. Plus your phone can be replaced with an iPhone at any point down the line.
     
nonhuman  (op)
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Aug 19, 2007, 10:21 AM
 
Now that looks like a fantastic idea. Although what I'd probably do is buy the plan and phones through Amazon.com and get a deal where I actually make money off the phone (-$50 to get a KRZR right now).

Which package is the right data plan? I'm looking at the website and seeing a few options, but it's not entirely clear which would be the right one. The only one I see that's $20 is the SmartPhone Connect Unlimited w/ Xpress Mail. And they claim the only phone it will work with is the Cingular 3125. Do you know that this will work with the iPhone?

It's amazing, once you start doing the math, how cheap the iPhone plans actually are. If I do that, it comes out to about $99.95/mo (I'm currently paying $91.97/mo with no data plan and certainly no iPhone so it's a pretty good deal). If I just got two iPhones and the iPhone family plan it would cost only $10 more at $109.99/mo and then I get an iPhone for myself as well. A plain old family plan (w/ a messaging package and insurance on the phones) would be $79.95. So the data for two iPhones is only an extra $30.

The only question that remains is if I want to be on AT&T when I won't have an iPhone. Really I like T-Mobile much more as a business, and going with AT&T for my phone as well (regardless of which option I go with) will cost me more. It's really only the ease with which I'd be able to switch to an iPhone in the future that would make AT&T at all attractive to me, and I'm sure that in the next 6-12 months we'll start seeing phones that actually compete with the iPhone that maybe I'd want instead.
     
Jawbone54
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Aug 19, 2007, 11:43 AM
 
I just had a horrible experience with AT&T...

I decided that I'd go ahead and pick up an iPhone Monday. I spent 3 hours in the AT&T store trying to get separated from my business plan (my workplace has about 8 staffers on the plan). They wouldn't allow me to unless my boss called in and told them it was permissible, so my boss called and released me. 2 hours later, the people at AT&T (not the store) said that no one had called and they had no record of him calling. My boss would NOT lie about it.

I had an appointment, so I had to leave after (very patiently) waiting for things to be resolved. I called AT&T Customer Service on the way home, and talked to a lady on the phone. She said no one had called. I told her my boss had called. She said, "Sir...someone has to call, you can't just change the plan. I said, "MA'AM...HE DID CALL!" She ignored me and again said, "Just let us know when your boss has called us."

I finally got angry enough to sound upset, and told her, "Ma'am, this is why people around the country have begun to hate AT&T. You're the largest company by far, so you think you can treat people like they're idiots and don't have to worry about it. We've threatened over and over again to cancel our account with AT&T because of how many times you've been rude to us. My boss CALLED and would not lie about it, so don't even think about telling me once more that no one called."

She said, "Okay, sir, have all of your questions been answered today?" I replied, "No they have not." She finished up with, "Thank you sir, have a pleasant day."

I spent another hour at the store the next day, and things were never cleared up. It wasn't the people in the store's fault. I'm friends with the guy who was helping me, and he was just as frustrated as I was. He told me that he has trouble with them being rude to him too, and he's the store's manager.

The only reason I stay with AT&T is that my entire family and the vast majority of my friends use it, along with my workplace. This makes calling pretty much free. If I could ever switch, I would, but it's not going to be anytime soon.

Anyways, I might be getting a Blackberry Curve instead, since I don't need to get a separate account for that. Additionally, my business might be willing to pay for the additional costs ($49 a month) for the Blackberry plan. I might get an iPhone one day, but it will be a few generations down the line. The different between the first-gen iPhone and fourth or fifth might be as great as that between the original iPod and the video iPod.
     
nonhuman  (op)
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Aug 19, 2007, 11:50 AM
 
Yeah, I'm not really a fan of AT&T, which is a big part of why my initial plan was to put myself on T-Mobile. But the iPhone is tempting. There's a very good chance that I'd want one before my 2 year T-Mobile contract ended. On the other hand, I could always just get one and unlock it with a Turbo SIM card and use it on T-Mobile... Or I could get an OpenMoko, or Meizu's iPhone ripoff or something...
     
shifuimam
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Aug 20, 2007, 09:38 AM
 
Keep in mind that this is your cell phone you're talking about - as in, something you use frequently and daily, and something that can be considered a lifeline in an emergency (car accident, plane going down, being held up at a bank, etc.). If AT&T has crap service in your area, or you've had terrible experiences with their customer service, don't switch just so you can have more Apple hardware. The last thing you would want is to pay an early termination charge with T-Mobile, sign a two-year agreement with AT&T, and find out a few months later you made a colossal (and overpriced) mistake.
Sell or send me your vintage Mac things if you don't want them.
     
nonhuman  (op)
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Aug 20, 2007, 09:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Keep in mind that this is your cell phone you're talking about - as in, something you use frequently and daily, and something that can be considered a lifeline in an emergency (car accident, plane going down, being held up at a bank, etc.). If AT&T has crap service in your area, or you've had terrible experiences with their customer service, don't switch just so you can have more Apple hardware. The last thing you would want is to pay an early termination charge with T-Mobile, sign a two-year agreement with AT&T, and find out a few months later you made a colossal (and overpriced) mistake.
Oh, no doubt. Fortunately I live in a metropolitan area so good service is available from just about everyone. My only concern with AT&T (and this applies to T-Mobile as well) is that their signals aren't as good at penetrating buildings. I used to use T-Mobile, but my phone would never work inside the house, I'd have to go outside. When I started applying for jobs and absolutely needed to have reliable phone service indoors I switched to Verizon. I've been with them ever since and haven't had a problem. However now T-Mobile offers their [email protected] service so even if my T-Mobile phone didn't get good reception in the house I could make VoIP calls over our wireless network.
     
Buckaroo
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Aug 20, 2007, 10:06 AM
 
BTW, it is possible that as soon as you start playing with the iPhone, you'll be sucked in and want one immediately.

You don't have to get the family plan right away. Just buy the iPhone, and sign up with iTunes. While signing up, or later, you can select the family plan via the web site.

I was going to wait until version 2 but I couldn't wait that long. It is a fantastic phone.
     
nonhuman  (op)
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Aug 20, 2007, 10:35 AM
 
I've played with a number of iPhones, and you're right: I want one. I want one more every time I play with one. And if I was living in the same house as one it might just break my will power. But one of the reasons I want to wait is that I want HSDPA not GSM.
     
Jawbone54
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Aug 20, 2007, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Keep in mind that this is your cell phone you're talking about - as in, something you use frequently and daily, and something that can be considered a lifeline in an emergency (car accident, plane going down, being held up at a bank, etc.). If AT&T has crap service in your area, or you've had terrible experiences with their customer service, don't switch just so you can have more Apple hardware. The last thing you would want is to pay an early termination charge with T-Mobile, sign a two-year agreement with AT&T, and find out a few months later you made a colossal (and overpriced) mistake.
QFT

     
Art Vandelay
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Aug 20, 2007, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Which package is the right data plan? I'm looking at the website and seeing a few options, but it's not entirely clear which would be the right one. The only one I see that's $20 is the SmartPhone Connect Unlimited w/ Xpress Mail. And they claim the only phone it will work with is the Cingular 3125. Do you know that this will work with the iPhone?
I didn't see this answered anywhere... There's a specific iPhone data plan. You'll only see it on Apple's iPhone info page and through iTunes when you activate.

FWIW, I've always had excellent customer service with ATT Wireless, Cingular, and now ATT.
Vandelay Industries
     
nonhuman  (op)
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Aug 20, 2007, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
I didn't see this answered anywhere... There's a specific iPhone data plan. You'll only see it on Apple's iPhone info page and through iTunes when you activate.

FWIW, I've always had excellent customer service with ATT Wireless, Cingular, and now ATT.
I realize that, but memory-minus was claiming that you could get any old phone with any old plan, add a $20 data plan, and put your SIM card in an iPhone and have it work just fine. I'm sure this is probably true, especially as we know that after unlocking an iPhone with a Turbo SIM card you can use it on any GSM/EDGE network, but I'm looking for more details on his specific experiences with this.
     
Art Vandelay
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Aug 20, 2007, 01:24 PM
 
No, you misunderstood his post. He said go to get a standard family plan with standard phones. Then go buy an iPhone and activate it. When you activate it in iTunes, you'll have the option to replace one of the existing phones on the plan. Then you just add the iPhone data plan to your existing plan. The replaced standard phone is now a backup phone. You can take the SIM card from either the iPhone or your other standard phone and use it if something were to happen to your active phones.
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