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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > How do you switch iPhones?

How do you switch iPhones?
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kman42
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Jun 9, 2009, 12:22 PM
 
My wife and I both have 3G iPhones, but mine is 16gb and hers is 8gb. I'm going to be upgrading to the 3Gs in July, but she can't upgrade without the subsidy penalty until March, so I'd like to give her my 16gb 3G phone and sell her 8gb phone. I know I can just restore the 16gb phone and then re-install from her backup, but I'm not sure when to switch the SIM cards. Do I do this before the restore or after? Does it matter?

thanks!
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dpicardi
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Jun 9, 2009, 12:53 PM
 
I also plan to upgrade from the original iphone to a 3Gs...what happens to my original one when I transfer the service to the new one? Does it become a brick or will I at least be able to use it as normal over a wifi network?

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kman42  (op)
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Jun 9, 2009, 01:04 PM
 
I think you can use it as normal over a wifi network. I sold my original iPhones for a hefty sum when I upgraded to the 3G's. I think people were reselling them as unlocked phones or using them as iPod Touches. Just wipe the phone with the secure erase function and yank out the SIM card.
     
dpicardi
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Jun 9, 2009, 01:16 PM
 
Thanks. I don't think I can sell it for much and frankly what I could get for it would not replace the utility of having an amazing remote/mouse/keyboard for my ATV and Mac Mini. I just want to make sure it will work.
     
kman42  (op)
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Jun 10, 2009, 09:15 AM
 
This thread got sidetracked very quickly. Anyone have an answer to my original question?
     
ghporter
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Jun 10, 2009, 09:46 AM
 
Have you asked your local AT&T store? It should be as simple as some system configuration and swapping SIM cards... But the provider has to change the settings on their end so that the 16GB iPhone has your wife's phone number.

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kman42  (op)
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Jun 10, 2009, 09:50 AM
 
I thought the phone number went with the SIM card. Isn't that the point of the SIM card? I thought I could just swap the card into a new phone and be good. I'm just not sure when to do that. Maybe I'm being naive.
     
rkv
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Jun 10, 2009, 10:26 AM
 
I did a similar rotation of phones when the 3G came out. In my case I swapped the SIM card before restoring the data in iTunes. Additionally, before the restore I did a complete reset to wipe the phone as well. I'm not certain either of those were absolutely necessary but it did I believe the restore determines the phone id from iTunes. As the prior poster pointed out the SIM is principally there to determine the phone number. I never bothered to tell the provider. The SIM is what moves the number.
     
ghporter
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Jun 10, 2009, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by kman42 View Post
I thought the phone number went with the SIM card. Isn't that the point of the SIM card? I thought I could just swap the card into a new phone and be good. I'm just not sure when to do that. Maybe I'm being naive.
There's the SIM and then there's the actual phone's electronic serial number. They have to be associated with each other in order to prevent spoofing and such. It's a keyboard entry (or more usually a "scan the tiny barcode inside the phone" entry), and it's almost trivial to do. But it still requires the carrier's action.

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slugslugslug
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Jun 10, 2009, 11:16 AM
 
^Huh? I've never had to have a carrier do anything when I put a SIM into a phone (including my hand-me-down EDGE iPhone). I've just put it in, and the phone immediately has my phone number.
     
Cold Warrior
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Jun 10, 2009, 11:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
There's the SIM and then there's the actual phone's electronic serial number. They have to be associated with each other in order to prevent spoofing and such. It's a keyboard entry (or more usually a "scan the tiny barcode inside the phone" entry), and it's almost trivial to do. But it still requires the carrier's action.
cdma phones have ESNs. GSM phones have an IMSI on the SIM and an IMEI on the phone. IMEIs are created when the phone is (their initial numbering is linked to type approval code and final assembly code) Some providers will link IMSI to IMEI and disallow service if the pairing is altered, but many others don't.
     
kman42  (op)
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Jun 10, 2009, 12:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
cdma phones have ESNs. GSM phones have an IMSI on the SIM and an IMEI on the phone. IMEIs are created when the phone is (their initial numbering is linked to type approval code and final assembly code) Some providers will link IMSI to IMEI and disallow service if the pairing is altered, but many others don't.
So does ATT disallow service if they don't match? From a couple replies above it appears I can just swap the SIM and reactivate the phone through iTunes, but I'm surprised there aren't more people who have done this.
     
Cold Warrior
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Jun 10, 2009, 12:57 PM
 
I don't know many with at&t who swap SIMs, but from what I've read, it's generally not a problem. And in the cases where it has been, a simple phone call to activate the new pair was all it took. Again, that's from me reading on the topic. Hopefully some of our members have actual experiences, good or bad, with at&t SIM swapping, especially among iPhones.
     
rkv
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Jun 10, 2009, 01:34 PM
 
Since kman42 already has two iPhones, I would suggest that he try switching the SIM now as an experiment to see if he has any problems. While I don't deny that the GSM phones have an IMSI and IMEI I am not certain that they are actually being utilized by AT&T. A simple swap now would be one way of confirming.
     
ghporter
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Jun 10, 2009, 02:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by kman42 View Post
So does ATT disallow service if they don't match? From a couple replies above it appears I can just swap the SIM and reactivate the phone through iTunes, but I'm surprised there aren't more people who have done this.
That's the idea behind the design. (I didn't use "ESN" in my earlier post because I didn't want to get into the difference between an ESN and the newer IMEI.) When I've moved from one SIM-equipped phone to another with AT&T, there was a step the sales rep took in capturing both the SIM's IMSI and the phone's IMEI, so I have to believe that they do expect them to match.

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Jun 10, 2009, 02:57 PM
 
I have never seen two GSM phones where the numbers weren't exchanged simply by swapping SIMs. I think you are mixing up GSM with CDMA.
     
ghporter
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Jun 10, 2009, 03:06 PM
 
Just reporting what I've seen done with changing phones...

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ghporter
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Jun 13, 2009, 03:59 PM
 
Update. I bought my wife and son new phones on Thursday, and aside from what looked like an inventory control step, it seems that all they did was swap the SIM cards. These were LG phones replacing RAZRs. So kman42, if you haven't tried it already, give it a shot and see what happens...

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Bearsfan34
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Jun 13, 2009, 09:26 PM
 
This is the idea that I have...the SIM card swapping business.

My iPhone 3G isn't up for subsidy pricing until January 2010. Am on a Family Plan, and my wife's phone number IS eligible for subsidy pricing on the iPhone 3GS.

So I'm thinking: as long as when I go to the Apple Store they don't make me activate the phone in the store, I'll buy the subsidized iPhone 3GS using my wife's number on my Family Plan; take the new 3GS home, put my 3G SIM card in the new 3GS, and "activate" the 3GS as if it were mine, restore from backup, etc.

I think, though, this all hinges on NOT having to activate the phone in-store on her number, thus giving me TWO iPhone data plans on my Family Plan which I DON'T want.

This is my last-ditch effort to acquire a 3GS without paying full price for it. If this doesn't work, I'll be satisfied with what I have until next year.

Thoughts?
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jokell82
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Jun 13, 2009, 10:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bearsfan34 View Post
This is the idea that I have...the SIM card swapping business.

My iPhone 3G isn't up for subsidy pricing until January 2010. Am on a Family Plan, and my wife's phone number IS eligible for subsidy pricing on the iPhone 3GS.

So I'm thinking: as long as when I go to the Apple Store they don't make me activate the phone in the store, I'll buy the subsidized iPhone 3GS using my wife's number on my Family Plan; take the new 3GS home, put my 3G SIM card in the new 3GS, and "activate" the 3GS as if it were mine, restore from backup, etc.

I think, though, this all hinges on NOT having to activate the phone in-store on her number, thus giving me TWO iPhone data plans on my Family Plan which I DON'T want.

This is my last-ditch effort to acquire a 3GS without paying full price for it. If this doesn't work, I'll be satisfied with what I have until next year.

Thoughts?
The problem is that you'd have to pick a plan for your wife's line before you take the phone home, and that plan *will* be active on your account. So even though you could take the phone as yours, you would still be paying for 2 iPhone data plans, regardless of where your phone gets activated.

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Bearsfan34
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Jun 13, 2009, 11:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by jokell82 View Post
The problem is that you'd have to pick a plan for your wife's line before you take the phone home, and that plan *will* be active on your account. So even though you could take the phone as yours, you would still be paying for 2 iPhone data plans, regardless of where your phone gets activated.
Ahhh. Ok, that solves it. No 3GS for me then. Will stick with the 3G...no big deal. Was worth the thought anyway...thanks, I didn't think of that. I doubt I could just “drop” an iPhone data plan after one day...might seem a *BIT* fishy...
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slugslugslug
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Jun 13, 2009, 11:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bearsfan34 View Post
Ahhh. Ok, that solves it. No 3GS for me then. Will stick with the 3G...no big deal. Was worth the thought anyway...thanks, I didn't think of that. I doubt I could just “drop” an iPhone data plan after one day...might seem a *BIT* fishy...
You might want to double-check on howardforums.com, the att.com forums, or even an AT&T employee. They may just not care if you do this. I think if you put a non-iPhone SIM in an iPhone, they'll automatically give it an iPhone plan. And when you put your wife's SIM back in the other phone, they might just drop the data plan from her line. You still end up paying the same thing for the same amount of time, so it really shouldn't be a problem to them, and they might go on the record saying it's okay.

Couldn't hurt to ask.
     
ghporter
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Jun 14, 2009, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
Couldn't hurt to ask.
Absolutely true. And if there is some sort of issue with what you want to do, waiting 6 months will allow time for the rest of us to work the inevitable kinks out of the 3GS.

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Mrjinglesusa
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Jun 14, 2009, 10:27 AM
 
When I upgraded from my original iPhone to the 3G, I gave my wife my original iPhone. All I did was take the SIM card from her Razor and put it in the original iPhone. Connected it to iTunes and everything was fine.
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kmkkid
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Jun 14, 2009, 10:37 AM
 
There should be no reason why just swapping SIM cards wouldn't work.

An iPhone is not going to be bricked just because you remove the original activated SIM. Whomever buys the phone will just pop in their SIM and activate on iTunes, as long as they are with AT&T of course.

No company in their right mine would make a brick out of your old phone just because you upgraded.

But, IMHO this whole activation business is BS - if for no other reason than I walked out of the Rogers store last year with a brick because the activation servers went down.

I spent a whole 12 hrs overnight to be the first person to get one. I WAS PISSED.
     
kman42  (op)
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Jun 14, 2009, 10:57 AM
 
So, I found a couple threads on the Apple support forums about using your spouse's upgrade and swapping phones. An ATT employee chimed in and said this was no problem at all. You can just call ATT and tell them what you are doing and they will switch the phone numbers on the phones and you are good to go. They don't really care if you do this as they are still getting someone to extend another two year contract.

Also, if you aren't trying to use someone else's upgrade and just want to hand down your phone to them after you upgrade (as I am planning to do), then you can just swap the SIM cards on the hand-me-down phone and it should work. You may want to call ATT to let them know you did it though.

You can search around the apple forums, I think one of the threads was called 'wifey upgrade' or something like that.
     
rkv
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Jun 14, 2009, 02:50 PM
 
kman42:

Good to hear. However, the thread would have been a lot shorter or at least resolved more quickly if you took ten minutes to swap the SIMS in your existing phones. By doing so you should have been able to establish whether you could dial, receive calls, and browse the web. If that worked then it would have proved that AT&T was not relying on other identifiers such as the ESN or EMEI. In any event, it's good to hear that AT&T isn't doing anything crazy and is generally handling the SIM as other carriers in other markets do.
     
ghporter
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Jun 14, 2009, 05:54 PM
 
So it looks like at most AT&T just wants to keep the phone numbers straight. That's logical and very understandable. Glad to hear it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
NateEssex
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Jun 14, 2009, 06:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bearsfan34 View Post
This is the idea that I have...the SIM card swapping business.

My iPhone 3G isn't up for subsidy pricing until January 2010. Am on a Family Plan, and my wife's phone number IS eligible for subsidy pricing on the iPhone 3GS.

So I'm thinking: as long as when I go to the Apple Store they don't make me activate the phone in the store, I'll buy the subsidized iPhone 3GS using my wife's number on my Family Plan; take the new 3GS home, put my 3G SIM card in the new 3GS, and "activate" the 3GS as if it were mine, restore from backup, etc.

I think, though, this all hinges on NOT having to activate the phone in-store on her number, thus giving me TWO iPhone data plans on my Family Plan which I DON'T want.

This is my last-ditch effort to acquire a 3GS without paying full price for it. If this doesn't work, I'll be satisfied with what I have until next year.

Thoughts?
Why not just go in, let them activate your new 3GS on your wife's account. I'm in almost the same situation. Then go home, switch the Sims. The next day, deactivate the data plan on the wife's number and tell them she didn't like it and keep the data on yours.
Does that work?
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Bearsfan34
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Jun 14, 2009, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateEssex View Post
Why not just go in, let them activate your new 3GS on your wife's account. I'm in almost the same situation. Then go home, switch the Sims. The next day, deactivate the data plan on the wife's number and tell them she didn't like it and keep the data on yours.
Does that work?
Interesting...I too am wondering if this would work.

Wanna try it & let me know if it works out for you?
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ghporter
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Jun 14, 2009, 09:30 PM
 
Data plans are required on iPhones. You cannot "deactivate the data plan" on one, especially if you got it at the discounted rate-unless you want to return the phone...

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slugslugslug
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Jun 15, 2009, 08:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Data plans are required on iPhones. You cannot "deactivate the data plan" on one, especially if you got it at the discounted rate-unless you want to return the phone...
Reread his post, though, Glenn. He said to deactivate the data plan on the wife's number, not iPhone. This would be after the husband already has his SIM in the iPhone, so the data plan would be attached to his number. i.e. Just what the AT&T person said was allowable.
     
jokell82
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Jun 15, 2009, 10:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by kman42 View Post
So, I found a couple threads on the Apple support forums about using your spouse's upgrade and swapping phones. An ATT employee chimed in and said this was no problem at all. You can just call ATT and tell them what you are doing and they will switch the phone numbers on the phones and you are good to go. They don't really care if you do this as they are still getting someone to extend another two year contract.
Unless you're leaving stuff out, then that is not what you're looking to do. That would still leave you with two data plans, only your wife would be taking the one you currently have. And when you go to drop that plan off of your wife's account, I bet AT&T will not allow it until the 2 years are up.

Also, it depends on what level that AT&T rep works in. If they work in a store I wouldn't trust a thing out of their mouths. If they actually work in the call center and are in charge of making these changes then it could be a bit more believable.

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ghporter
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Jun 15, 2009, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
Reread his post, though, Glenn. He said to deactivate the data plan on the wife's number, not iPhone. This would be after the husband already has his SIM in the iPhone, so the data plan would be attached to his number. i.e. Just what the AT&T person said was allowable.
Yep, I read too fast. However, that will confuse AT&T and cause some "you have to have a data plan for an iPhone" discussions unless they are informed of the number/phone change ahead of time. And since the wife will still have an iPhone, I think it's still going to be a show-stopper; you must have a data plan for the life of the service, not just during the initial contract period.

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kman42  (op)
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Jun 15, 2009, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by jokell82 View Post
Unless you're leaving stuff out, then that is not what you're looking to do. That would still leave you with two data plans, only your wife would be taking the one you currently have. And when you go to drop that plan off of your wife's account, I bet AT&T will not allow it until the 2 years are up.

Also, it depends on what level that AT&T rep works in. If they work in a store I wouldn't trust a thing out of their mouths. If they actually work in the call center and are in charge of making these changes then it could be a bit more believable.
Actually, the only thing I want to do is buy an iPhone 3GS with MY OWN upgrade in July and then give my current 16 gb 3G to my wife to replace her 8gb 3G. We aren't swapping plans or performing any other funny business.

My post that you quoted was in response to some of the other situations that came up in this thread. Perhaps I misunderstood what other posters were trying to do. I believe they are simply trying to use their spouse's ability to upgrade to get themselves a new 3Gs and then give their current 3G to their spouse. As I posted, this seems possible just by calling ATT and telling them what you want to do. I have no idea what implications this will have for the contracts involved, but I'm assuming the new 3Gs will get a two year contract and the old 3G (which now belongs to the spouse) will maintain the existing contract. It's possible, however, that ATT will renew the contract on the existing 3G so that it is also now two years.

If people are trying to drop a plan entirely, then I doubt that is possible. In the end, each iPhone must still have a data plan.

I suppose the real question for people trying to use their spouse's upgradability is whether the two year extension follows the new phone or follows the contract (phone number) that is being upgraded. Initially, the spouse will have the new phone and a two year contract on her number. Once you swap the phone numbers, I'm guessing that either the new 3Gs phone will still have the two-year contract and the spouse will inherit whatever is remaining of the contract on the old phone OR both phones/numbers will now have a new two year contract.

It's definitely possible to hand down your phone by swapping SIM cards (my original situation) and to use your spouse's upgradability (the other situation that has arisen in this thread). I think it is a question for ATT to determine whether the latter situation will result in one newly extended two-year contract or two.
( Last edited by kman42; Jun 15, 2009 at 12:23 PM. )
     
lenny
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Jun 15, 2009, 05:51 PM
 
I'm thinking about activating a new 3Gs with a contract for my wife, then swapping SIMs to give her my old 3G (I know this is selfish - she could care less what kind of phone she has).

I have a locked iPhone 3G under Fido contract, plus a prepaid Fido number that I used for my babysitter on an unlocked phone I bought in Europe (not that that matters).

I just popped the prepaid SIM card into my iPhone, and was able to place a call. So it does not seem like Fido locks the phone to a specific card. It would be nice to do another test with a non-Fido card to see if the iPhone indeed won't work with it.

Hope this information is useful,

Len
     
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Jun 15, 2009, 08:50 PM
 
I think ATT will try to help you with the swap. I was issued a new 3G at work, so I gave my personal Edge iPhone to my wife. Her phone was so old it didn't even have a SIM card. She called ATT from the house phone, said I'd given it to her, and wanted her old number (Verizon account) to be put on my old iPhone (ATT account). The ATT person told my wife to wait a minute, and then came back and said it was done. My old number died a merciful death, and my wife's old Verizon number appeared on the old iPhone. Works like a champ. Took me longer to change the settings and get rid of my games than it did for ATT to make the swap of telephone numbers.

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jokell82
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Jun 15, 2009, 10:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by beadman View Post
I think ATT will try to help you with the swap. I was issued a new 3G at work, so I gave my personal Edge iPhone to my wife. Her phone was so old it didn't even have a SIM card. She called ATT from the house phone, said I'd given it to her, and wanted her old number (Verizon account) to be put on my old iPhone (ATT account). The ATT person told my wife to wait a minute, and then came back and said it was done. My old number died a merciful death, and my wife's old Verizon number appeared on the old iPhone. Works like a champ. Took me longer to change the settings and get rid of my games than it did for ATT to make the swap of telephone numbers.

beadman
Verizon phones don't have SIM cards - has nothing to do with how old they are.

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Bearsfan34
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Jun 16, 2009, 01:00 PM
 
Wow...after reading through this thread again, I'm not sure if I should be encouraged or discouraged. A lot of this sounds like a flustercuck with AT&T Customer Service. I mean, I'm happy to waltz in to an AT&T Store, explain my situation to a flunky there at the store, inform them of what I'd like to do (buy an iPhone 3GS with subsidy using a number on my family plan, since I'm not eligible until Jan. 2010, put the SIM from my current 3G into the new 3GS, cancel the required iPhone data plan on that family plan number I used to get the subsidy, and return to normal), only then to have to call AT&T and get a CSR who has no idea what I'm talking about & tries to tell me I need to keep TWO iPhone data plans now, and I can't swap a SIM moving my 3G number to the new 3GS.

Or, going back to the AT&T Store, not finding the person I explained things to earlier, then having to go through several months of incorrect/overcharged bills, and headaches.

So, since I'm really in no rush to get a 3GS (have money saved for one, may just use it on something else...like bills maybe!), I'm really thinking I may just pass on this altogether. It sounds like AT&T *might* be okay with a SIM swap/dropping a data plan, but...don't know if the ensuing headaches are really worth it.
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-...oh, and a PC too.
     
jokell82
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Jun 16, 2009, 01:04 PM
 
You can be assured that if you activate a second iPhone on your family plan account, you will be paying the data plan on that line no matter what you do with the SIM cards. If a store employee tells you otherwise they are lying to get the commissions from your sale.

All glory to the hypnotoad.
     
slugslugslug
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Jun 16, 2009, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by jokell82 View Post
You can be assured that if you activate a second iPhone on your family plan account, you will be paying the data plan on that line no matter what you do with the SIM cards.
Why are you so sure of this? If you put a different SIM in that iPhone, they know it's an iPhone and will make you activate the data plan on the that SIM's number. So why wouldn't they know you're no longer using an iPhone on the first number, and then allow you to take the data plan off?

Again, I don't know whether this scenario is plausible or not (though I bet you could find out if you had the patience to read lots of HoFo threads). But why are you so confident that it's not?
     
jokell82
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Jun 16, 2009, 02:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
Why are you so sure of this? If you put a different SIM in that iPhone, they know it's an iPhone and will make you activate the data plan on the that SIM's number. So why wouldn't they know you're no longer using an iPhone on the first number, and then allow you to take the data plan off?

Again, I don't know whether this scenario is plausible or not (though I bet you could find out if you had the patience to read lots of HoFo threads). But why are you so confident that it's not?
I'm sure of it because I worked for about 5 years in the industry and that's how they roll (I'm also a longtime poster on Howard Forums). They won't let you get out of a part of your contract because you swap some numbers around.

All glory to the hypnotoad.
     
bokehphotographer
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Jun 16, 2009, 08:04 PM
 
I would be very wary of listening to an AT&T rep tell you what you want to hear. We have had that happen to us and were totally misled. We have 5 iPhones on a business line, and we were informed that we could do the unlimited "family" texting plan for on $30 a month more.

Only to find out later, they mislead us and it was $25 for the first unlimited phone, and $6 per line after that. But not just per line, EVERY line would have to have it. So we had 7 total lines, which would mean $61 for the texting plans. Not to mention the minutes were all jacked up.

This was because the AT&T rep "thought" he was telling us what was right. Needless to say, we were pretty peeved at the whole event.

The lesson is, do not listen to what the reps say. From my understanding, if you activate a line with the data plan, that plan stays with the line for the 2 years, or until you can drop it from another line that is no longer under "contract". So adding the line to get the subsidized price will give you the data plan.

Just try to pick out a phone - in order to get the 3G S you have to go through the upgrade process for both the phone and plan (if the plan isn't an iPhone one yet). So you can try, and trust the AT&T rep... if they are paid on commission you may want to think twice about that. Unless you are OK finding out your bill is going to be $30 a month more than what was anticipated.

Either way, GL.
     
ghporter
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Jun 16, 2009, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by bokehphotographer View Post
The lesson is, do not listen to what the reps say. From my understanding, if you activate a line with the data plan, that plan stays with the line for the 2 years, or until you can drop it from another line that is no longer under "contract". So adding the line to get the subsidized price will give you the data plan.

Just try to pick out a phone - in order to get the 3G S you have to go through the upgrade process for both the phone and plan (if the plan isn't an iPhone one yet). So you can try, and trust the AT&T rep... if they are paid on commission you may want to think twice about that. Unless you are OK finding out your bill is going to be $30 a month more than what was anticipated.

Either way, GL.
I think your advice is pretty skewed. Trusting a sales rep and not verifying their accuracy, and/or not following up on it is a Very Bad Idea. However, your suggestion paints all AT&T sales reps as venal and predatory-which is anything but the case in my experience.

My wife and son just upgraded from RAZRs to LG Vu phones. We paid the $199 for the two with paperwork done to get $50 rebates on each (for a total of $99 for the two). We thought it was a good deal. Yesterday, my wife noticed the same phone selling for $15 at Wal-Mart, so we trotted back to our AT&T store and spoke to the same rep. Our rep worked out the "price match" issue so that we'll get a credit on our bill of $35 each, so our total outlay (when it all shakes out, of course) will be $29. How's that for "lie to the customers to get a fatter commission?"

As far as I can tell, ONLY the iPhone requires a data plan for the live of the phone's service. So activating a line for any other data-capable phone does NOT commit the customer to at least 2 years of a data plan as you indicate. For example, the Moto RAZR is data capable, and I've had one for about 4 years without a data plan. If I had one, I could have terminated it at any point and probably had the remaining portion of the billing cycle prorated.

In the case you discuss, it would be extremely important to go through the entire situation, and get the rep to verify each and every step, and each charge including the total. But that's just being an informed consumer and customer. Or so I thought.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Bearsfan34
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Jun 18, 2009, 05:40 PM
 
I spoke with an AT&T CSR on the phone yesterday (6.17).

When I explained what I was thinking about doing (using a line on my Family Talk Plan to get the 3GS subsidy price; swapping SIM cards from my 3G to the 3GS; then cancelling the extra iPhone data plan I used to get the 3GS); the answer?

Not a problem.

I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose by being 100% honest...and after asking a few basic questions of the AT&T CSR I figured I could discern whether or not I was dealing with a dolt or someone who could intelligently answer my questions. To me, the gentleman I spoke to knew his stuff...and he was willing to stake his AT&T ID number on it, he said that if I run in to any problems doing what I want to do, that I should call AT&T, give his ID number, they could verify what he said was true. So take that for what it's worth...which, to many in regards to AT&T customer service, is probably worse than nothing...

But I feel confident in my plan...which, as of right now, is:

1. Go against what I said I'd never do, and get in line to try and acquire a 32GB white 3GS. I've already "reserved" mine at my local Apple Store...

2. Pay for the phone, giving the number on my Family Talk Plan as the line to receive the 3GS data plan. Sign up for a 2-year contract extension. Also, pay the $18 "upgrade fee."

3. Not sure if the phone has to be activated in-store again or not; if it is activated on that line that's not mine my plan, do what the CSR said I could do: take the SIM card out of the new 3GS; take the SIM out of my current 3G, put it in the 3GS; hang on to the original 3GS SIM.

4. Call AT&T/go to an AT&T "corporate" store; let AT&T know that the new 3GS will now be active on MY number; give them the 3GS IMEI number so that the equipment can be matched with my SIM (from my 3G); put the original 3GS SIM card into the crap Nokia phone who's number I used to get the subsidized 3GS, let AT&T match the Nokia's IMEI with the 3GS SIM.

5. Cancel the 3GS data plan that I "signed up for" on Apple's website in order to qualify for the 3GS with subsidy.

6. Pay what the CSR termed as a "pro-rated" fee for the day or two of iPhone 3GS data on the Family Talk Plan line I used to get the 3GS with subsidy.

7. 3GS acquisition complete.

So in theory, I get a 3GS at the subsidy price; my equipment is legit and paired with the correct SIM cards; I only have ONE iPhone data plan I'm paying for, plus a day or two of prorated data before AT&T can cancel that plan on that line.

Continuing in my honesty, I point-blank asked the CSR (who, again, sounded like a guy who actually knew his stuff...maybe I was bamboozled, up to you to decide): "Is this legal? Will AT&T give me a hard time about canceling an iPhone data plan after one day?"

The answer: "Not a problem. What AT&T has problems with is a person using the same name and 5-10 different Social Security Numbers buying iPhones and then selling them in the gray market or on eBay. One person with a Family Talk Plan who pays their bill on time and has been a long-time customer is not something we worry about, nor do we consider suspicious."

That answer is paraphrased, but you get the idea.

So for what it's worth...if I still want a 3GS, looks like I can get one. And swapping SIM cards, matching IMEI with AT&T in the know, canceling the data plan & just paying a prorated amount...all legit.

That said, I'm glad I called and got the info. Am still 50%/50% on whether or not I'm going to do this on Friday (tomorrow) or not. Not sure if the hassles with AT&T customer service and possible confusion about what that CSR told me is true/false will be worth it. But at least my original question is answered, in my mind.
-Core i5 MacBook Pro, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM; iBook G4 1.2GHz, 1.25GB RAM
-5G white iPod 30GB; original U2 iPod 20GB mono; now on 32GB Black iPhone 4
-...oh, and a PC too.
     
ccrider
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Jun 19, 2009, 12:24 AM
 
Wow that made me dizzy!

Let us know how it goes down.
Serious wife sim swappin' going on in this thread..
     
Bearsfan34
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Jun 19, 2009, 09:56 AM
 
My new iPhone 3GS 32GB white is "...restoring from backup" right now.

No problems on the purchase end. $299 + $18 + local tax. No big deal.

Sat down in the cafe at the mall where I bought the iPhone, swapped SIM cards. Turned the 3GS on with my 3G SIM inside, showed my phone number. Synced with my work's Exchange, and my mail/contacts/calendars with MobileMe...wow, it seemed way FASTER than normal.

The big issue yet to be solved is when I call AT&T either later today or tomorrow to CANCEL the iPhone data plan as discussed.

Hoping that goes well.
-Core i5 MacBook Pro, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM; iBook G4 1.2GHz, 1.25GB RAM
-5G white iPod 30GB; original U2 iPod 20GB mono; now on 32GB Black iPhone 4
-...oh, and a PC too.
     
kman42  (op)
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Jun 19, 2009, 01:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bearsfan34 View Post
My new iPhone 3GS 32GB white is "...restoring from backup" right now.

No problems on the purchase end. $299 + $18 + local tax. No big deal.

Sat down in the cafe at the mall where I bought the iPhone, swapped SIM cards. Turned the 3GS on with my 3G SIM inside, showed my phone number. Synced with my work's Exchange, and my mail/contacts/calendars with MobileMe...wow, it seemed way FASTER than normal.

The big issue yet to be solved is when I call AT&T either later today or tomorrow to CANCEL the iPhone data plan as discussed.

Hoping that goes well.
Lots of people in the Apple store this morning asking about doing various types of SIM/wife swaps. Employees basically said, yeah, it will work, but we can't guarantee anything beyond the basic upgrade on the phone number you give us. Anything else, you have to take up with ATT.
     
Bearsfan34
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Jun 19, 2009, 04:34 PM
 
FWIW, I just got off the phone with AT&T.

My SIMs and IMEIs are all matched up. My phone number/sim is matched to the 3GS. My mother-in-law's phone (who's number I used to get the subsidized price) is back to just a normal Family Talk Plan shared line with her POS Nokia 6126 phone.

I checked online, and according to the AT&T website, everything is as the AT&T CSR just told me it should be...just the one iPhone data plan on my line, everyone else back to sharing minutes. And since AT&T goes by "days," I will NOT get any prorated charges for having a 2nd iPhone data plan on my line, since it was "activated" around 7:40am this morning.

So if you've had issues with AT&T Wireless billing like I have in the past, I'm taking this news with a grain of salt...and will wait until just after the 1st of July to see what the bill looks like.

Otherwise, everyone's happy. AT&T got another 2 year extension out of me, plus $299 for the iPhone hardware, and the $18 garbage fee. And I have an unexpected gift, a white 32GB iPhone 3GS.

I can say that so far I LOVE the Voice Conrol...and the video + camera focus works great.

Win.
-Core i5 MacBook Pro, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM; iBook G4 1.2GHz, 1.25GB RAM
-5G white iPod 30GB; original U2 iPod 20GB mono; now on 32GB Black iPhone 4
-...oh, and a PC too.
     
Eriamjh
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Jun 19, 2009, 06:23 PM
 

I'm a bird. I am the 1% (of pets).
     
 
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