Activation Subsidy Question....

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by okwhatev, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. okwhatev macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Okay... this is kind of complicated... so hang in there for me. So I ordered a Gold iPhone 5S T-Mobile Unlocked 64GB for myself, and 1 Space Gray 32GB on an AT&T upgrade on September 20th. Got both of them today. Thing is, the wife couldn't wait for the long delivery time because she dropped her old phone in the hot tub, ironically, right after we had ordered the new one using the Apple Store app. So early that morning I went to the Apple Store at the Grove and got her a 32GB Space Gray iPhone 5S device only. To use her phone number right away, and because we wanted to leave AT&T for Straight Talk anyhow, I used an AT&T Straight Talk NanoSIM and ported her number out of AT&T and to the NanoSIM. Popped it into the new iPhone 5S, and within minutes she was using her own ported number from AT&T on the new iPhone 5S on Straight Talk AT&T with LTE. I used a T-Mobile NanoSIM and performed the SWAP TRICK method to get to the APN settings and am happy to report that MMS is also working perfectly on Straight Talk AT&T on the iPhone 5S.

    Of course the actual phone purchased on the subsidy just arrived. It's still in its box. I assume that this one is locked to AT&T? Now I DID by it from Apple directly but with the upgrade price, unlike the one I bought device only from the Apple Store. Can I unlock this with a third party unlocking service, or is this phone already unlocked? I'm fully aware I'll probably have to pay the $325 ETF fee, but just wondering what I should do at this point since I'd like to sell the iPhone but don't want anyone to run into any problems with activation.

    Any advice or comments would be appreciated, thanks!
  2. pudcraft, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013

    pudcraft macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2013
    I am in the same situation or slightly modified situation. I don't have a contract but ordered the 16gb AT&T upgrade. Found a 64gb verizon and I want to try a new service. My ordered phone arrives today.

    I believe the instant the upgrade phone is turned on...the credit card will get charged. I may test it!
  3. okwhatev thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Can't believe no one answered my question. Still haven't activated the subsidy one! Too scared! lol!
  4. scotrinaf macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2013
    Blountville, TN
    If it is still sealed in a retail box, try exchanging it for another phone... Maybe at a Best Buy, or other large retail chain... If the seal has been broken, just do a $25 unlock through eBay...

    Exchange for a different color, or some other valid reason, or they will just tell you they can't...
  5. evanavevan macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2010
    Not entirely sure I understand your situation fully, but I think I can help a little bit. I also use AT&T and frequently do upgrade swaps. When you order an AT&T iPhone and it ships to you, the information tied to that phone is "parked" to your account. Specifically, the IMEI number and pre-installed nano-SIM are linked to your account, which is supposed to make it easier for you to activate it.

    However, if you're interested in activating it on another line, or selling it altogether, you just need to call AT&T and have them "unpark" the info which basically unlinks it from your account. They're happy to do this since you've still signed a contract, and you've still received the subsidized price, but now you have a phone that you're free to sell. You don't even have to open the packaging, so you can advertise it as still sealed in box. The IMEI number and SIM number are on the packaging on the back (SIM is ICCID), which are the only two pieces of info you need when you call.

    I did this earlier this month, and bought a 32 GB 5s for $300 and was able to sell it for $800.

    Try this, but try calling the 800 number instead of 611:
    "When your device arrives, call 1-800-331-0500 or 611 from a different wireless device. Enter the wireless number that received the upgrade.
    Select option #2 to activate your phone on a different mobile number."

    Hope that helps.


    Rereading your situation, so it sounds like you're basically canceling your contract immediately. Even if you pay the $325 ETF, if you can effectively extract the subsidy then you still come out ahead. Since the 5s is still in short supply, you can conceivably get a small premium for it on CL (like I did). If you pay $300 subsidized price + $325 ETF, but then sell for $800, you still net out $175 (before taxes & fees).
  6. okwhatev thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    i activated it with the SS number and zip code, and it let me get past the setup screen, then said there was an error or whatever and to call. I'm assuming this is because I had already ported the number to straight talk. In any instance it let me get past the activation screen so I can use the phone freely. Popped in the straight talk AT&T sim & everything is working fine on the same number that was previously on the subsidy without actually having to call AT&T and officially activate the phone. I guess if we get billed the ETF or not it remains to be seen (there's that ETF bug that's straight talk ports have with at&t but I don't know if it works with a port so quickly initiated) either way I'm prepared to pay for it, but certainly curious about what happens next. Thank you thank you for all your detailed information... it really helps for the future!

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