AT&T iPhone 3G Upgrades and Eligibility

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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It seems there's a lot of confusion about iPhone 3G upgrades and activation. Here's what is known at the moment to try to clarify the confusion. All of this applies to the U.S. and AT&T only.

The iPhone 3G is a subsidized mobile phone, which means that AT&T is paying ~$200 to discount the phone down to its final price. $199 for 8GB or $299 for 16GB. The reason AT&T is subsidizing the phone is because they expect to make more than $200 over the lifetime of a 2 year contract. For the iPhone 3G, the contract includes $30/month for 3G data, and at least $39/month for the low end voice contract.

If you currently own:

1st Generation iPhone

If you bought it on or after May 27th, you are eligible to receive a free upgrade to the iPhone 3G when it launches. You will also get a refund for the difference in the price.

If you bought it before May 27th, you may buy a new iPhone for $199 (8GB) or $299 (16GB) but will have to sign a new two year contract starting on the day you buy the new iPhone. This cancels and replaces your existing AT&T iPhone contract.

AT&T Mobile Phone (not iPhone)

AT&T generally allows individuals to take advantage of a subsidized phone once every 2 years. A new memo clarifies this point. If you are an AT&T customer, you must either have completed a 24 month contract or meet these requirements to be able to purchase the iPhone 3G for $199/$299 prices:
#1. Customer has had a standard calling plan plus data services costing at least $68.99 a month but no more than $98.99 a month, and who has been in contract (and not had a phone upgrade) for 21 months or more,
or
#2. Customer has had a standard calling plan plus data services costing $99 a month or more, and who has been in contract (and not upgraded) in the last 12 months.
or
#3. A customer with a calling plan and data services of less than $69 who is 21 to 23 months into contract may upgrade for a fee and a commitment of an additional two-year service contract extension.

No upgrade fee is assessed for any customers who are on a month-to-month agreement.

If you are not eligible, AT&T expects to announce the higher unsubsidized iPhone 3G price in the future. This price can be expected to be about $200 higher.

Alternatively, you can cancel your existing mobile phone contract and pay the $175 early termination fee, you will probably then be eligible for the $199/$299 iPhone 3G.

Non AT&T Mobile Phone

If you are under contract with another mobile phone provider, you may be subject to an early termination fee if you cancel your contract prematurely. You will need to contact your provider for those details, but you will be able to get the iPhone 3G from AT&T at the $199/$299 prices. If you would like to transfer your current mobile phone number to the iPhone 3G, you should not cancel your current service. Instead, you should initiate the phone number transfer from AT&T when you buy the iPhone 3G.

What If...

What if I want to buy an iPhone 3G and not use it on A&T?

There are a number of issues regarding this. First, the iPhone 3G firmware has not been unlocked, despite reports. The final iPhone 3G firmware is said to be different than the current 2.0 betas. So, you may not be able to unlock it at all.

If you are able to unlock it, you won't be able to use the iPhone 3G on any other carrier in the U.S. T-Mobile doesn't support the same 3G network that the iPhone uses. So while you might be able to make phone calls on T-Mobile, you won't be able to use 3G data.

If you must have an iPhone 3G outside of an AT&T contract, here are the steps. Buy an iPhone at $199/$299. Wait 30 days. Pay one month of service. Cancel your account. Pay $175 early termination fee. There, you have an iPhone 3G without AT&T contract. If you cancel your account before one month of service, you will have to return the iPhone to AT&T.

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zephead

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2006
1,573
3
in your pants
Hmm... Since this would mean I'm ineligible for an upgrade (re-upped last August or so), would anyone happen to know if it would work to grab a 1st-gen iPhone off Craigslist, go to AT&T and have them give me a 16GB iPhone 3G for $299?
 

bigmc6000

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2006
767
0
Hmm... Since this would mean I'm ineligible for an upgrade (re-upped last August or so), would anyone happen to know if it would work to grab a 1st-gen iPhone off Craigslist, go to AT&T and have them give me a 16GB iPhone 3G for $299?
Hmm - you REALLY want a new iPhone that bad? Well - I guess it MIGHT work. I wouldn't put it past AT&T to give ya the shaft tho.

This is pretty decent except for the fact that they aren't offering a non-subsidized version for those who can't upgrade. Glad to see they are taking care of the 1st Gen iPhone owners.
 

Diode

macrumors 68020
Apr 15, 2004
2,389
58
Washington DC
Wow if I didn't think things could get any more confusing.

Couldn't AT&T just go ahead and finalize the details already .... I have a feeling the iPhone is not being released until the 11th of July is because nothing plan related was finalized at the time of the keynote.
 

GreenFreaK

macrumors member
Jul 27, 2007
47
1
Pittsburgh, PA
I believe that AT&T will post a non-subsidized price before July 11th because they won't want to miss out on the sale. that's like saying, "no, I don't want your $500."
 

alphajerk

macrumors member
Feb 8, 2008
56
0
Omaha, NE
So, if you are not eligible, you should still be able to get an iPhone for $499, etc., just like the first gen. people paid in the first place. IT probably would have been better if Jobs had presented it this way. The new phone cost $499, but hey, good news it will be subsidized if you are eligible. At the conference, they just made it sound like it was going to be $299 no matter what, which was slightly misinforming. In the end, I suspect, people will fork over the dough to get one.
 

DubbleDuecer

macrumors member
Jun 16, 2008
82
0
Question though. I think I am in both groups, do i get the cheap price or not? I am currently a 1st iphone owner. I switched to AT&T about 10 months ago(got a blackjack for 50 dollars) 2 months into my contract i bought the Iphone since no matter how long you have been in contract it just started you over for 400 bones. So technically i dont qualify for upgrade because I got the black jack 10 months ago for subsidized price, but I am currently a 1st gen iphone owner, so which group am I in? Do i get the 200 dollar phone? Also, I sold my iphone last week for 375, do i just buy an unsubsidized phone and keep my 2g and 200 texts for 20 bucks ( i live no where near 3g) or do i pay the 200 and pay 30bucks a month(pending i am even able to get it for that price) Or last option is to pay the 175 cancelation fee then resign up and get the 200 dollar phone- I wouldnt be losing and money since i have 375 in my hand.? SORRY for the novel....
 

Rychiar

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2006
732
1,200
Waterbury, CT
wait im confused about this point for 1st gen iphone users. It says if u buy a new one it cancels and replaces your current contract in this post. So if i buy a new one and sign a contract im only in it for 2 years as opposed to 2 years plus the 1 year i have left on my current contract?
 

cmendill

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2007
73
0
loophole -- sort of

I like many existing att customers, realize now that I am ineligable to get the iPhone for $199/$299. But had I known that this was going to be the policy, I could have bought a 2G iPhone after the 27th, started a new contract without paying the termination fee and traded that in for the 3G iPhone plus $200 back.

That doesn't seem right. We're getting screwed for knowing the new iPhone was coming out, and waiting.

Can you still buy 2G iphone???

Probably not. Ah well.
 

deannnnn

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2007
2,034
285
New York City & South Florida
Punish as in how? You can't get cheap discounts on phones as current customer unless your eligible for a upgrade. I think the upgrade comes every 18 months ....
Well pretty much everyone gets the new iPhone for $200 unless you are a current AT&T customer who does not own an iPhone. That just doesn't make sense to me.
 

GeekLawyer

macrumors 68020
wait im confused about this point for 1st gen iphone users. It says if u buy a new one it cancels and replaces your current contract in this post. So if i buy a new one and sign a contract im only in it for 2 years as opposed to 2 years plus the 1 year i have left on my current contract?
Yes. You'll have a new 2-year contract that will begin on July 11 (or whenever). The year you have left on your current contract is "forgiven" and replaced by the new contract.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,271
3,422
Well pretty much everyone gets the new iPhone for $200 unless you are a current AT&T customer who does not own an iPhone. That just doesn't make sense to me.
Because AT&T already "gave you" a $200 discount for your previous phone which you haven't yet "paid back" in terms of your full contract.

arn
 

Diode

macrumors 68020
Apr 15, 2004
2,389
58
Washington DC
Well pretty much everyone gets the new iPhone for $200 unless you are a current AT&T customer who does not own an iPhone. That just doesn't make sense to me.
Which brings me back to my original point .... this is how every other phone AT&T (or any other carrier) handles things. You don't get subsidized prices unless you are eligible for a discount or sign up for a new line (Or add a line for existing customers).
 

MNTwinsFan

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2007
13
0
Wow if I didn't think things could get any more confusing.

Couldn't AT&T just go ahead and finalize the details already .... I have a feeling the iPhone is not being released until the 11th of July is because nothing plan related was finalized at the time of the keynote.
I think they waited for July 11, because that's the final date for the Stimulus payments to be mailed out.


So, Apple is hoping you'll spend some stimulus on the iPhone 3G
 

daveporter

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2006
212
0
Green Cove Springs, FL
I read on one of the on-line rumor website (I don't remember which one) that existing iPhone customers would pay $199 for the new 8GB iPhone and have to sign a new 2 year contract as was reported here. However, that other post stated that existing iPhone customers would continue to pay the $20/month charge for digital service and 200 SMS message plan. In other words, we would not be forced to sign up for the new plan that costs $30/month and has no SMS minutes included. I have not seen this reported anywhere since that day so I don't know if it was in error or was correct. Does anyone know?

If I can keep my old plan and just have to resign for 2 years, then I might go for the iPhone 3G, however, if I will loss my current plan (a 50% increase in cost and loss SMS messages) then I won't go for it since there are few areas in the US where 3G service is available and there will be little reason for me to change phones. I will just wait for the iPhone 4G.

Dave
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,271
3,422
I read on one of the on-line rumor website (I don't remember which one) that existing iPhone customers would pay $199 for the new 8GB iPhone and have to sign a new 2 year contract as was reported here. However, that other post stated that existing iPhone customers would continue to pay the $20/month charge for digital service and 200 SMS message plan. In other words, we would not be forced to sign up for the new plan that costs $30/month and has no SMS minutes included. I have not seen this reported anywhere since that day so I don't know if it was in error or was correct. Does anyone know?
I've heard both. I don't think we'll know for sure until closer to.

arn
 

Mac Attack 360

macrumors newbie
May 19, 2008
20
0
Mobile Number Transfer

What is this mobile number transfer thing? Because I want to switch my carrier to AT&T. I already have a contract with T-Mobile and I was wondering: If I do this number transfer thing, would I still have to pay the hefty contract cancelation thing with T-Mobile? Or does this program make it so you don't have to pay the cancelation fee while still keeping your current number? I'm kinda confused, so could someone help me with this?:confused:
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,271
3,422
What is this mobile number transfer thing? Because I want to switch my carrier to AT&T. I already have a contract with T-Mobile and I was wondering: If I do this number transfer thing, would I still have to pay the hefty contract cancelation thing with T-Mobile? Or does this program make it so you don't have to pay the cancelation fee while still keeping your current number? I'm kinda confused, so could someone help me with this?:confused:
if you are still in contract with t-mobile, you will have to pay a cancelation fee if you discontinue service. mobile number transfer just means you get to keep your phone number.

arn
 

radiogod69

macrumors member
Jun 2, 2008
68
0
Minnesota
I signed up for new service @ the end of April 08, bought a refurbished pda phone till the 3g iphone comes out, so there for its a standard contract.

I think I may qualify for this scenario

"Customer has had a standard calling plan plus data services costing $99 a month or more, and who has been in contract
(and not upgraded) in the last 12 months."

However my total bill now is $85, voice, 3g data plan, 1500 sms for $15. so If I add another feature to make it $99 or mor prior to buying the 3g iphone would this mean I am qualified? Can anyone else provide me insight with this?
 

newyorksole

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2008
4,154
4,630
New York.
So, ok, I bought the iPhone on launch day last year. This means that I am elibible for upgrade and will get the 16GB iPhone for $300 right?
 

BrownManUPS

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2007
823
22
California
I've heard both. I don't think we'll know for sure until closer to.

arn
This may or may not have to do with what you responded to. But I am going to get an first gen iPhone from my dad soon, and then will put my AT&T sim card in it, and go through the iTunes activation. Will my phone be activated successfully? And when the new iPhone is officially on the market, will my plan still be 20 bucks data plus whatever voice/sms plan I want? AT&T (or the Apple store) removed that chart with what the old iPhone add on plans were for additional AT&T customers was, so I can't see what I want to put on, but I think in iTunes it will pull up I guess.

If that chart is anywhere, that would be nice to see.
 

mpd659

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2008
13
0
I just got off the phone with a Laurie Lawson with business care at ATT and she advised the got the upgrade information on the new iPhone 3G. She said everyone will be able to get it at $199/$299 price, because thats what Apple set the prices at. She also said if ATT were selling them any cheaper, then you would have to be eligible for that upgraded price (ex. $99/$199). And she said they won't give any discount still for government/business accounts (like 15% off a month), which is what they did with the original iphone. You just have to sign a new 2 year contract.
 
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