Bought subsidized AT&T 5s - switch to T-Mobile?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by KeepCalmPeople, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. KeepCalmPeople, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013

    KeepCalmPeople macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    #1
    I know there are a few threads on AT&T's early termination fee, but:
    Got my wife an AT&T 64GB 5s for $399 plus sales tax on full value, on a new line.

    T-Mobile has just announced free global data on their unlimited everything plan - my wife travels internationally for her job, so considering switching to T-Mobile.
    Rather than buy a T-Mobile 5s, can we pay the $325 ETF to AT&T, then request a device unlock, then take it to T-Mobile and sign up there? It seems to be cheaper than paying $849 + tax for a T-Mobile 64GB 5s.

    Am I missing anything?
     
  2. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Location:
    the OC
    #2
    the only way to avoid etf is to either return the phone or keep the line active and paying for it.
     
  3. Appl3FTW macrumors 601

    Appl3FTW

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    #3
    i did this calculation myself too OP.. i wonder if we can do this.

    423 (399+tax price of the phone)+325= $748. Merely 100+ cheaper considering it's 849+tax unlocked.

    i would like to know as well.

    ----------

    i think OP is trying to pay the etf so he can get it unlocked for cheaper vs. buying the phone unlocked from the store at full asking.
     
  4. LTSmash macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2013
    #4
    I'd pay the ETF and request an unlock, though I'm not 100% sure AT&T will do it. If they refuse just get a 3rd party to do it, it's not super cheap at the moment but 30-40 bucks will get it done. Then you can use T-Mobile.
     
  5. KeepCalmPeople thread starter macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    #5
    Exactly, I'm not trying to avoid the ETF, I understand it is so that AT&T can recoup the cost of the phone, just making sure I did the math right. It also gives me the option to continue to use the phone on AT&T for a few months (on our Family Share plan so cheaper than T-Mobile), then switch to T-Mobile if/when we feel it's right, rather than rushing to return the AT&T phone.
     
  6. Appl3FTW macrumors 601

    Appl3FTW

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    #6
    hey im wid ya... ill probably consider doing this myself. i have the subsidized 5S ordered. i may do it or whatnot.
     
  7. scott523 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Location:
    Saint Charles, MO
    #7
    Makes more sense now. Your original post had "can we not" as if you didn't want to pay the ETF. Good idea nonetheless. I might think about doing this too.

    I think AT&T will honor the request.

    General Eligibility Requirements for Unlocking All AT&T Mobile Devices
     
  8. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
  9. mrbrown macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Location:
    Ozark, Missouri
    #9
    Yes, payment of the ETF will allow you to get an unlock from AT&T. See their unlock policy page:

    https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/
     
  10. KeepCalmPeople thread starter macrumors 65816

    KeepCalmPeople

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    #10
    I see your point now that I read it again. I've edited my original post to make it clearer.
     
  11. kmichalec macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    #11
    In theory, I think it would work, but if I remember correctly, I think if you do it before paying your first months full bill, they retroactively charge you the difference between what you paid already and the full amount for the unlocked phone ($849), as they automatically assume you are just trying to get a cheaper iphone out of them.

    Also, don't forget to include the line activation fee of $30 you paid to. That needs to be factored in.

    Overall, if I remember correctly, if AT&T does do this, and you add the first bill in, and you include the $30 activation fee, it comes out to be cheaper to just return the phone to AT&T (assuming still in the return period), and just buying phone directly from Apple unlocked.
     
  12. kmichalec macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    #12
    Here's the details of what I was talking about. If it's still within the first 14 days, they will charge you the full amount for the phone. If after the first 14 days, then you can do the ETF route, but you will also get your first bill and $30 activation fee. So the math is almost the same.

    From AT&T Terms and Conditions -

    "Your Termination Rights. Within the first 14 days after service activation, you may terminate your Agreement for any reason and not be required to pay an ETF. If you terminate within three (3) days of accepting the Agreement, AT&T will refund your activation fee, if any. However, you agree to pay AT&T for all fees, charges, and other amounts incurred and owed under your Agreement, and you agree to return to AT&T any Equipment you purchased from AT&T in connection with your Service Commitment. If you fail to return this Equipment, you will be charged the difference between the amount you paid AT&T for the Equipment and the amount you would have been charged for the Equipment had you not agreed to a Service Commitment. AT&T also may charge you a restocking fee for any returned Equipment. Some dealers may impose additional fees.

    After the first 14 days, you may terminate your Agreement for any reason. However, you agree to pay AT&T for all fees, charges, and other amounts incurred and owed under your Agreement along with the applicable ETF. The Early Termination Fee is either: (a) $325 minus $10 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete; or (b) $150 minus $4 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete. To determine whether your Equipment has a $325 Early Termination Fee or a $150 Early Termination Fee, check att.com/equipmentETF
    ."
     
  13. itjw macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    #13
    Yep, they will hit you for FULL price (not just the ETF) if you don't return the device.

    It makes sense, as why would anyone pay full price if they could set up a BS contract, ETF it, and save $100 (heck people would probably do it over $20!)? People go crazy trying to avoid the upgrade fee of $30 :D.

    Anyway, better to just return it, pay the bill, and get a T-Mobile phone. It will be unlocked, have direct T-Mobile support since you bought it there, and have a slightly longer warranty too.
     

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