Buying iPhone 3GS for full price

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by qwertyasd, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. qwertyasd macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    Hi, I am currently trying to buy an iPhone 3GS without any contract from AT&T. It's supposed to cost me 700$ (the 32GB) from att store.

    when i went to the att store and asked to buy it for full price, they said that i have to be a costumer and i have to have a data plan. even after showing them their own website that states that 700$ is for iPhone without contract they continued on telling me that i have to have a contract.
    they also said that being a PAYG costumer wont help me.
    Are they correct? is there anyway of getting the 3GS without any contract of any kind?
    I want to get it and then unlock it to other carriers.


    BTW: i am not an att costumer.
  2. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    You still have to be on their service from their perspective. The $699 is to purchase the phone with no service contract term (2 years). So buy the phone with the service, and then cancel it on day 31.

    You should have no early termination fee as you have no service obligation.
  3. iphonetoday macrumors regular

    May 14, 2009
    no you dont need too
    i just buy in bestbuy

    699.99 no contract
    just get the iphone out the store

    after bring home 2 hour play
    return back full price refund

    depend luck which store you buy
  4. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    I originally thought the $700 was for non members, I think the $700 is for AT&T customers who want to buy without contract.
  5. dccorona macrumors 68020


    Jun 12, 2008
    they consider unofficial unlocking to be "illegal" (as well as jailbreaking...thats bs imo), and so why would they sell a phone to someone not on their network?

    to get this phone with no contract and go to another carrier, you have to pay for 1 months service, and cancel after the first month so they cant force you to return it

    or, buy on ebay
  6. Lakerfan210 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    I would try best buy or even walmart. I saw on their website that their stores are selling 3gs. Tell them that is a gift for someone. You want no contract.
  7. hengyu408 macrumors member

    May 18, 2006
    san Jose, CA
    I was able to walk into a Apple store pay them the $599 for my 16GB 3GS and walk out with a sealed phone. They never asked me for my SSN or if I was on AT&T. You should be able to do the same!
  8. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
  9. hlysmksbtmn macrumors member

    Aug 18, 2008
    No way. Which store did you go to? Every apple sales person has told me that they must open and activate the phone, you _cannot_ walk out without the phone being activated.
  10. kamors macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Yes, just found today that the apple store offers it. I asked them why I can't find about this online is it because they don't want to advertise it too much they said yes. BTW, I was also told that this has been true for the previous model as well.

    Now, the more important question: would the 3Gs work on t-Mobile? Guess I need to unlock it? Does the 3G work or is it going to be EDGE?
  11. outphase macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2009
    Parts Unknown
  12. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit

    I just JB and Unlocked my 3gs and tested it with T-mobile :D yep it works. I used purplera1n for JB and Ultrasn0w for the unlock!
  13. ericvmazzone macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2008
    Kalamazoo, MI
  14. kamors macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    So how does buying a full-price iPhone compare to buying a subsidized iPhone and immediately canceling the contract?
  15. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    Very simple.

    Buying an iPhone 3GS w/o a contract = $599 for the 16GB, $699 for the 32 GB

    Buying an iPhone 3GS with a contract is as follows:

    $199 for the 16 GB or $299 for the 32 GB.

    There is the $35 activation fee, the $30 iPhone data plan, the 2 Year Contract, and the Early Termination Fee.

    OTHERWISE YOU MUST RETURN THE IPHONE. You cannot just immediately cancel the contract and keep the iPhone.

    Stay with the contract for one full month, which you means you must pay a minimum of $40 for that month.

    The early termination fee will be $170. Normally, it would be $175, but since you have finished one month of the 2 Year Contract, it will be $5 off.

    $35 + $30 + $40 + $170 + $199/$299 = $474/$574 plus tax.

    So if you sign up for a contract, stick with it for a month, and then cancel, you can purchase an iPhone 3GS for roughly $500 for a 16GB and $600 for a 32 GB.

    Otherwise, it's $600 and $700 for the respective iPhones.
  16. kamors macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Excellent reply. Thanks pelicanflip!

    So in terms of money it's better to go through ATT if you're willing do go through that trouble. Also, it gives you a chance to look at how ATT is in your area if you're curious about that.

    But, besides money, what other implications are we looking at? Any legal, technical or other consequences? Any inconveniences?

    Also, since jailbreaking and unlocking would be performed, how is your relationship with Apple affected? Both legally and technically? What about firmware/software updates and such?
  17. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    No problem, thanks for the compliment.

    As for legal/technical implications with AT&T, there should be none. You followed their contract and have all the right in the world to cancel their contract, as long as you pay the Early Termination Fee. If you think that waiting a month is an inconvenience, that would be the only one.

    As for jailbreaking and unlocking, they both would void your iPhone's warranty with Apple. However, legally and technically, you can restore your iPhone by using the DFU mode, and Apple would be none the wiser. As long as you don't physically damage your iPhone by dropping it, scratching it, accidental damage, water damage, etc, you should be fine.

    As for firmware updates and the like, if your iPhone was jailbroken/unlocked, you would first have to wait for the Dev Team / Geohotz to come out with an update to the current Unlock/Jailbreak process. If you attempted to do it directly through Itunes, your iPhone might brick up. It's just more of a wait, because you're waiting on the reliability of the Dev Team / Geohotz to come out with a way around the updates.
  18. kamors macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Another complete answer. I appreciate it!

    Now, since the only downside to using t-mobile seems to be EDGE (vs 3G), does anyone know what are the speed rates in practice?

    Also, would there be a problem with t-mobile and tethering?

    I understand that there are two ways to be online with t-mobile: the data plan ($25/mo) and the t-zones ($5.99/mo). Any experience with those, anyone?
  19. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    EDGE is significantly slower than 3G. I think it's something like 3G is about 9x faster.

    3G > WIFI > EDGE.

    Personally, I'm not too familiar with tethering on T-Mobile.

    This link should help.

    As for the T-Zones hack, it is no longer available, or rather, it really depends on which representative you talk to on the phone. There used to be a code that enabled you to get T-Zones if you gave it to the representative (which is TZUNL599), but the representatives are being told now to void that code. Some representatives still haven't gotten the memo, some don't care and will give you T-Zones anyways, but most will tell you T-Zones is no longer a service that they provide. You might get lucky, you might not, chances are, you won't. T-Mobile's catching on. Oh well.

    If you used to have T-Zones on your account, or another line for a family account, you can simply transfer or add the T-Zones service to your current line.

    HOWEVER, there is an easier way to obtain EDGE, through a service called web2go. It is $9.99 per month from T-Mobile, and can still get you EDGE for your iPhone. It's what I use. There is a data cap of 10 GB per month, but chances of you going over that data cap is pretty tough.
  20. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    trust me...edge is pretty much useless once you have experienced 3G speed, which is pretty much in-line with wifi in most areas (i am using 3GS as well, not the 3G model)
  21. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    Very true. Valid point.

    Oh wait.

    Except that you can't use 3G on T-Mobile, so all you have is EDGE and WiFi.
  22. kamors macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Yes, unfortunately, if I'm gonna go with t-mobile I'd be stuck with EDGE. Thanks for the web2go tip!

    BTW, I still don't get an idea of the speeds. Has no-one measured the actual rate of EDGE?
  23. GelleCC macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    So, in short, the cheapest way to get an iphone 3gs contract free would be to go sign up, pay activation fee, get the cheapest plan, wait a month, cancel, pay for two months of servcie and early term fees. Its only cheaper by about $50. So even though it's cheaper, there is a lot more hassle than going to somewhere (say best buy or walmart) that will let you buy one with no contract and without being an att customer.

    Correct? Or is there any way that is cheaper? (Other than 'getting lucky' on ebay/craigslist)


    As far as tmo edge, I have been using the 5.99 tzones web plan (which is no longer offered). As far as speed, its the same as all the other edge speeds, although when I compared to my friends iphone 3g (using ATT's edge). We tested three times. Mine won one (on tmo's edge). His won twice, but not by much-a couple seconds). I have used the 5.99 plan on the original iphone and the iphone 3g. So I'm assuming it wont be any different on the iphone 3gs, which I want really badly.

  24. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    Not to nitpick but: WiFi > 3G > Edge
  25. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2009
    Oh whoops, my bad. Generally, yes, but it's a case by case scenario. I've had different situations where my friend's 3G iPhone has beaten my iPhone on Wifi, and vice versa.

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