buying locked phone and paying ETF cheaper than buying unlocked phone?

Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
579
129
am i missing something?

AT&T's ETF fee is $325 for a phone minus $10/month before contract is up.

so, here's some math:

buy an unlocked iphone 16gb for $649

but an AT&T locked phone 16gb for $199, keep it for one month, and then get out of contract and have AT&T unlock it (supposedly is true of contract is complete) for $315

$315 + $199 = $514 < $649

have i missed something here? or is that the best way to get an unlocked phone? (i don't know verizon's ETF policies, but i presume it's something similar?)

(obviously there could be things like the $36 activation fee if you didn't get it waived and you have to account for the cost of the first month minus any expenses you have on the "alternative provider)
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
You missed a lot.
Besides the activation fee there's a months service charge, prorated charges etc...
In the end after the whole runaround you'd be lucky if you save $20-30 but waisted tons of time in the process.
 
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Derek87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 29, 2009
579
129
You missed a lot.
Besides the activation fee there's a months service charge, prorated charges etc...
In the end after the whole runaround you'd be lucky if you save $20-30 but waisted tons of time in the process.
ok. i guess it is sort of a runaround. but aren't the prorated charges something you'd pay anyway on your new carrier? (eg, first month costs 40+20 for barebones plan for first month + taxes, vs 45 for something like straighttalk)

also, with it being somewhat harder (i know this is changing) to get an unsubsidized one from the start, this might be an easier way...
 
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Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
ok. i guess it is sort of a runaround. but aren't the prorated charges something you'd pay anyway on your new carrier? (eg, first month costs 40+20 for barebones plan for first month + taxes, vs 45 for something like straighttalk)

also, with it being somewhat harder (i know this is changing) to get an unsubsidized one from the start, this might be an easier way...
Yes, its definately not easier:D
You have to start a contract, get service and a number, use it for a month then go through all the trouble cancelling.
How are the monthly fees and prorated charges something you would pay? If you get it full price you wont have to pay any of those right?
 
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Legacy Wealth

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2012
30
0
wondering the same thing

For someone who didn't have the $$$$$$ right away..I think this would be better.... my question is what if they canceled the contract b4 the 14days...then they would have to pay anything...they would just have to return the phone...but what if they didn't return the phone ? they would bill them for the phone...as long as they pay it b4 6months they wont report it on their credit...I'm just wondering would they allow a port to go thru to another carrier so soon.... I'm thinking about straight talk..but really worried about loosing my phone number...as I hear they can easily cut you off for data or getting too many text...but don't know If I can deal with tmobile 2g....smh..decisions decisions
 
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aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,260
1,352
have i missed something here? or is that the best way to get an unlocked phone? (i don't know verizon's ETF policies, but i presume it's something similar?)
Even if you get a Verizon or AT&T iPhone officially unlocked, aren't there still some differences in features compared to a "generic" unlocked iPhone, like the ability to edit APNs, etc?
 
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Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
Even if you get a Verizon or AT&T iPhone officially unlocked, aren't there still some differences in features compared to a "generic" unlocked iPhone, like the ability to edit APNs, etc?
The ability to edit apn's is set by the carrier config file that's loaded as soon as you stick the sim inside.
Not the phone.
The phone is exactly the same.
You can stick an AT&T sim in a factory unlocked iphone and you still wont be able to edit the apn's.
That's a restriction that AT&T puts in place and not up to the phone model.
 
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