Has anyone canceled their 3Gs AT&T contract just to get the phone?

67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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I'm an American living in London. When I come home for the holidays I was thinking of signing up with AT&T to get the 3Gs, then canceling it.

I'd like an iPhone that I could bring to any country and just pop a local sim in it. I travel all around Europe and north Africa and this would be incredibly convenient.

I have a few questions (which might be basic) but I hope you guys can help me out:

1. If I terminate my AT&T contract, do they unlock the phone? Or would I have to hack it?

2. If I pop a UK or Portuguese-carrier sim into the iPhone, I assume I would just get voice and for data I'd have to use the wifi. Is this correct?

3. Does the compass work without a data connection?

4. Does the GPS work without a data connection? I don't mean the maps, I'm referring to if the geodata would be tagged on photos I took on the iPhone without a data connection?

I got this idea after reading this Gizmodo article:

http://gizmodo.com/5021186/dont-buy-an-unlocked-iphone-from-att-just-cancel-a-new-contract

From the Gizmodo Article:

"Since AT&T's unlocked iPhone 3Gs will cost you $599 (8GB) or $699 (16GB), you are better off signing a contract and canceling it than buying an unlocked iPhone. In fact, it's even cheaper to buy a 16GB iPhone using this method than to buy and unlock an 8GB version. But math isn't our strong suit so go ahead and double-check our calculations. We won't be offended:

$299 - 16GB iPhone w/contract
$36 - Activation
$175 - Early Termination Fee
$70 - One month of service

Total Price Using The Shady Method: $580

So...

8GB iPhone Canceled: $480
16GB iPhone Canceled: $580
8GB iPhone Unlocked from AT&T: $599
16GB iPhone Unlocked from AT&T: $699

Are we missing something?"
 

quagmire

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2004
6,324
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Why not just buy an iPod Touch? Wait until the Spring to see if it gets the camera.
 
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ouimetnick

macrumors 68030
Aug 28, 2008
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Beverly, Massachusetts
Even if you pay full price, the iPhone isn't unlocked. Gizmodo is wrong. You get the same phone as new customers would, but you pay more, and get it w/o the contract, but locked to at$t
 
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67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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Even if you pay full price, the iPhone isn't unlocked. Gizmodo is wrong. You get the same phone as new customers would, but you pay more, and get it w/o the contract, but locked to at$t
That's so lame!
 
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thelatinist

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2009
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Connecticut, USA
If you had bothered to do a search, you would have found plenty of other threads discussing this kind of fraud. People like you are the reason Verizon increased their ETF for smartphones to $375. Why should the rest of us pay for your iPhone?
 
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67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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If you had bothered to do a search, you would have found plenty of other threads discussing this kind of fraud. People like you are the reason Verizon increased their ETF for smartphones to $375. Why should the rest of us pay for your iPhone?
Whoa. Relax. Your 'I'm Always the Victim' Badge is in the mail. I'm sure you'll wear it proudly.
 
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chstr

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
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If you had bothered to do a search, you would have found plenty of other threads discussing this kind of fraud. People like you are the reason Verizon increased their ETF for smartphones to $375. Why should the rest of us pay for your iPhone?
there is absolutely ZERO things illegal about canceling a contract and paying the ETF. your claim of fraud is slanderous.
 
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jellybean

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2006
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Depending how much you want to spend, you can buy legitimately unlocked iPhones from UK site Play.com. Starting at £499 ($823.85 USD) for an 8gb iPhone 3G.
 
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entwife

macrumors regular
Feb 17, 2008
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there is absolutely ZERO things illegal about canceling a contract and paying the ETF. your claim of fraud is slanderous.
yeah! Termination is in terms of service so completely legal.

That other chap needs to have a baileys and put on some jazz and chill out.
 
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chstr

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
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back to the OP, this would be a fine way to get your phone contract-free and I even cringe at you saying it's somehow "shady". Now getting it unlocked to use on any carrier may be another matter entirely. i don't know but you may have to hack it which could fall under the "shady" term for some...
 
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67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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Can all the people who are having babies over signing a contact just to ETF your way out of it PLEASE look at my original post???

The text in BOLD is from the Gizmodo article, not from me.

Jeez.
 
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firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,735
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Silicon Valley
Many things are not illegal buy remain entirely unethical. I never said it was illegal. It is, however, wrong.
If a company offers you a perfectly legal contract allowing you to either do A or B, why would you consider exercising one of those options which they offered you as unethical or wrong?

Your credit card company allows you to pay off your current balance at a certain amount per month over time, or by paying a lesser amount to pay the balance off completely. Do you consider paying off your credit card bill as unethical or wrong just because the credit card company won't make their usual amount of profit from their fairly high interest rate?

Same with a cell phone contract.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
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Since the OP is living in London, I'm not sure why he's even considering buying an iPhone in the US. I understand that you can now get officially unlocked iPhones in the UK, while in the US they are all locked to AT&T. And no, they won't unlock it even if you cancel your contract.
 
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67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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Since the OP is living in London, I'm not sure why he's even considering buying an iPhone in the US. I understand that you can now get officially unlocked iPhones in the UK, while in the US they are all locked to AT&T. And no, they won't unlock it even if you cancel your contract.
because when you take the exchange rate into account it's still cheaper getting an ATT contract and invoking the ETF than buying an unlocked one in the uk.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
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because when you take the exchange rate into account it's still cheaper getting an ATT contract and invoking the ETF than buying an unlocked one in the uk.
I see. But exactly how much is the price diff? You also should take into account the convenience of an officially unlocked phone versus a hacked one. Currently, new 3GS can only be jailbroken with a tethered jailbreak, which means you need a computer, a USB cable, and a copy of the jailbreak program every time you need to reboot or restart the iPhone.
 
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67952

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Feb 24, 2006
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I see. But exactly how much is the price diff? You also should take into account the convenience of an officially unlocked phone versus a hacked one. Currently, new 3GS can only be jailbroken with a tethered jailbreak, which means you need a computer, a USB cable, and a copy of the jailbreak program every time you need to reboot or restart the iPhone.
and that's why i posted my question here. now that i know ETFing your ATT iPhone doesn't unlock it, I'm not going that route.
 
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