Not activating an upgrade phone on my At&t account

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MrXiro, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. MrXiro, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011

    MrXiro macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    I've got an extra upgrade on my At&t family plan and nobody in my family wants to use it. My girlfriend who has a 4 on her own plan wants a 4S so I was thinking about using one of my upgrades to get it for her. But do I have to activate it when I order it under my sister's phone line and subsequently killing her phone? Or can I just pop out the SIM card when I get the phone and put my GF's card in it?

    I don't live in the same state as the rest of my family so if I end up killing my sister's access to her phone and putting her line on my GF's new phone before swapping the card that would be disastrous for my sister, she lives on the phone... used over 700 text messages in the last 6 days... so she won't be able to go even a single day without her phone if I were to next day the SIM card back to her.

    To the point... can I get an upgrade for my phone and not activate the phone on the account I bought it for?
     
  2. Frasern1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    I know with Verizon that if the phone isn't activated on the account it was bought, not necessarily the line but the account, within like 30 days they charge you full retail value of the phone.
     
  3. JoganJani macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    #3
    On AT&T you can easily do that. Once you get the phone go to any AT&T store and ask them to activate on whatever no. you know.
     
  4. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #4
    Yes. This is called an upgrade swap.

    You (or whoever the account holder is) will order/buy the 4S. If the upgrading line is currently for a non-smartphone, you will need to add a data plan at the time of purchase, but you can cancel after you receive the phone.

    When it arrives, put the micro-SIM card from the 4 into the 4S first, then power on the 4S. Follow the activation as per usual.

    If done correctly and in order, no line will lose service, and devices will have the correct phone numbers on the account website within 24 hours.



    ----------

    Verizon does not use SIM cards.
     
  5. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    Well the question isn't if I could activate my GF's line... I know how to do that, it's can I do it without deactivating the phone that my sister is currently using? If I just put my GF's SIM card into the new 4S will At&t say anything about not activating it on my sister's account?
     
  6. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #6
    Like I said, do not power on the 4S until you have the correct micro-SIM card in it.
     
  7. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    Cool... thanks! I just wanted to make sure that At&t will have no problem with that. I'll order it now then! :) :apple:
     
  8. netslacker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #8
  9. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #9
    No. The phone will activate through iTunes with whatever SIM card is in it. While this will still work for an upgrade swap, the old SIM card may become inactive. The micro-SIM card in the new phone will be the one associated with the upgrade line, which is exactly what the OP is trying to avoid.
     
  10. vitzr macrumors 68030

    vitzr

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #10
    AT&T sends the phone with a new sim assigned to the phone. They have a new activation system now. When I swapped sims, my sim did not match the imei numbers assigned, the Activation computer identified that and shut off my service.

    When I called AT&T they said if I would have left the new sim in & called for an upgrade swap the account would not have been shut off. They have no control over something that's being done by the system unless you call first.
     
  11. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #11
    If possible, order it through AT&T's website. I know this may be a problem because the shipping address has to match the account's billing address.

    When the 4S first launched, there were a lot of people who pre-ordered that had issues doing an upgrade swap on Day One. It seemed to be with phones ordered through apple.com. Maybe it was an early glitch in the account verification system or perhaps the problem has been fixed. There was a lengthy discussion about it way back when in the AT&T pre-order thread.
     
  12. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #12
    Yes but you can't purchase the upgrade online from Apple.com without risking your sister's service being impacted.

    I would suggest that you order from AT&T online and have the phone shipped to you, and then you can just put your GF's Micro-SIM from her iPhone 4 in the new iPhone 4S and complete the activation steps. Just make sure that you remove the Micro-SIM that is pre-installed in the new iPhone 4S as it is parked on your sisters's line.

    Also, before the phone ships, a new contract will be started on your sister's line and she will have a new two year contract with AT&T. In addition, she will also have an iPhone data plan added to her line.

    What type of phone does your sister currently have? If it is not a smartphone and she does not have or need a data plan then you will need the IMEI from her current phone and her current ICCID number from her current Mini-SIM of Micro-SIM.

    Once the new iPhone 4S arrives, you just need to call Customer Care and tell them the IMEI id of her current phone and the ICCID and the rep will remove the iPhone data plan that was added to her line.

    This is the easiest way to do it. Yes, you can to to an Apple store, other authorized retailer or even AT&T and complete the "Upgrade Swap" but all of these options risk human error. All it takes is one mistake by the in-store rep trying to help you with the swap and your sister's current SIM may be deactivated!

    Dave

    ----------

    You are correct about issues with upgrade swap orders from Apple.com.

    The issue is the way they (Apple) process upgrades. The iPhone and the new Micro-SIM come pre-parked on the line that ordered the upgrade. When you activate it will display the phone number of the line the upgrade was ordered against. This would cause the OP to break their sister's service to get the phone activated.

    Dave
     
  13. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #13
    If sister's phone has been on the AT&T account for some time, OP may not actually need the IMEI number. AT&T will probably have it on file already. This will make it more convenient given the location difference.

    I agree wholeheartedly about not having any rep handle an upgrade swap. These are easy to do by oneself, and the reps may not have as vested as interested in keeping everything correct and current. This is especially true in the case of the grandfathered unlimited data plan, where if there is any mistake, it will be lost.

    ----------

    The way I see it, all of the iPhone 4S that go to Apple are "virgin", in that they are not pre-activated to any specific carrier. So these phones should be activated with the line/account/carrier that it was sold to.

    But a phone sold through a carrier, say AT&T, is most likely going to be used on AT&T anyways, so there is no need for this.
     
  14. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #14
    While it is true that the sister's IMEI is already in the billing system, the rep is required to collect the IMEI information and the ICCID information before removing the iPhone data plan feature.

    So the OP needs to get the information from their sister and be ready to call Customer Care to get the iPhone data plan removed from their sister's line.

    Dave
     
  15. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #15
    I never had to. Everything on the account is correct and current.
     
  16. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #16
    Nope each carrier has it's own SKU at Apple and just for fun a different SKU when sold via the Carrier. That's why each iPhone comes with the correct carrier's Micro-SIM pre-installed or with the correct firmware for CDMA carriers...:)

    The issue with Upgrade Swaps is tied directly to the way the Apple backend system captures the account information in the Apple system. For example if you use the iTunes proces you will see the phone number pre-populated in the activation screen and you can't change it. You are also prompted for the Account holders SSN to complete the activation.

    The AT&T activation process has a couple of different steps depending on your account type. Some offer web activation, others require you to call an automated number and Premier customers call yet another number to complete the activation steps. It makes your head hurt concerning how hard such a simple phone activation could possibly be made harder... :eek:

    So if you order an AT&T iPhone 4S from Apple or AT&T they will both have an AT&T Micro-SIM pre-installed.
     
  17. MrXiro thread starter macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #17
    I don't think I can have the phone shipped out to me though since I am not the primary account holder nor the billing address. I guess I'll need to send it to my parents house first and then have them send it to me. My sister does have data (200mb) and a smart phone currently, it's an android phone she is happy with. I'll be sure to order it from At&t then and then figure it out from there. Worst case my sister can activate it and then go to At&t and go back to her phone with a new SIM.
     
  18. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #18
    Care to explain your specific situation and how it varies from the Upgrade Swap the OP is trying to perform using their sister's handset upgrade without having the sister's service impacted by the process?

    Dave
     
  19. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2009
    #19
    So same model number, same UPC, but different SKU? Interesting.
     
  20. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #20
    That would be the easiest process. Since your sister can complete the activation steps when it is convenient for her and then shipping the new iPhone 4S to you. Just makes sure that she does not take a liking to the new iPhone 4S before you get out of her hands.

    Her current data plan is not compatible with the iPhone so she will have to get the data plans swapped back to the one compatibile with her Android. Also she willl need to understand that she is going to have visual voicemail added to her line and she will lose any currently stored or new voicemails while the features on her account are reset.

    Again, it might be best for her to do the activation in a local AT&T Corp Retail store to minimize her efforts since she is providing the phone upgrade and getting stuck with a new two year contract. :eek:

    Dave
     
  21. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    #21
    Basically the same. Upgrade swap from a non-smartphone, ordered through AT&T's website. Added data plan at the time of purchase, cancelled by phone after it was received.
     
  22. vitzr macrumors 68030

    vitzr

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #22
    You can save a lot of time & trouble by leaving the sims alone. No sim swapping is required. Any info on any sim that requires a change is done via AT&Ts activation computer. It's instant & no human mistakes can be made. It's a "smart system" that will only accept correct numerical data.
     
  23. dave006 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    #23
    Actually the model numbers vary between Apple AT&T iPhone and and AT&T iPhones ordered directly from AT&T.

    Here are two examples

    Apple ordered AT&T iPhone 4S 64GB - MD269LL/A
    AT&T ordered AT&T iPhone 4S 64GB - MD270LL/A

    Dave
     

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