Switching to new iPhone on AT&T w/o subsidy?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nathanielonfire, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. nathanielonfire macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    #1
    Hi folks.

    I'm relatively new to AT&T, having just switched from a Sprint 4S to a new 5c. So far, I love the new phone and even better, the network. Being new to SIM cards and GSM in general, I have a couple of questions about hypothetically getting a new phone next year. I'm not on AT&T Next, because I know I wouldn't save any money that way. If I were to buy the iPhone 6/6c/whatever when Apple inevitably releases it next year, it seems there are two options: buying locked from AT&T and buying unlocked, contract/subsidy free. I would resell my current phone to recoup costs.

    1. Is it really as simple as swapping the SIM cards in the phone? Do I have to contact AT&T at all?

    2. Can AT&T "see" that I have a new phone? Do they charge another "activation fee" or an "upgrade fee" of any kind to do this?

    3. I've read that iPhones have their own data plans, which I know nothing about. Since I'm changing from iPhone to iPhone, I assume there would be no plan changes?

    4. If you switch to an unlocked phone or unsubsidized phone, does AT&T extend your contract?

    I'm on a single-line plan, no conflicting upgrades or cross-line upgrades to worry about. From what I've read, it seems to be as simple as swapping the SIM cards. Based on my experience over the years of swapping phones with Sprint, I know sometimes the headaches are in the details (plan swaps, prorated bills, mysterious upgrade fees appearing) and it's hard to believe that AT&T is anything but.

    Thanks for clarification.
     
  2. sucka free macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    #2
    AT&T will allow you to re-up your 2yr contract at 18 months so you don't have to wait the 2 years to use your upgrade. A manager can override upgrade times, If you get a cool one he will do it sooner than that.

    If you provide your own phone, I.E. Pay full price for a phone not using your upgrade, AT&T will connect it to a new or existing line without re-mewing your contract.

    When you change phones all your contract details carry over.
    You can just insert the new sim into the phone to activate it, however I always call in for good measure to make sure that everything I exactly the way it was on my last device.

    I had a bad experience when I upgraded in store and the reps start making plan changes without telling you.
     
  3. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #3

    i don't think they do this anymore
     
  4. sucka free macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2012
    #4
    Which part ?
     
  5. aneftp macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    #5
    Att and verizon have gotten very stingy on upgrades. Now they require a full 24 months for upgrades (your contract end date). Before it was 18-21 months in between upgrades with some people who paid over a certain amount getting upgrades every 12 months for primary line (like sprint long time customers used to get 12 month upgrades).
     
  6. nathanielonfire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    #6
    I'm not too concerned about getting an upgrade from AT&T, especially if I bring in an unlocked phone.

    If I swap my SIM to an unlocked phone that I brought in myself, do my plan, contract term, and service stay exactly the same?
     
  7. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #7
    1. Yes, no need to call AT&T unless you need a different SIM card (i.e. change in size)
    2. Yes, they see the IMEI every time the phone registers on the network. No, they won't charge anything; they never have on any of the times I've changed phones out on a line on my account.
    3. No data plan change unless it's iphone model dependent. Not a big deal; worst case you call up AT&T, tell them you changed out phones, give them the new IMEI, and switch data plan.
    4. No contract extension or re-up when you swap phones with a phone you're providing. I've done this multiple time "handing down" phones to family members.
     
  8. satchow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    #8
    1) Yes. I bought a full priced unlocked iPhone 5s. All I did was take out the simcard from the 5 and put it into the 5s and turned it on and it connected right up to the AT&T network.

    2) Upgrade fees are only charged when you buy a phone from AT&T at a subsidized price.

    3) No plan changes

    4) Contract not extended
     
  9. aneftp macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    #9
    U need to be very careful about brining a month to month line to att. Their systems or the sales person make it hard to go month to month.

    It's better just to sign up for AIO wireless prepaid (still att) and go month to month than switch to att post paid when iPhone 6 comes out.

    Aio wireless is just att subsidy with access to "slow" lte at 8mpbs. But it's $55 unlimited data text and 2gb data (no overcharges). No additional taxes. Same att coverage.
     
  10. nathanielonfire thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    #10
    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to know! Who knew it could be so easy? :)

    Question for you, deeddawg: When you say iPhone-dependent data plan, I assume AT&T has some sort of internal marking of LTE-plans and 3G/4G plans or something? Do some plans not allow for LTE? Everything I can find is just "data plan" with no distinction.
     
  11. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #11
    at&t has early upgrades

    after a year you can buy a new iphone for $449 instead of $649 so you don't have to buy full price every year. sell your old one and your out of pocket cost is $50 to $200 every year depending on model and how much you get
     
  12. sucka free macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    #12
    My experience had been that they get strict about it around iphone release time, and lax about it after a few months.
    It's just like buying a car, you go in at the end of the month, and their numbers are down, they will pretty much do whatever you want.

    If they aren't able to do it in the store, they will have you call in to customer service for an 'exception'

    You also used to get immediate upgrade eligability if you signed up for their Uverse service.

    All of this may have recently changed with the next program which they are pushing now, but I've never had an issue in the past getting an early upgrade
     
  13. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #13
    Yes, AT&T has slightly different data plan names for different iphone models; I've gone through 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5s. The pricing and capabilities all match the data plans you see on their website, and it just seems to be an internal naming thing or something.

    When I've switched phones there's never been an issue with their system just marking the plan appropriate for the device. I don't know if LTE is specifically disallowed on the other ones, but there's no reason you wouldn't have an iPhone LTE plan on an LTE capable iPhone.
     
  14. aneftp macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    #14
    Carriers have gotten extemely strict. No more early (full subsidy) upgrades.

    They still offer partial early upgrades $250 plus ($199/299/399 price of iPhone). But in my opinion that's a bad deal since you still have to wait a full 24 months for full upgrade again.

    Carriers aren't shy are their goal to "reduce" cell phone subsidy. Att next verizon edge are programs to blatantly trick people into paying full price. Also by extending the full subsidy upgrade from 18/21 moths to full 24 months. That's a backdoor way to reduce the subsidy as well. $450 iPhone subsidy/18 months equals $25/month subsidy per line per phone.

    Now its $450/24 months $18.75/month subsidy. So in essence by making you wait another 6 months for upgrade they are indirectly really raising your monthly payment by$6.25 per line each month.

    $6/line x 100 million lines per month is $600 million dollars. That's a whole lot of money.
     
  15. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #15
    Just use aio wireless if you're not using a subsidy. Still uses AT&T network.
     
  16. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #16
    He's just started a contract with a subsidized phone (most likely) and is asking about how it'd work to get a new phone at next year's release.

    Switching to AIO next year would incur an ETF of around $200 +/- $10 and he's still be paying retail for the new phone. Not sure how that'd be a good deal unless the AIO monthly cost was sufficiently less than AT&T to overcome the difference.
     

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