Transferring iPhone 3G from one family plan member to another?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by vertigoman, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. vertigoman macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2009
    Hi... this is my first post, so be gentle with me please :)

    I understand there's probably a new iPhone coming out this summer, but I've just been given one as a gift. I wouldn't have bought it knowing that there's a new one coming, but obviously one does not plan on whether or not they'll be getting gifts. Just throwing that out there because the obvious solution to my question ("Don't buy one yet!") doesn't really apply.

    I don't want this iPhone. I don't mean to sound like a greedy, selfish bastard or anything, but 16gb just doesn't cut it for my iPod needs, and I only wanted an iPhone if it could replace both my phone and my iPod. Currently, a 16gb iPhone simply can't do that for me. It's a wonderful piece of technology for sure, it's just not right for me. But since it was purchased through the AT&T mail-order, there's really no way I can return it without my dad being wise to the matter, and let's just say that wouldn't really go over too well. So returning it isn't an option for me, unfortunately.

    I'm on an AT&T family plan with my brothers and my father. If I start using this iPhone now, is it possible to transfer the use of the phone to one of the other members on the family plan at some point? I was thinking I might be able to save a little face and get away with it if I used this for a few months until the new one came out, transferred the one I have now to one of my brothers, and then bought a new one for myself. We'd all still be on AT&T, so we wouldn't actually be canceling the service contract or anything. Is that even possible?

    I tried searching for an answer on this forum but couldn't find anyone who had a similar situation. I'm pretty good with computers and stuff, but when it comes to phones and phone plans and all of that, I'm pretty much useless. Thanks in advance for any help or insight.
  2. DPA macrumors 65816


    Welcome to MacRumors: Forums I hope we can answer your questions.

    To answer the question specifically asked in your post, yes, you can switch your iPhone from a FamilyTalk Plan to another FamilyTalk Plan or from a FamilyTalk Plan to an Individual Plan and vis-versa.

    Since you got the iPhone as a gift, it was basically free (for you).:) Once the new one comes out, probably this summer, you can transfer the SIM Card right from your current one to the new one right at the Apple Store, or wherever you get it from. If it's another mail-order, you can just transfer the SIM when you get it. You might even be able to pick up a few (hundred) bucks on eBay for your current iPhone once you get the new one.

    Hope this clarifies a bit! As always, if you have any further questions to this topic you can post a reply and if it is not relevant to this then you can perform a search and start a new thread of necessary. You can also PM me if you wish.

  3. vertigoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2009
    Hi David, thank you so much for the quick response and the help. I think I'm understanding you correctly, but just to confirm, I should be able to:

    1. Use my new iPhone 3G from now until the summer
    2. When iPhone SuperNewVersion comes out (presumably summer), buy one of those on the same family plan I'm on
    3. Make the iPhone 3G I currently own work for my brother (his phone number instead of mine)
    4. Make the iPhone SuperNewVersion coming this summer work with my existing number (the one that's currently on my iPhone 3G)
    5. And keep all of these devices on the same family plan (i.e. I don't want to set up new AT&T accounts or anything)

    It sounds like you're saying yes to all of the above, but can you blame a newbie for wanting to make sure? :)

    Oh, one last dumb question - I don't really know how SIM cards work. So if (in theory) I take my SIM card from this iPhone and put it into a new one, the SIM card is the thing that tells it what my phone number is supposed to be, etc?
  4. DPA macrumors 65816


    You have understood me correctly. One thing I failed to mention was that you can only have three iPhones on one FamilyTalk Plan, in addition to the original iPhone, so in total, four iPhones. I believe you can have other numbers on it as well besides three iPhones but I'm not sure. All iPhones in addition to the first iPhone on the FamilyTalk Plan are $39.99. The first iPhone is $129.99 for the 700 minute plan. If your like me, you wouldn't even need the 700 minutes and only need unlimited text messages. I currently have about 7,000 Rollover mintues!:D:p But over 5,000 text messages.:eek:

    The SIM Card is what tells the phone what number and plan you have. So you are correct, if you put your SIM card in another phone it, will be activated with your number and plan.

  5. vertigoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2009
    Yeah, I think we're in the same boat regarding roll over minutes :)

    Fortunately, there are only four of us on the family plan to begin with, so even if we all got iPhones we'd still be OK. Good to know, though, I had no idea there was a limit.
  6. DPA macrumors 65816


    The wording on the AT&T website is a little confusing, it says, "$39.99 for each additional line (limit to 3 additional lines)". I think that means you can have 4 lines (iPhones) total. You may want to contact AT&T about adding additional phones other than iPhones on that line. Especially if you don't want data service on them, it would be a waste of money.

  7. middleisgold macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    It also matters whether your line has already been upgraded. If someone bought you the phone as a gift, did they have access to your account and upgrade your line? Or did they upgrade their line and transfer the phone to you? If your line has already been upgraded, it's possible they'll make you pay full price for the next iphone that comes out. You should look into that, because you do have 30 days to return the phone.
  8. vertigoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2009
    Hi middleisgold, thanks for the reply.

    We're all on the same family plan - nothing was changed or upgraded besides the addition of the iPhone. One other person on the plan has an iPhone already so I think all of that's been done. I was aware of the 30 day return policy, but the issue was more that the phone was a gift (from my dad, who has the family plan with AT&T that I mentioned) and I didn't think there was really a tactful way for me to return it. However, after thinking about it for the past few days, I think that's exactly what I'm going to do - return it, that is.

    The iPhone is a magnificent piece of technology, and I love it as a concept, but I don't think it's right for me just yet. I'm really only interested in having one if it can replace both my cell phone and my iPod, but at 16gb, it just doesn't cut it for me. I have internet access at work all day, so it's not as if I'm lacking for email access or anything like that, so while it would be cool to have, it's not necessary. I very rarely use my phone anyway, so it would be primarily an iPod for me that I occasionally will use for calls, and the bottom line for me is that I need an iPod larger than 16gb. Carrying an iPhone and an iPod makes little sense in my daily life, so I'm just gonna have to suck it up and find a tactful way to return it. I know that probably means that I'm crazy, but why be stuck with something that I didn't really want in the first place that doesn't fulfill my needs?

    Thanks to everyone posting and helping me figure out some of the AT&T contract/phone operation stuff -- sorry to have wasted everyone's time, too.
  9. new2macrumors macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2009
    I have a question along the same line.
    I bought my iphone 3G last August when I switched from Verizon. I added my wife to the family plan, just plain voice service since I did not get her an iphone.
    With my new job, I need to get a company cell phone, but I don't want to carry my personal iphone and a company-issued phone together.

    I would like to transfer my iphone service to my wife's number and then my company issue my new phone with my existing number.

    Based on this thread earlier response, I should be able to transfer my iphone service, including the data plan, to my wife's number, but would ATT allow me to terminate the now surplussed line, saving me $9.99/month?

    Thanks in advance.
  10. heatguts58 macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    Reading this thread made me sad. If i read it correctly, since I'm already on AT&T I could have just walked in the the AT&T store or apple store and bought a "new" iphone at full price without signing a new contract? Damn I did not know that. I freakin searched through craigslist for days looking for an iphone 3g and ended up buying a used "fair" condition iphone for 390 cash. I bought through craigslist because I'm already on a family plan with shared minutes and did not want to lose that. Please respond. Thanks.

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