Goodbye iPhone, hello cheaper monthly.
September 3, 2008 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I've had an iPhone 3G for about six weeks now, and all of the love and excitement has been lost. How to best part with it and what precisely is possible?

I'll admit it. I was taken in by the marketing, by the promise of internet everywhere. Six weeks later, the luster is gone, and this phone is damn buggy and takes forever to do simple tasks. Plus, the monthly is too high for the (in)frequency that I use all of the non-phone features. Basically, I want to go back to my trust Sony Ericsson.

So what are my options? I bought it for the subsidized price, and I'm find with keeping the two year contract. A friend who is also on AT&T is willing to buy the phone from me for $250+/- since she isn't eligible for the subsidized price. Can she just put her AT&T SIM card in the iPhone, add the data plan and go on her way? In the same vein, can I take my SIM out, pop it back in my old SE phone (this works) and then cancel my data plan?

Anything I should know and/or be aware of?
posted by virga to Technology (10 answers total)
You could try something like Celltrade. has developed the world's first cellular exchange place. Whether you want to walk away from your current contract as a Get Out member, or if you want to find an unbeatable deal as a Get In member, has brought millions of cellular customer together to get out of stressful contract obligations, and to save big on their next cellular transaction.
posted by nitsuj at 2:11 PM on September 3, 2008

You have MEFIMAIL with a FEDEX label.

But that aside-a quick to AT&T should let you know if you can change plans -- but I would assume that since AT&T is both subsodizing the IPHONE, and providing Apple with royalties, they won't let you downgrade to a cheaper plan.

Do not sell the phone for <>
I would see if you can find someone locally (Craigslist?) who you can transfer the account to.

With any solution, carefully factor the entire cost of your decision. The iPhone's value is only 10% of the full cost of the 2 year commitment.
posted by SirStan at 2:12 PM on September 3, 2008

Goto an ATT store (not an Apple store) and your friend will be able to get an iPhone-specific SIM card which matches their account. (I'd phone ahead just in case this might be something they'd have to order, although I doubt it.) The iPhone has a special SIM card, and only that specific SIM card works for that phone, and that same SIM card can be used in an ATT phone or unlocked phone without restriction. Your friend cannot use their own SIM card in the iPhone; however, ATT will provide a SIM card.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2008

"A friend who is also on AT&T is willing to buy the phone from me for $250+/-..."

Check out eBay and look at prices for iPhones at the moment. I dare say you'll get far more for the phone selling it that way than the amount which your friend is offering you. You may need to invest in unlocking the phone to get a higher price for it on eBay, but it'd probably be well worth it in the long run.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:42 PM on September 3, 2008

A 3G iPhone is definitely going for much higher than $250 anywhere on the internets. I know, I've looked, a lot. I'm afraid when you bought the phone you were locked into that data plan for a certain amount of time. Don't know that for a fact but typically this is how cell phone companies work. Just gonna have to call AT&T and ask. Possibly more than once because they're not going to want to let you downgrade.
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:31 PM on September 3, 2008

You can't keep an iPhone 3G contract and just remove the data. You'll either need to find someone that will take over your contract, or bundle the ETF with your asking price.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:37 PM on September 3, 2008

Seems to me that AT&T customer service would give you the answer in a minute or two (once you get through, of course).
posted by Neiltupper at 5:30 PM on September 3, 2008

your friend will be able to get an iPhone-specific SIM card which matches their account.

Not the case, the SIM card in the iPhone is the same as any other SIM card on AT&T. It is just that when you purchase an iPhone there is already a SIM card installed and your number is activated on that new card (making your old SIM inactive).

My wife's regular non-iPhone SIM card works just fine in the iPhone 3G after adding the data plan to her number (I used the upgrade from my original iPhone to get her the new one).
posted by shinynewnick at 6:38 PM on September 3, 2008

You can downgrade. I just did it....I bought an iPhone last October and decided a few weeks ago that it wasn't worth it, so I sold the iPhone and am now back on a regular plan. As long as you stay with AT&T, they'll work with you.
posted by youcancallmeal at 6:55 PM on September 3, 2008

You should be able to sell the phone at somewhere near the non-subsidized price (around $500-600).

The SIM card is the same as any other AT&T SIM card. I bought a prepaid phone, stuck it in the iPhone, and everything works the same. Now all I have to do is pay the $175 ETF and all I have left is $20/month for unlimited data.
posted by meowzilla at 12:20 AM on September 4, 2008

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