[iPhone Filter] Do I need to upgrade my plan?
September 21, 2008 9:42 PM   Subscribe

iPhone 3G without 3G Plan?

I have the first generation iPhone. I want the GPS functionality of the iPhone 3G but I don't need the 3G speeds or the excess monthly charges.

Can I buy a new iPhone, take the sim card out of my old iPhone, put it in the new one, and be good to go without having to activate or deal with a higher data price?

Secondly, is there a way/might I need to turn off the 3G functionality in the system prefs of the new iPhone?
posted by brandoniain to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have a friend with a 3G phone? That would be an easy way to find out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 PM on September 21, 2008

Response by poster: Unfortunately, I don't.

Of course, I could just pop my sim into a 3G phone at a local apple store... But who knows how well that would go over.
posted by brandoniain at 10:08 PM on September 21, 2008

I have been wondering along the same lines, and also have a friend with a 3G iPhone that I asked the question of.
From what I could determine, one of the differences between the 1st gen and the 3G phones in terms of purchasing is that you can't leave the Apple store (or any legit dealer) without activating your 3G phone. In other words, you buy the 3G, you activate it, along with the contract. Purportedly you used to be able to buy without activating, then immediately jailbreak.

The alternative I have considered is having someone buy and early-terminate their contract (or do that yourself), and you cover the early-termination fee in order to get an activated 3G, jail-breakable, non-contract phone. My only question with doing that myself: would ATT let you continue to be a customer if you terminated your iPhone contract? Seems unlikely, or that they'd otherwise have some gotcha built into the contract.
posted by shunshine at 10:15 PM on September 21, 2008

Best answer: No, you cannot do this. iPhone 3G can only be sold and activated with the new data plan priced at $30 monthly for unlimited transfer. Even if you are in an area not serviced by the AT&T 3G data network, you will need to use this plan. If you were to get an iPhone 3G used, it would not work with a different SIM card than the one that comes with it. Should you want to use a different SIM card, you would need to contact AT&T and give them the ICCID number and they'd switch it to your account and would also change your data plan at the same time.

At this point, the iPhone 3G has not been unlocked successfully, only jailbroken. You can use this to activate it but YMMV as to whether data will work on it while using a different data plan. Also note that if you were to get a used iPhone 3G, you wouldn't receive a subsidy and it would be substantially more expensive.
posted by cgomez at 10:25 PM on September 21, 2008

Yesterday Gizmodo had a post about ATT clamping down on people using the iPhone 3G without the iPhone 3G data plan. How people were doing this is anyone's guess.

In other words even if you somehow were to get an iPhone 3G without the 3G plan, ATT would know about it you may face overage charges.
posted by birdherder at 4:35 AM on September 22, 2008

Pretty sure that if someone hacked the iPhone to turn off 3G, it'd be all over the news. Or at least, all over the blogosphere.

If you try to sign up for an iPhone WITHOUT a data plan, Rogers makes you sign a waiver form that says that you completely understand the consequences of doing so and will stay pay the per-kilobyte charges (which are considerably higher than their data plan). Your iPhone will still use 3G to update itself even if YOU never use the internet or internet-required apps on the iPhone. Pretty ingenious way for Apple to ensure that their product works the way THEY wanted it to and that wireless carriers couldn't ramp up the data charges, eh?
posted by Menomena at 6:08 AM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: I sort of did this, and it looks like the party is over. I had an original iPhone, bought the 3G on my upgrade for my wife. There was a loophole-hack where you could put your newly activated SIM card from your 3G back in your old iPhone, activate it that way, and tada - you're back on the $20 plan that includes 200 SMS. Put that SIM back in your 3G and you're good to go.

But as birdherder linked to, AT&T is busting people who are running a 3G without the $30 plan. I received an email from them, plus a text message sent to my wife's phone for not having the right data plan. I'll be calling today to switch my wife from the $20 to the $30 iPhone data plan, plus an extra $5 for the 200 SMS. What a ripoff, especially because we don't have 3G service in my area. Anyway, I figured AT&T would catch on eventually, so I'm not out anything for doing it for 2 months. They could always be hard-asses and go back with penalties and fees, but I think I'm in the clear.

Long story short, no, you can't go without the 3G plan. I did hear a couple of people in the first days of the 3G say they were able to argue it down to the $20 plan with customer service because there wasn't 3G available in the area, but I bet that's a longshot.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:10 AM on September 22, 2008

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