How best to combine two iPhone accounts in a business?
September 16, 2009 8:08 AM   Subscribe

How should I combine my personal AT&T wireless account with someone who works for me (both with iPhones)?

I currently have an iPhone with AT&T in the US. Right now I pay for it personally, but my business (that I own) will be paying the bill starting next month. I am going to be purchasing another iPhone for someone who is technically an independent contractor (salesperson paid commission only), and would like the business to pay that bill as well. What is the best/cheapest way to accomplish this? Should I just "add a line" to my account, give them the phone, and pay the bill with my business credit card? If I tell the AT&T rep that this is for a business, will they want to charge a lot more/differently?

Another complication is that this salesperson currently has a personal account with AT&T that is not up for renewal/upgrade anytime soon. I'd like to be able to tell the AT&T rep at the store about this, and explain that they're working for me and see if AT&T can let them off the hook early on that account since I'm starting a new one for them, and have the potential to bring them more money as a business. I'm concerned that if I tell them that, they'll want to charge a lot more just because it's for a business. Suggestions?
posted by entropic to Shopping (5 answers total)
You can take ownership of the salesperson's existing account and make it a secondary line to your phone. Bring the salesperson to the store with you when you establish the account so they can authorize the change. They'll also transfer the phone number.

You may need to purchase the iphone separately, or re-up their existing contract by two years to get the lower price.
posted by mrsshotglass at 8:17 AM on September 16, 2009

Response by poster: Any idea if they will be likely to cut me a deal and let me buy the new phone at the fully subsidized price? Also, are they likely to balk at adding a non-family member to my account?
posted by entropic at 8:32 AM on September 16, 2009

no clue on the discount. from what i've seen apple & att don't like to budge on iphone equipment pricing.

As for non-family members, i doubt they'll care. my family plan includes 2 of my close friends.

note - I established my ATT earlier this week, so my experience is recent.
posted by mrsshotglass at 8:38 AM on September 16, 2009

I would call AT&T and talk to them about this.

Business accounts can vary tremendously from personal accounts, and might offer discounts, additional minutes, or other features that are not available for a personal account, even for a small business.

I get a corporate discount on my personal line through AT&T and even the website I access is different.

It's possible that in order to do what you want, your sales person will have to cancel his/her personal line, pay an early termination fee, and port the number into the new account. Your better option might be to subsidize or reimburse him or her for the cost of the plan rather than take ownership of the number.

Again, I'd talk to someone at AT&T in their business department.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:04 AM on September 16, 2009

Don't talk to AT&T's business department. It will be a waste of your time, and iPhone business accounts are a particular pain in the ass because there are a few different business departments at AT&T, and none of them really understand the iPhone plans. Here's the relevant piece of information you need: there are no business discounts until you hit 5 phones on your plan. You might be able to convince them to drop the old plan, but you might just have to suck it up and pay the ETF. That'll depend on who you talk to. You might be better off getting the iPhone, signing the new contract first, and then transferring it over to your name, but only they can tell you that.
posted by Caviar at 10:10 PM on September 17, 2009

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