Getting the wife a new iPhone, and things related.
August 18, 2010 3:09 PM   Subscribe

My wife wants to get an iPhone, and is currently on Verizon. I already have one. What's the best route for us to go? If she gets an iPhone4, can I take it and give her the 3GS just by swapping the SIM cards? What is your experience with AT&Ts family plans, or are we better off having separate accts? Does ordering the phone online make anything more difficult?

I suspect that this is all pretty easy, I'm more asking just to make sure all the bases are covered...
posted by nevercalm to Technology (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can't swap SIM cards between a 3GS and iPhone4, the iPhone4 uses mico-sims. If you're adventurous, you could cut-it.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:13 PM on August 18, 2010

More info: Trim your SIM.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2010

Also, verizon could be getting the iphone as early as January so you may want to hold off until the announcement is made.

I hate AT&T so my suggestion would be to stick with verizon.
posted by TheBones at 3:24 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I hate ATT as well, but her cell was just destroyed and she wants an iPhone. In addition, we just got a ATT Microcell bc she has an ATT Blackberry for work and our coverage here is almost nonexistant, so our cell coverage at home is perfect. She won't use the Blackberry for personal stuff, so there really isn't any alternative....she's getting the iPhone, tonight or tomorrow. The big question is whether she can get the subsidized iPhone 4 and get my info on it while she takes my 3GS, and if so how we accomplish that.
posted by nevercalm at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2010

Swapping SIMs should work fine... also I just cut my SIM to a microsim yesterday and it works great. All thats needed is patience.
posted by ptsampras14 at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2010

Having just got an iPhone 4 myself, you may find that your wife wants to keep it for herself rather than take your secondhand 3GS model... ;-)
posted by finding.perdita at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]

I don't know anything about family plans, but it sounds simple enough and may end up saving you money. I also don't know anything about SIM cards.

I have heard varied stories about ordering online vs in the store. I always do in the store so I have a specific person to go to if there are issues with said order and/or phone set-up. For instance, I ordered my iPhone 4 through the store, it came to my house, I went back to the same store and same person who already knew I was transferring from Verizon and the whole porting predicament and everything. It makes me feel better to do it that way, but you may not care.

I know that people bitch about AT&T, but I switched from Verizon about a month ago myself. The phone is 100% worth it alone, but I am also saving about $50/mo and the service is really never as bad as people have made it out to be. Even in the mountains of Virginia where I expected no signal, I still got it.

Note: please get that phone a case.
posted by itsacover at 4:02 PM on August 18, 2010

Let the woman have the fancy new one. If you really want a iPhone4 as well pop for it and sell the 3GS.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:04 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

My wife and I both have iPhones4s, my brother and her sister have 3gs. We're all on a shared minute family plan. We've got group unlimited texts and my plan still has unlimited data (everyone else has 200megs). The family plan is the way to go; especially with rollover (we've got like 2500 banked now).

If she wants it now (and can find one in the store) don't wait til January.

I'd go to the store, every rep I've talked to in stores has been incredibly helpful. Porting should be easy and painless, provided she's not still under contract with Verizon. One thing to consider is the billing cycles - obviously she's gung-ho to get one soon; but if she only just started a billing month with Verizon, maybe she should wait til toward the end, so you don't pay two companies for cell service for the same month.
posted by ish__ at 4:12 PM on August 18, 2010

Response by poster: Taking the 4 vs the 3GS was her idea, her rationale being "you use it all the time, I'll never use it as much as you."

So I still haven't heard whether this is actually doable or not without taking a scissor to a SIM card. Once the phone is mine, can I get a new SIM card with whatever I need on it?
posted by nevercalm at 4:21 PM on August 18, 2010

ATT can do the swap for you when you buy the iPhone 4. My wife and I did this with a 3G and 3GS. I had the upgrade but we used it to get her a new phone. I personally wouldn't mess with trimming and swapping the SIM cards.
posted by alms at 4:48 PM on August 18, 2010

You should be able to get an AT&T store to sell you a new iPhone4 and put your number on it and get her number on your 3GS. They don't care who uses which phone, as long as the number of people on the plan matches with the 2 year commitments.
posted by advicepig at 4:58 PM on August 18, 2010

When my partner and I finally merged our phones into one AT&T account, we saved about $70 with the family plan.
posted by Zophi at 5:04 PM on August 18, 2010

Not to second-guess you -- but you know your ATT or Apple stores have iPhone 4s in stock? When I was out shopping for them a couple of weeks ago, stores was as dry as the bottom of the coffee mug I left in my office two weeks ago. I ended up ordering online and waiting two weeks.

But, as for the Family Plan, it's quite a deal. You should take a look at your respective bills and see how many minutes you actually use on people other than each other. The biggest problem tends to be the fact that you share minutes, but that's not necessarily a problem if the sum of your minutes is less than your plan. Remember that you get free mobile-to-mobile with everybody on the plan. You'll probably be saving about $50 a month being on the same plan.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:05 PM on August 18, 2010

Just got my iphone4 yesterday and it took over two weeks to arrive.
posted by tamitang at 8:34 PM on August 18, 2010

I recently upgraded from a 3G to an iPhone4, and just cut down my sim as many are suggesting. However, while it worked just fine, an employee of my service provider (Three) expressed concern that I was using a cut down sim and gave me a new legit microsim to active. Her reason for concern was that if the cut down sim were to get jammed in the phone somehow, or if something else went wrong with the phone, Apple would be within their rights to refuse to cover repairs of my device on the grounds that I was using it in an unauthorised or 'modded' way.

I'm not sure how accurate this information is, but it was given to me unsolicited and changing over to a legitimate microsim was free (so it wasn't an effort to extort money from me).

I know this is all a little off topic, but I thought it may be relevant somehow.
posted by elroyel1327 at 9:50 PM on August 18, 2010

Err actually you can't swap the sims. Sure you can cut the 3GS sim down to fit the iPhone4, but you can't expand the iPhone 4 sim to fit the 3GS.
I'm sure they could sort it out at an AT&T store though.
posted by w0mbat at 11:21 PM on August 18, 2010

From experience: You CAN use a microsim in a non-microsim device.
Either via an adapter, or (like my dad's 3G) via some tape to position it into the correct place in the sim holder.

Upgraded my dad's line to an iphone 4 - I took it, trimmed my sim, taped his (new) microsim into the 3G sim card holder, and voila! I got a new phone for the upgrade price, and he continued to use his phone normally.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:20 AM on August 19, 2010

My wife and I just did basically exactly what you're looking to do. She's been using an ancient t-mobile pay-as-you-go phone and wanted to upgrade to something a little more up-to-date, so we looked into getting her an iPhone as well. I had an iPhone 3GS that I got back in September (so too soon to upgrade to the iphone4 on my plan alone).

We went to an ATT store and they ordered the iphone4. We converted my line to a family plan and added her to it. They had absolutely no problems swapping my phone (the 3GS) over to her and giving me the new iphone4; in fact, they kept all of the numbers and everything the same. They didn't even blink or hesitate when we asked if it was possible for me to get the new phone and her to get my old phone.

My suggestion is to just have ATT handle all of the work; they'll just put new SIMs in each of the devices. The only thing we paid for was the phone and the change to a family plan (plus her new data plan).
posted by DiamondGFX at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2010

The rumours about Verizon getting the iPhone have been going around with more frequency, but aside from rampant blogger speculation there is absolutely no evidence or proof of this whatsoever. It seems that the rumors pop up when some analyst wants to wiggle the stock price around, since VZ always seems to jump on the rumors. Take them with a huge grain of salt.

Anyway... we have two iPhones and a family plan. 1400 minutes, and we have Rollover and the A-List thing. If she calls certain people a lot, A-List is great but to be honest with you, she uses a LOT more Mobile to Mobile minutes, which are free.

Whether or not you go for the family plan really depends on your usage. I went into the stores to buy stuff, but that's because there was a corporate store on my way home.
posted by drstein at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2010

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