iphone swap?
July 25, 2008 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about getting the iphone, selling it on ebay, and using the proceeds to buy the nokia e71. Does anyone foresee any problems with this strategy?

Basically I want the nokia e71. Unfortunately it's not picked up by any carrier, meaning I have to buy it separately for about $500. I would probably want to have AT&T service anyways since t-mobile (my current provider that I can dump any time) hasn't rolled out 3G service in chicago and apparently has no plans to do so.

iphones are going for upwards of $600 on ebay. so i figure at worst I'll have effectively paid 100 bucks for the phone I want.

Does anyone see any flaws in this strategy.

Also, how difficult is it to unlock an iphone? And should I do this before I sell it on ebay, or let the buyer figure it out?
posted by sorindome to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
The iPhones I see on eBay are trumpeting "SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE" I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is -- where do you plan on getting yours?
posted by kate blank at 7:33 AM on July 25, 2008

iPhones are hard to get; you'd have to get hold of one after they become somewhat-available but before they become easily available. Probably a tricky needle to thread.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:35 AM on July 25, 2008

1) Not sure of the details on activation, but if you get your discount and don't activate it, they'll charge you full price.
2) No one I know has any trouble getting them around here.
posted by piedmont at 7:37 AM on July 25, 2008

Actually they are not quite as sold out as they were last week. Which means they might not go for as much on eBay as they did last week.
posted by Dec One at 7:38 AM on July 25, 2008

piedmont -

couldn't I just activate it and then pull the sim card for my new phone? Or does activating it tie the phone specifically to me in some manner beyond the sim card?
posted by sorindome at 7:40 AM on July 25, 2008

Well, there's the risk in your purchase (e.g., non-activation leads to full price) and sale (price drops on ebay, transaction costs, etc.). But assume you clear your 400. The Nokia still costs you 500 (you just have more cash on hand), and you have a two-year contract.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:47 AM on July 25, 2008

Well, the IMEI will give it away for one. But again, I don't know the specifics on what AT&T requires as far as activation goes.
The Howard Forums were recomended to me here for mobile phone questions, and they really are a wealth of knowledge.
posted by piedmont at 7:54 AM on July 25, 2008

I don't think this is such a good idea-

theoretically, you can just pop your sim card out and put it in another phone, but I don't see why anyone else would buy it.

it's an iPhone 3G- the only 3G Network that works with a SIM card is AT&T. T-Mobile, the other SIM card service doesn't have a 3G network. Sprint and Verizon's 3G network are both CDMA.

Given that someone is going to have to use AT&T anyway to get access to the 3G speed, why would they want an unlocked phone? Unless you wanted to sell it overseas, but then you have all the ebay overseas hassle.
posted by unexpected at 8:01 AM on July 25, 2008


I don't know much about this, but I suppose that even if AT&T were the only option, the lucky purchaser would get the desired iPhone without a two-year commitment . . . perhaps just going month to month on a prior plan.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:18 AM on July 25, 2008

You would be tied in to a contract with AT&T, which may or may not be an issue. If you get a 16GB iPhone, you can sell it for around $1000. Unlocking is always a good idea, because a lot of people that buy them don't know how to do it.

I did roughly the same thing with the previous version of the iPhone (but I did it for a HTC Touch Cruise), and it worked out well for me.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:18 AM on July 25, 2008

It's very very likely that the E71 will be picked up by AT&T. I'd wait a couple of months if I were you.

posted by falameufilho at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2008


The Nokia is the better phone.
posted by Zambrano at 9:33 AM on July 25, 2008

The problem with this plan is that you'd end up paying too much for data. The iPhone data plan is an extra ten bucks a month. You might be able to remove it once you aren't using the iPhone anymore, but that's where they're (supposedly) making back the subsidy, so who knows.

You will be able to get the E71 for under $400 in the next couple of weeks as the availability of the version with US 3G improves. Already I've seen them below $420 with free shipping, although from folks who don't have their shipments in yet.

Of course, it could do an E61 and go back up after prices dropping like a stone for a month.

Good choice on the phone, though. I want one badly. I'm trying to have the patience to see if at&t carries it and whether or not they turn it into a crippled piece of junk. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The E62, for example, would have been a fine phone, even without WiFi, if it didn't get slower than molasses after a while of use.
posted by wierdo at 11:01 AM on July 25, 2008

I was under the impression that T-Mobile was beginning a 3G rollout, "expected to be up and running in 80 percent of the top 20 markets by the end of the year". I presume Chicago is one of those markets.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:10 AM on July 25, 2008

A point perhaps being missed: iPhone 3Gs fall back to regular GSM whenever 3G is not available, with no penalty. In fact, the battery lasts longer that way.

That is, a 3G network is not required for an iPhone 3G, though of course you're losing the speed benefit.
posted by rokusan at 11:43 AM on July 25, 2008

T-Mobile has plans for 3G and is a lot less expensive to use for data than AT&T. I stay connected to my Exchange server with My Nokia E51, use it for personal email, web browsing, etc., for $6 a month unlimited.

I'd buy the iPhone, activate it, unlock it, and list it, just as you planned, but not count on getting $600 on eBay. Whether you get that much or not, you've still spent a relatively small amount and significantly reduced the price of your new Nokia, and T-Mobile doesn't care that you've switched phones again. Be aware, though, that accepting the phone upgrade price does extend your contract with T-Mobile 2 years from the date of the transaction, so if you jump to AT&T, you will pay a termination fee.
posted by notashroom at 2:11 PM on July 25, 2008

This is a very late reply, but one note on the T-Mobile front: Their 3G is deployed on the 'AWS' band, for which almost no phones currently exist. Sort of like there aren't nearly as many phones that work in 3G mode on the US cellular and PCS bands as there are that work on the rest of the world's 3G band, only worse.

That iPhone won't ever be working on T-Mobile in 3G mode. Nor will an E71, or any other current 3G device, save whatever T-Mobile is selling.

Note that I'm not knocking T-Mobile. It's not their fault the FCC let AT&T and VZW accumulate so much spectrum.
posted by wierdo at 8:01 PM on August 5, 2008

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