How To: Switch To The IPhone From Other Carriers
11 days until launch and it seems like we only remember the important things right at the last minute. Since a 2 year contract is no longer required, existing AT&T subscribers can plunk down the cash for an iPhone, pop in their SIM and enjoy the greatest Apple device yet to be released. Some of us, aren’t so lucky and are bound by ball and chain to providers who are envious of the iPhone (Verizon you had your chance.) But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of waiting weeks after launch plus setting up a contract then run over to your nearest AT&T store now!
Hadley had brought up a similar question earlier and I figured some of our readers will have the same problem. The first week will be absolute madness for Apple and AT&T stores all over the US, I doubt you’d want to venture directly into the chaos. But you have a problem, you want an iPhone from the Apple store yet have no service. Fret not, just go to your local store and activate a new plan. I called 6 different stores to confirm this and 5 said yes, the other one denied such claims stating you would have to either bring in your iPhone so they can jot down your phone information or buy the device directly from them. A red flag was raised when the employee mentioned they’d need to obtain your iPhone’s information, if this was the case then every time you swap SIM cards you’d have to go through this process.
The other 5 stores did confirm you can buy a plan sans phone but you would still be charged for the time it’s not used and the SIM have to be inserted in a phone within in 30 days. And one more thing, don’t make it painfully obvious you’re getting an iPhone as it’s considered a cash cow and you’ll be charged out the wazoo.
“Since a 2 year contract is no longer required. . .”
This has not been confirmed by either Apple or AT&T, and I think everyone is making too much of the fact that Apple’s dropped that line from their commercials. Avoid the wishful thinking and look at this practically.
After all the back bending AT&T has done to make the iPhone available through their service exclusively, it is against all business and common sense for AT&T to pass up the opportunity to tie iPhone purchasers to their service under contract. And, given the reports that Apple is to enjoy revenue sharing from AT&T iPhone plans, it’s against Apple’s interest to pass up requiring the iPhone be purchased with an AT&T plan.
On a more basic note, where’s the editorial discretion on this site? It seems every other blog is from someone expressing his or her (often unsupported) guesses on the iPhone launch, the AT&T plans, or reporting what he or she heard from an Apple or AT&T store rep.
“It seems every other blog is from someone expressing his or her (often unsupported) guesses on the iPhone launch, the AT&T plans, or reporting what he or she heard from an Apple or AT&T store rep.”
Well I am a little short of whipping out my crystal ball But AT&T and Apple will be selling the iPhone, accessories, contracts etc. who better to ask than them? The point about buying a plan without a phone is not specifically tied to the iPhone and it’s not something that was under lock and key. I called the stores to confirm if you could purchase a contract and only receive the SIM as I was unsure myself.
Also about the 2 year contract, most if not all AT&T stores will be selling the iPhone with a contract in order to cash in on their low stock but if the Apple store will also sell them and the iPhone has a SIM slot then there is nothing to stop me from putting my own SIM card in and using it.
If your point is, as your title states, to give a “how to” on switching to the iPhone (and AT&T) service from other carriers (that you’re tied by contract) to, then the story is a bit misleading.
>>> “Some of us, arenít so lucky and are bound by ball and chain to providers who are envious of the iPhone (Verizon you had your chance.)”
That ball and chain is the pre-existing service contract with the other carriers (T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc.). To get out of that contract, you have several options: (1) wait out the remainder on your contract; (2) terminate the contract and pay a penalty (~$200 depending on the terms of your contract); (3) buy out the balance of your contract (which some services allow and may be cheaper than the termination fee); (4) excuse from your contract on the off-chance your provider changes a material term of your contract (see www.consumerist.com). You fail to offer any of these options, or any other.
>>> “But if you donít want to go through the hassle of waiting weeks after launch plus setting up a contract then run over to your nearest AT&T store now!”
>>> “I called the stores to confirm if you could purchase a contract and only receive the SIM as I was unsure myself.”
You do, however, seem to suggest that the consumer can go to AT&T, set up a contract right now, and then have service all set up when he buys the iPhone later.
Several problems with this idea: first, this assumes that you can buy an iPhone without a new activation. If in fact each iPhone requires a new activation or, for pre-existing AT&T customers, a contract extension, your contract activation from 11 days or more before your iPhone purchase may not count, and you’ll have to go through the whole process again anyway.
Second, even if setting up a new AT&T service now gets you prepared for the iPhone later, and you don’t have to deal with signing up for a new activation again later, your new AT&T service will not discharge you from your contract with your other carrier. Like I said above, you don’t mention at all how to get out of the ball and chain of your prior contract with another carrier.
>>> “The first week will be absolute madness for Apple and AT&T stores all over the US, I doubt youíd want to venture directly into the chaos.”
The stores may well be chaos. But all you’re proposing seems to be to get the service set up now. Even assuming it all works out as you suggest, you’ll only save a little time. You’ll still have to venture into a store to buy your iPhone (unless you plan on ordering it online), and you’ll still face the chaos. And again, if in fact you have to sign up for a new activation when you buy your iPhone, you’ll have to go through the sign-up process again—contributing to the chaos.
>>> “. . . but if the Apple store will also sell them and the iPhone has a SIM slot then there is nothing to stop me from putting my own SIM card in and using it.”
The Apple Store will be selling the iPhone, and by other reports they will be equipped to sign people up for AT&T service. But forgetting the iPhone is an AT&T exclusive, the iPhone has a SIM card, yes. But the iPhone will likely be locked to AT&T, so there’s at least that stopping consumers (at least in the short run) from putting any old (non-AT&T) SIM card in.
Of course, this brings us back to the intended purpose of this article, how to switch to the iPhone from other carriers.
- If you are on other carriers, signing up for a new AT&T plan now is very premature, especially since neither AT&T or Apple have released details about the iPhone plans.
- If you’re still tied down by a contract with another provider, signing up for an AT&T plan now will not discharge you from that contract.
- Until the iPhone is unlocked, signing up for AT&T may be the only way to go.
- And, one final note, if you are not tied down by a ball and chain with a existing contract with another service, and you’re free to switch at any time, activate the AT&T plan first and have AT&T port over your prior mobile number. If you cancel your service with another service before signing up for a replacement service, you will lose the number from your prior service.