For those of you who asked after this appeared, my first AT&T wireless bill was only 66 pages long (33 double sided pages).
Thanks, Justine Ezarik, for reminding me that I’m still as unpopular as I was in high school.
Oh well, I better sign up for online billing.
The Steve and the Al would be happy.
[My iPhone scam after the jump]
How I ended up with an iPhone
This reminds me that a number of people have asked me how my iPhone scam works. Here’s my story…
Last year, after I broke up with my ex and de-family-planned myself, I decided it was time to get out of the dark ages of cellphonedom and get a smartphone. Being a Mac guy, Windows mobile was out so I decided to coast a month and wait until the Treo 680p came out in October before starting my billing process.
Which leads me to point out the most monumental moronitude of the cell phone industry: you get a better deal if you’re a new customer than if you’re an existing customer. Unlike the rest of the world which rewards loyalty (green stamps, airline miles, club cards…), the cell phone world invests their energy in poaching each other’s customers. How fucked up is that? Someone needs to teach the mobile companies a basic course in business management, before they totally get punked by the Steve.
(Earlier that year, I’m sitting at Plaxo talking to Drew Colace about that year’s WWDC—Drew writes the Plaxo Mac client—and Drew utters the fabled words, “As soon as I saw the scalable OS in Tiger, I thought iPhone.”)
Well the Treo didn’t come out until late November, so since Drew and I calculated that summer that MacWorld Expo would be the best time for Apple to launch a cell phone, I figured, “What the hell, it’s only a month away now. I might as well see what The Steve has to say before I get a Treo.”
And then I saw the MacWorld SteveNote.
Afterward, my second thought was, You know what? I’m f—king sick of doing clean installs every few years, relearning my PalmOS, and updating my f—ing hacks because I refuse to learn Graffitti2.
Hence the “Damn you Steve Jobs!” posts the first part of this year as I realized I’d be stuck on my insanely bad TMO plan for another six months.
(The first thought was, Whoever bought out FingerWorks, is so going to sue Apple silly. Alas, it turned out to be Apple!)
Now when the launch neared, I was really pissed to find out that there wasn’t going to be any discount for new customers/rape for existing customers.
(As an Apple fanboy I have to say how fucking brilliant that is because there is almost no barrier for me to get iPhone 2.0 when they introduce that in a few months except another six months tacked on my two year plan—see below.)
But as a person who has been paying insane bucks to TMO nine months of a non-promotional TMO plan. No discount? Fuck!
I get my discount
So here is the trick.
First, go to LetsTalk.com and ordered a really nice smartphone with a two year + data plan for AT&T. (I got a Blackberry Curve for -$50 after rebates, one of which was a $100 mail in, the others are applied at purchase time.)
After you get the rebates, you can activate your iPhone via iTunes, say you are an existing AT&T customer. It will reset your plan to two years + data.
Then sell the Curve on Craigslist or eBay unopened for $350. Net net. $400 discount on your iPhone.
Now if you’re really impatient like me, you can forgo the mail-ins and activate your iPhone while the LetsTalk phone is in transit. However, you cannot receive calls, only send them until the phone arrives. To fix that, call AT&T and say you purchased a new iPhone from their AT&T store and are having trouble in that when you receive calls it’s going to your TMO phone. They’ll put the takeover of your number through manually and you’ll have your phone activated in a couple hours.
BTW, I mentioned this idea to Don while he was in line in AppleStore Palo Alto and he said it won’t work and I’d end up with a four year plan.
But, it works. Trust me.
(I think he was just jealous that I managed to con the Shire into scoring me an iPhone that day.)
Whither the Curve?
I gave my Blackberry Curve to Mark—his Windows Mobile phone died and I owe him. Besides, the point was to see if it was possible.
[tags]iPhone, LetsTalk.com, scam, bill, online billing, environment, multitouch, FingerWorks, Blackberry Curve, Steve Jobs, Don MacAskill, Brian Shire, Mark Jen, Justine Ezarik[/tags]
8 thoughts on “My wireless bill”
Wouldn’t you know it. Just after I switch to electronic statements, AT&T fixes their billing problem.
BTW. 26 pages CNET? You’re failing me!
Great trick. If I ever get out of cell phone debt, I might try it.
Will letstalk kill your rebates (mail-in or instant) if you never actually activate that phone (or keep it in service for 6mos) before moving on to your iphone? I’m interested in giving your plan a try, but I’m concerned that they’ll revoke the rebates if I never actually use the phone I ordered from them.
I tried Letstalk and ATT and the iPhone purchase, and everything went smoothly. I was up $125 after instant rebates. There was a $50 ATT rebate and a $75 Letstalk rebate that I passed on. I passed on it, because I wanted to preserve the box for a quick sale of the Blackberry for $250. Without the box, it was probably worth $250. You should still be able to use the rebates because the rebate company wants a bar code from a letter (you have it), a UPC box label (you have that), and a bill showing you use an expensive data plan (you have that with the IPhone). Try it and write back here if you are only up $125 instead of $250. I should note that you are simply replacing equipment on the account, which you could do if you lost your Blackberry. Good luck and have fun with it.
I’m in the process of pulling the trigger on the deal. I’ve purchased an 8GB iphone (refurb) from At&T. And, I bought Blackjack II from Letstalk. The Blackjack is free (out the door) from letstalk and has an extra $50 MIR. I’m going to ebay the blackjack for very close to the purchase price of the iphone. They are currently going from about $215-260. So, after fees, I’ll be within a few bucks of what I paid for the iphone. And, if I get the extra $50 MIR, I’ll be a little up on the deal.
I just got the $50 rebate (in the form of a prepaid visa). So, it means that I got my iphone for free, nearly. I bought a refurb from AT&T for $249 ($270 including tax). I netted $222 after shipping and fees from the sale of the Blackjack II. With the $50 rebate, I came out a couple of dollars ahead.
Thanks for the advice
Re: FingerWorks (and Apple-added) multitouch patents.
We can see now Palm running head to head against them.
See what I mean when I thought, “They’re so going to get sued by Fingerworks.”