iPhone Owners: Get A New 3G iPhone & Make Money Doing It

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3G iPhoneSome call it brilliant, others may call it taking advantage of the less technologically in-the-know public (which, technically, it is). But whatever you call it, if you have an iPhone and you act quickly, you can upgrade to the new 3G iPhone and even make money doing it.

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In case you hadn’t heard, on Monday Apple announced a new iPhone with built-in GPS and 3G Internet that’s 2x faster than the current EDGE service. The biggest news, however, is that it’s only going to cost $199. It will be released on July 11th.

For current iPhone owners interested in upgrading, here’s what you can do:

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Get a cheap replacement phone to use for the next month
Go to Best Buy or Walmart and buy the $15 AT&T Prepaid GoPhone by Motorola.
Take the SIM card out of your iPhone and put it in the new Motorola. It’s no longer prepaid, but a regular (cheap) cell phone with your number and service on it.

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Sell your current iPhone quick
Sell your current iPhone on eBay. They’re still selling on there for over $300. Some people don’t want to wait, some people live overseas, and much of the general public simply won’t find out about the new iPhone release for a while. The resale value is going to drop like a rock, so act quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get one for $100 bucks by this Fall.
Be sure to Restore your iPhone in iTunes before selling it, then just don’t re-sync your data to it so it’s empty. Whoever buys your iPhone just needs to take it to an AT&T store to get a new SIM card, then they can activate it in iTunes. It might be a good idea to include that info on a note in the package.

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Buy a new 3G iPhone and keep the profit
My iPhone sold for $340, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you got more than that. Now when the new iPhone comes out on July 11th, I’ll buy it for the $199 price tag and keep my $140 profit. Subtract the $15 temporary phone, eBay and PayPal fees, and I still make 100 bucks. Slick, yes? :D

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The fine print
I’ve made calls to Apple and AT&T with various questions on the nitty-gritty of this, and from those conversations and everything I’ve read it seems like the perfect plan. But here’s what you need to know:
First, the new 3G data plan will cost $10/month more than the current EDGE data plan, and it will be required with the new iPhone. This means if you have the lowest iPhone plan like me, your monthly bill will increase from $59.99 to $69.99 (plus taxes and fees, of course).
Second, AT&T has already stated that you’re going to have to renew your contract another two years when you buy the new iPhone. This may or may not be a big deal to you.
Third, AT&T has only released limited information at this time, so the specifics of upgrading, signing a new contract, etc. are all still kind of fuzzy. That being said, I encourage you to read up on this stuff like I have before jumping overboard. For example, some internal AT&T documents got leaked yesterday that make it sound like some current AT&T customers with non-iPhone phones may not be able to buy the 3G iPhone for the new low price. Now in reality, I’m using a cheap Motorola phone, but according to AT&T’s online account, I’m still using an iPhone. So according to my account I shouldn’t have any problems, but I also have friends with iPhones that I could stick my SIM card in solely to have in my pocket should reps at the AT&T store ask if I still have an iPhone. In other words, I have a backup plan.

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Everything I’ve heard makes me believe I’ll have no trouble upgrading to the new phone for the $199 price, but I can’t make you any guarantees if you decide to do this yourself. That said, get that iPhone on eBay quick if you’re going for it!

30 days and counting… I miss my iPhone already. :(

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When I called AT&T and mentioned the new, lower price of the next iPhone, the [apparently yet-to-be-informed] sales lady responded: “$199? No, there’s no way it’ll only be $199. Even our other phones like the BlackBerrys cost more than that.” After a moment’s pause I said, “Um, maybe you should check Apple’s site.” Her response?
“Oh wow. $199.”

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26 Responses to iPhone Owners: Get A New 3G iPhone & Make Money Doing It

  1. Bradjward says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Josh. Great idea. I just listed mine too:


  2. Amanda says:

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    Your idea makes sense, but there’s some speculation to the contrary as well. Some are predicting that the old iPhones are going to skyrocket in value, due to the fact that with the 3G you must sign a 2-year AT&T contract at the point of sale. That means: no buying and unlocking. Which could in turn mean that the value for the old phones will lie in their ability to be unlocked. Time will tell whether the value goes up or down, though.

  3. Josh says:

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    That’s true, Amanda. On the other hand, the reason most of the original phones were unlocked were for people in other countries to use them. And as Steve announced in his keynote the other day, they’re bringing the iPhone to like 70 new countries very soon. So who knows what will happen. It’ll be interesting to see.

  4. Bradjward says:

    Mine sold for $350. Now on my way to get my sad, pathetic Go Phone. :)

  5. A says:

    Question…Josh did you unlock your iPhone before you sold yours, or was it sold just like you received it from at&t?

  6. Josh says:

    Funny you should ask.
    I sold mine immediately after Steve’s keynote on Monday. I didn’t even think about unlocking it until it had already sold (it went in an hour and a half), but I wish I had.
    Unlocked phones are going for more (and sometimes much more) on eBay right now. My roommate is doing the same thing I’m doing with his iPhone. Before selling it on eBay for him, I unlocked it. It sold for $450. It was also brand new from Apple, because he had sent his in for technical problems and they sent him a new one back, and I think that helped. Regardless, if you unlock the phone first you’ll probably get more, so I’d recommend it.

  7. Bradjward says:

    seems like unlocked iphones for for 450-480. IN wish I had to.


    I will be sure to give joshclark.com a shout-out.

  8. Jose says:

    Does anyone know of a website that shows how to “unlock” an IPhone? I am thinking of selling mine before the new 3G phones come out using this method Josh described.

  9. Josh says:

    It’s simple and takes like a minute.
    Go to http://www.ziphone.org/
    Download the software.
    Plug in your phone and hit “Do It All!”
    You now have a jailbroken, unlocked iPhone.
    You can take your SIM card out first.

  10. Josh says:

    Nice site, Brad, by the way. Do you just plan on blogging about what you miss about having the iPhone, etc?
    I miss mine like a million times a day.
    28 days left…

  11. Bradjward says:

    Yeah, stuff like that. Things that I need to do but can’t, etc. I might put an occasional news piece up as it comes out, but I’ll leave all that to Gizmodo/TC/TUAW for the most part since everyone reads them anyways.

    Would you be interested in a guest blog post or two? Shoot me an email if you are.

  12. Bethany says:

    Do you have a link to the site that talks about the leaked AT&T documents, Josh?

  13. Josh says:

    If you click the “read up on” link in my post, they talk about the documents, try to clarify them, and also have a link to the leaked AT&T stuff.

  14. Daniel Campo says:

    Hey there Josh, I have a buddy of mine who owns an AT&T store (formerly Cingular). He told me that the iPhone’s will indeed be $199 and $299 respectively. However, this is the price AFTER a $200 rebate. I will speak to him again to see if hes heard anymore specifics. And also to confirm this to be 100% accurate. To me… It makes sense.

  15. Josh says:

    Hey Daniel,
    I wondered about that when they announced the new low price without saying anything about a rebate. That’s specifically what I called Apple to ask about, and the rep told me that it was $199, no rebate involved.
    The speculation is that Apple and AT&T are arguing about the price. Apple wants the iPhone to cost $199 for everyone, and AT&T wants to do the whole rebate thing. We’ll see what happens.

  16. Joel says:

    Great post Josh. I just sold mine yesterday for $368 on e-bay. It was locked and slightly scratched/worn on the back so I was pretty excited about the price it fetched.

  17. Blaise says:

    Hey Josh, if you notice a freebee site that’s doing the new G3 iPhone once it comes out, would you post it please? I’m heading to college this fall and would like to save myself 200 bucks.

  18. Josh says:

    I’ll definitely post if I find one. However, with the new iPhone you’ll be required to activate it with an AT&T service plan in store when you purchase it, so you won’t be able to get the phone online anywhere. Any “free iPhone” sites will only give you a check for the amount, so you could probably go ahead and do some other site for cash and just use that for a new iPhone.

  19. mcbrideut says:

    Too bad the IPhone is on the crappy AT&T

  20. Jose says:

    ok dumb question…i just sold my unlocked IPhone via e-bay…thank you Josh…do I ship the phone with or without the SIMS card? sorry I did not know where else to ask

  21. Josh says:

    You want to keep your SIM card. You can put it in another phone to use now until you get your new iPhone, and then you’ll put it in the new iPhone.

  22. Mike Shelton says:

    Hey Josh, good to see you posting, i sold my iphone for 245 on craigslist. I got it free from nuitech shortly after i got my mbp. They actually just sent me a check for $600.00. So I ended up getting $845.00 total. Cool huh, and my job is paying for my new iphone. HA.

  23. Josh says:

    I think I can speak for everyone when I say…you suck.


  24. Michael says:

    I’m thinking of buying a 1st gen iPhone cos my contract hasn’t ended yet. I know what the iphone is worth so don’t try to rip me off! :)

    I’m willing to pay a little extra Australian sellers.

  25. Bradjward says:

    Well man, we made it. Hope all was well on your end. Took us quite a bit of work, check the blog for more.

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