I CAN HAZ IPHONE? As I mentioned earlier, I now have an iPhone. That's all well and good, but there's a problem.

I can't figure out what to do with it.

You see, I have no reason to switch cell phones or carriers at this point. In fact, that'd be counterproductive for a number of reasons that I won't bother to enumerate right now. I'm willing to keep the iPhone and simply get a data plan for it. Why? Let's face it. The iPhone is appealing to me as a tiny portable computer with Wifi and cell network access. That fact that it can also make voice calls isn't terribly interesting or useful to me.

But when I checked, I found that the AT&T iPhone rate plans are 2 to 3 times more than I'm willing to spend on this. Even the cheapest one is $60+/month with a 2 year commitment.

Yikes! Everything about Apple hardware is expensive, huh?

So on the one hand, I can simply sell the phone and use the money for something else. I suspect that I'd have no trouble doing so.

But on the other hand, I keep hearing that in a few days someone will be selling software or some bit of voodoo that will allow me to use the iPhone on another carrier--maybe one with a data-only plan for something closer to $20/month.

So I'm torn. Do I just sell it and make some quick cash. Or do I invest the time and energy into unlocking it and finding a carrier who is more reasonable for what I'd like to do?

I haven't had time to track down the current state of unlocking iPhones and what the other carriers offer. Have you?

Posted by jzawodn at September 05, 2007 07:17 AM

Reader Comments
# Charles said:

I have no complaints with the AT&T contract, but then, I've been on AT&T for years. I mostly use my iPhone on WiFi but there are always times when you're somewhere without access, and the EDGE net is just fine for those times (even if it's not so speedy). At least EDGE is ubiquitous.
I don't know what your issues are with your carrier, but I don't think the unlock dealybobs are safe yet. I don't think you'd have any trouble migrating to an AT&T iPhone for all your calls. You'd love it.

on September 5, 2007 07:30 AM
# Egor Egorov said:

Unlocking the iPhone is fun. :-) So wy not hack around with it? You could later sell the unlocked iPhone for more bucks. :)

on September 5, 2007 07:33 AM
# JW said:

Look into the FamilyTalk plans and consider a plan including your girl. Those are much more reasonably priced. Granted she may not have a need to switch either, but you guys are going to be on one cell plan at some point I assume.

on September 5, 2007 07:39 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

We already are on a single plan and really have little interest in switching. Like I said, "I have no reason to switch cell phones or carriers at this point. In fact, that'd be counterproductive for a number of reasons that I won't bother to enumerate right now."

I really am trying to decide between selling or hanging on in the hopes of hacking it and finding a cheaper data plan.

on September 5, 2007 07:45 AM
# MattC said:

Look at it this way Jeremy, you can jump off the iPhone bandwagon and get rid of it. It is a really cool portable device and I would probably love it. But is it really that necessary? I mean, do you have an mp3 player that you already spent money on? Do you already have a phone under contract with a decent plan/rate? (yes) Do you have a laptop? It gets to the point where there are only so many portable devices you can have. Yes, this might be able to consolidate a lot of that but at what cost.

Plus you know you want a Google Phone. lol jk.

on September 5, 2007 07:55 AM
# lisa said:

i'm in the process of selling mine now. i've found the initial wow factor has worn off after receiving a few monthly bills (yikes!). the main problem is it's too big for my liking and it does too much. the ipod's beauty is in its ability to do one thing well.

on September 5, 2007 07:57 AM
# Michael Stubblefield said:

Here are a few different resources you asked for.

First off, the turbosim card method seems like the current stable method:

Although in perhaps a week we'll see a new, software only method:

Be careful however, or your iPhone may end up like this:

on September 5, 2007 08:13 AM
# Erik Schwartz said:

My understanding is if you can arrange to fail the credit check (by maybe making up a bogus SSN) you can activate the phone as a pay as you go prepaid customer.

That might work well for you.

on September 5, 2007 08:22 AM
# said:

I'd say hang onto it for a bit longer, the software-based unlocks should be showing up any day now. Once you've done that you could use the iPhone on T-Mobile (I'm assuming that's who you have, since they're the only other big US GSM provider) and get their $6 internet plan. Of course, that's only if the iPhone supports using a proxy to get around the port restrictions for internet access, otherwise you'd need the $30 plan.

on September 5, 2007 08:23 AM
# Alex said:

Hack it!

If you're interested in the device but don't want the expensive contract then it's a fairly decent option. May take some time and effort to get it working, but you'll have the advantages of the iPhone without AT&T.

on September 5, 2007 08:25 AM
# chad said:

Here's the thing Jeremy, you talk about not chasing after shiny things, and if it's basically no use to you I'd say sell it. You probably have better/more fun ways to spend your time then trying to hack an iPhone.

on September 5, 2007 08:30 AM
# said:

Keep it and use it in wifi only mode until more / different / better cell data plans become available.

on September 5, 2007 08:31 AM
# billo said:

dump it and get a wifi ipod when they are announced today. who needs a phone?

on September 5, 2007 08:42 AM
# johnrob said:

You should make sure the phone has a wifi connection, install VNC on it, and let developers test their web apps on it!!

on September 5, 2007 09:07 AM
# Ethan said:

It's not likely to go down much in value anytime soon. . Might as well hang on to it to see how the software unlock app unfolds.

on September 5, 2007 09:34 AM
# said:

"Everything about Apple hardware is expensive ... "

I remember back in ancient times when the "Franklin", an Apple clone, failed. It was a sign that Apple's got a kind of (loyalty / brand obsession / ?) you don't usually see in computing.

Sell it and wait for the cheap Google mobile OS phones coming "soon". OR better yet, get Yahoo to make a yPhone that is better than the iPhone or Googleyphone.

on September 5, 2007 09:51 AM
# Sumit Chachra said:

Sell it and get a iPod touch! :)

on September 5, 2007 10:45 AM
# Tim Wilde said:

Well, if you're happy having just WiFi for data and no EDGE, Apple's big product announcement today included the iPod Touch, with 8GB and 16GB versions for $299 and $399 respectively, which is basically what you said you want - an iPhone without the phone. Pretty neat product, so that may be an argument for selling the iPhone and replacing it with an iPod Touch.

on September 5, 2007 10:52 AM
# Rasmus said:

You should have sold it yesterday. The price just dropped $200.

on September 5, 2007 11:18 AM
# Jenn Vargas said:

I would say the best solution would be to ship it to me. I already have an AT&T data plan, so no extra expense :) You'd be saving me $399. Sounds like a good deed of the day if I've ever heard one!

Just kidding (kind of). I would sell it. You're going to lose about $100 in the process but at least you won't have a useless box lying around. Or you could send it to me.

on September 5, 2007 01:23 PM
# John Röthlisberger said:

"It's not likely to go down much in value anytime soon" -- funniest quote of the day. =)

on September 5, 2007 03:11 PM
# Harsh said:

Its a freebie. Just strip it open and hack around with.

no use spending $60 each month for 2 yrs !!! look at the price drops and v2 lining up why do you want to get stuck for 2 years with already outdated piece of hardware.

just play around have fun and then trash it :)

on September 5, 2007 05:31 PM
# Kasia said:

My vote: sell the iphone and get the new ipod touch.

on September 5, 2007 07:38 PM
# Jason Schramm said:

Sell it and get the new iPod touch. Wi-Fi, touchscreen, no cellphone. I'm sure someone will be making an application to allow you to make calls online over wifi. Provided it has a microphone.

on September 5, 2007 07:40 PM
# CharlesH said:

I looked into the iPhone extensively for myself, and concluded that it just does not make sense.

I have a T-Mobile plan for $30 per month that serves me very well. The lowest equivalent AT&T plan is $40 for more minutes, which I don't need.

As you said in your post, if you could get a $20 per month data plan for the iPhone, and forget the voice capability, that would be a pretty reasonable deal. But AT&T has seen to it that you must always buy a voice plan. This is true for the other PDA phones that they offer, not just the iPhone. They seem to believe that your voice belongs to them.

The only way you can get a data-only plan from AT&T is to get a laptop card, which are available for Windows PC, plus a USB version that works with Macintosh with OS X 10.4. You can get similar products from many carriers. The unlimited data plans are about $80 per month, but limited plans are available for less.

on September 7, 2007 03:27 PM
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