How to Switch Your iPhone From AT&T to Verizon… for Free!

Photo (cc) by Robert Scoble

If you’re an iPhone 4 owner like me, you’ve been eagerly anticipating the Verizon iPhone: a mythical device with all of the features of the gadget you love, but one that can also make phone calls. Unfortunately, AT&T locked you into a two-year contract with a hefty $325 cancellation fee (minus $10 for each full month of service you’ve completed). Since the iPhone 4 was released on June 23, 2010, the earliest that anyone with a two-year contract can cancel without paying that fee is June 23, 2012. That’s too far away!

Fortunately, I’ve figured out how you can switch your iPhone from AT&T to Verizon for free. In fact, it’s possible you’ll actually come away with an extra $295.

Step 1: Pay the cancellation fee

But wait… This article was supposed to tell me how to switch my iPhone to Verizon for free, and step 1 is to pay the cancellation fee!? Yes, it is. There’s no way around the contract you signed with AT&T. If you want to drop their service, you need to pay up. If you received your iPhone 4 on the day it was released, your cancellation fee today would be $255 ($325 minus $10 for each of the seven months of service you’ve had it).

Step 2: Buy your new iPhone 4 from Verizon

Now you want me to spend even more money!? Yes, I do. A 32GB iPhone 4 from Verizon with a two-year contract costs $299. Pay that, and your total expense so far is $554. But now you have two iPhones. In my case, I’ll have my old 32GB iPhone 4 from AT&T that no longer has service but that I didn’t have to give back, and the new 32GB iPhone 4 from Verizon that I’ve just paid for and activated.

[Note: Make sure you do steps 1 and 2 on the same day, at the same time, so you can transfer your old phone number from AT&T to Verizon.]

Step 3: Jailbreak and unlock your old AT&T iPhone

Believe it or not, there are literally dozens of square miles around the globe where Apple doesn’t sell iPhones. But they’ve done such a great job marketing that the people living in those places still want them – and they’re prepared to pay a premium price for the item they can’t otherwise acquire. That’s where you come in.

Jailbreaking and unlocking your iPhone involves updating the software on your phone with a modified version that allows the phone to work with any GSM SIM card. In non-tech speak: The phone will work on more networks than just AT&T. Networks in other countries. Other countries where iPhones aren’t sold. And where iPhones aren’t sold, people pay up.

[Note: To find out exactly how to jailbreak and unlock your AT&T iPhone, read my other article: How to Jailbreak and Unlock Your iPhone.]

Step 4: Sell your old, but newly unlocked, AT&T iPhone on eBay

A quick, unscientific look at eBay will show you that a jailbroken and unlocked iPhone will sell for at least $100 more than its off-the-shelf brothers. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m looking at a used, jailbroken and unlocked 32GB iPhone 4 (exactly like mine) that sold for $849 on eBay just a few hours ago.

Take that $849 and use it to offset the $554 that you’ve spent paying the AT&T cancellation fee and buying your new iPhone from Verizon. And voila! You have a brand new iPhone 4, activated and working on the Verizon network with your old phone number, and an extra $295 in your pocket.

But since the Verizon iPhone doesn’t come out until Feb. 10, you’ll just have to thank me later.

[Note: If you have a 16GB iPhone 4, the math will still work out. Jailbroken and unlocked, it’ll sell for $100 less on eBay, but your new one will cost $100 less to purchase from Verizon.]

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

From your closet to the beach, the trash you find may be someone else’s treasure.

7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New
7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New

Take a few steps to preserve the beauty of your car, and you stand to get a lot more money at trade-in time.

9 Foods You Should Never Buy Again
9 Foods You Should Never Buy Again

Make the wrong food choices, and you can ruin your health — and possibly shorten your life.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Generic products are a great way to save money, but sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?
Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?

A growing number of people are wearing two masks instead of just one. Should you join them?

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

These 10 Postal Price Hikes Start Next Week
These 10 Postal Price Hikes Start Next Week

Starting on Jan. 24, the price of various mail and shipping services will rise.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.