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.]

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement
15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement

Getting older presents new ways to save money. Study these strategies to make your golden years more golden.

5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks
12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks

Following these tips will ensure you receive all the retirement income you’re entitled to — which might be more than you realize.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Comments

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.