With the anticipated announcement and launch of the next-generation iPhone, currently being dubbed by the media as the iPhone 5, just around the corner in the speculated September timeframe, now is the best time to sell your existing iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 as it would fetch the most amount of money on the second-hand market. Users are now offloading their iPhone 4S on Craigslist, eBay, and various other trade-in markets, and they are getting the most return on their investment if they do it ahead of the iPhone 5. However, there are three good reasons, especially if you have an AT&T iPhone, to hang onto your beloved Apple smartphone.
1. Traveling Abroad
Recently, AT&T had announced that it would begin unlocking smartphones that were out of contract. That means when you upgrade your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5 or when you pay an early termination fee, or ETF in industry lingo, your old smartphone is considered ‘out of contract.’ When this happens, you can dial 611 from your mobile handset or call AT&T Mobility directly and go through the process of getting your out of contract device unlocked.
Even if you upgrade your iPhone to an iPhone 5, you may still want to keep the older model laying around, especially if you travel a lot. Having an unlocked handset will be cheaper on your phone bill as you can pop in a prepaid SIM card–now that your handset is officially unlocked through AT&T–and enjoy cheap local calling rates in your country of destination. This allows you to avoid expensive roaming charges via AT&T and will give you flexibility when you travel. And of course, in the event that your phone gets lost or damaged when traveling, the silver lining is that at least it’s not your beloved iPhone 5.
2. Switch to a Rival Carrier
If you’re out of contract and do not wish to purchase a subsidized iPhone through AT&T, you can still call your carrier and ask AT&T to unlock your phone. This way, your old iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 can be used on a different GSM carrier in the U.S. Right now, this means you may be able to use it as a pre-paid smartphone, on a regional GSM carrier, or through national rival T-Mobile USA.
If you go the T-Mobile route, you may not be able to get on 3G or 3.5G HSPA+ service as the iPhone 4S with its radios may not be compatible with T-Mobile’s network, though more recently we’ve been hearing T-Mobile USA turning on 3G service on compatible frequencies supported by Apple’s smartphone. If you live in these areas, that’s great news, else you’ll be stuck on 2.5G EDGE speeds.
The best part about switching to T-Mobile–if you can handle the downside of slower speeds as a result of technology compatibility that we just mentioned–is the more affordable rates. Especially on T-Mobile prepaid, rates can be as low as $30 per month for unlimited text and data with 100 minutes of calling per month. This will be great for users who do not make many calls, but use text and data a lot.
3. Use it as a Spare or Give It to a Family or Friend
This is what I end up doing with last year’s smartphone model when I upgrade–I end up keeping it as a spare for either myself or someone I know who is in need of a capable device. Wireless insurance costs a few dollars a month plus a deductible around $200 depending on the smartphone model you are insuring. If you have a capable older smartphone that’s not too old, you can use it as a spare in case your current phone gets dropped, damaged, lost, or stolen. Or you can hand your old phone down to your kids, older parents, or anyone who doesn’t ‘need’ the latest technologies enabled by current flagship models. And the year old iPhone 4S is still a very capable iPhone model.
If you decide to upgrade to the latest iPhone 5–or the latest Android flagships out there–you have a few more compelling reasons to keep last year’s smartphone model on hand. And if you aren’t upgrading, keep the iPhone 4S and use it!