With Apple announcing their new iPhone 5 today, many will want to check their upgrade eligibility for the discounted price.
Most carriers require customers to use at least 18 months of their two-year contract before they will let them purchase a new phone at a discounted subsidized price.
It seems some people can get the iPhone 5 at $199, $299 or $399 for the various storage levels at a lower price before that date.
Here’s how to check eligibility using Apple’s tool. Each carrier has one on their site, but we think Apple’s tool is the easiest to use.
Click the link and a screen pops up with the three major carriers that offer the iPhone 5. Click the carrier that you use and enter the information requested (phone number, billing zip code, last four digits of social and a billing password, if you have one).
It will say “Processing” for a bit and then offer the date of eligibility and cost of the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 before and after your eligibility date for the three phones they now sell.
For example, my line will become eligible on Feb. 22 2013.
One note. I checked my upgrade eligibility with the AT&T tool after I logged into my online billing account and it told me that I could upgrade next May.
However, this one tells me its available on Feb. 22, 2013. Also note that some users will see a higher price. It seems like the dates and price show with rather random results.