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How to Check for iPhone 5 Upgrade Eligibility

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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.

upgrade-eligibilty

How to check upgrade eligibility

Go on over to Apple’s iPhone site and hit the “Buy” button in the upper right corner. Towards the lower middle part of the screen there’s a link that reads “Check eligibility”.

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.

iphone-eligibilty upgrade date

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.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

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