the apple iphone is a beautiful device, revolutionizing the space of mobile phones but there is one major downside, apple/at&t is forcing you into a pretty expensive two year contract to even activate the iphone. when bought you can not use the iphone until you activate it via itunes by choosing one of there three two year contract plans ($60, $80 or $100 per month plus tax).
this is how to activate/unlock the apple iphone using a gophone® pay as you go (prepaid) plan without being stuck in a two year contract. the simple trick is failing the credit check, only when you fail the credit check at&t offers you the pay as you go plans. anybody can do this in some easy steps and it doesn’t require any hacking/command line skills.
the difference: $51 pay as you go instead of $2400 in a two year contract.
1. connect the iphone via the data cable to your computer (pc or mac).
2. click on “activate one iphone now.” in your recent version of itunes.
3. click ‘continue’ if you don’t want to transfer an existing number.
4. select any plan (it doesn’t have any effect).
5. create an apple id.
6. the most important step: fill in the form with some fake data, it really doesn’t matter what you fill in here, when enrolling the pay as you go plan you will be asked for your real data again. use 141-11-1111 or 999-99-9999 as your social security number. use any existing address. you have to use a valid credit card otherwise you don’t get further but based on the data and wrong ssn you will fail the credit check anyways. no worries.
7. accept apple’s terms and conditions.
8. accept at&t’s service agreement. you will not be charged and you won’t be stuck in a two year contract but you have to accept the terms on this screen (you can cancel the agreement within 30 days but that won’t be necessary).
9. review your information and submit it.
11. after choosing a pay as you go (prepaid) plan you will be redirected to the at&t webpage and asked to type in your real data and address. you have to make an initial fund into your prepaid account. after going through this process you will be redirected back to itunes where it shows your new number and pin.
12. enjoy your apple iphone with a prepay plan without being stuck in a contract.
(call at&t at 611 to make sure that there are no automated monthly payments set)
these activation steps are necessary to even make any use of the apple iphone, but this is probably the easiest and cheapest way to do it right now. in the us you can use it like any other phone and just fund your account whenever needed. travellers can take the iphone anywhere they want and use it as a wifi internet device and ipod anywhere in the world until it is hacked for using any sim card. i did this with three iphones taking them to europe and it worked fine every time.
(inspired by eric sadun)