So my friend who has an iPhone that he bought from eBay ‘jailbroken’ that has been working for the most part OK. None of Apple’s firmware updates have proved to be disruptive. He has software that allowed (also got from eBay) him to put in his cell phone number from Sprint into the iPhone and transfer the calls and and account to the hacked iPhone. He still gets a Sprint bill. He just makes and receives all calls using just the wifi connection in the iPhone coupled with the software from eBay. His Sprint bill used to be over $ 200.00 a month. He lowered it to Sprint’s least expensive calling plan (about $35.00 a month) and uses a wifi connection in his home and while on the road to make and receive all calls. The calls are cheap – they are 100% free. So as long as Sprint sees he still has a data plan, they don’t retire his number and bills him at a minimum plan rate. They have no idea he uses wifi to make his calls nor can they find out.
Compare this to getting an iPhone from ATT. You get 2 years in jail (ATT jail that is, a 2 yr. cell plan). And if you want to access the internet and other iPhone functions that you probably will want to (hey, you don’t get the iPhone to make cell calls only) , you must get the ‘Media’ package from for another $ 15-25 a month. But the real kicker is that you ALSO pay Apple a $45.00 a month fee to access other essential online functionality from Apple ( and I don’t have an iPhone yet to be able to tell you exactly what those online items are) but I believe its access to your contact phone book and numbers, photos and other online goodies from .mac . iPhone cell bills are some of the most expensive cell bills on the planet right now averaging over $ 200.00 a month all in.
So, my friend’s iPhone deal from eBay looks like a real deal after all. Except for one thing. He and I had lunch last week and very often he doesn’t answer a lot more calls since he got his new iPhone. So, we tested it at lunch. After trying to call him several times on his iPhone (and he was sitting at the same table as me), the wifi connection did NOT tell him that I was calling -nothing. It was as if I never had called. On the third try, it worked and said he missed a call from me. But the first 2 times, nothing. I sent him an SMS , and that worked fine as did leaving him a voicemail. But the wifi seemed to be a bit if’fy.
Conclusion: if you need to be reached 100% of the time on your cell phone, go to the ATT store and get an iPhone. If you don’t, go to eBay and get an iPhone. You third possibility will come early next year. Free cell phones and cell phone access through Google’s new wireless spectrum and Android advertising laden cell phone. But, to be able to make calls for free, the price could be right.