I have an iPhone 3G, but I want a Motorola Droid, partly for its awesome screen, physical keyboard, and open, multitasking OS. However, I mostly want it for its network, Verizon, which I’m hoping will allow me to make calls from my house reliably. The iPhone is especially bad at this (worse than my old crappy AT&T phone), and it’s frustrating since I axed my landline a few years ago. Dropping calls every couple of minutes is borderline embarrassing.
But there’s the problem: I’m only 9 months into my two-year AT&T contract, and would have to pay an early termination fee were I to switch to Verizon now. No doubt many other people are facing this same problem, including lots who want to switch to AT&T to get an iPhone.
So I had an idea the other day: phone-swapping. It involves a nifty bit of technology provided for free by Google called Google Voice. Among other cool things, Google Voice lets you get a “Google Number”, which is a new telephone number that you can give out to everyone. You then have Google Voice automatically forward calls to this number to any number or numbers you choose, including your current actual cell phone number.
Here’s what I suggest. I want to get on Verizon, so it’s sufficient for me to sign up for a two-year Droid package, and have my Google Voice number point to my new Verizon number. That’s easy. But what about my existing AT&T plan?
Well, let’s say someone wants to get an iPhone 3G. Normally he’d have to sign up for a two-year contract with AT&T and pay $99 for the phone. Instead, I’ll sell him my existing iPhone, which only comes with a 15 month contract, for $50. Shorter period and less money. And then he would use his Google Voice account to point his Google number to my existing AT&T number, which would ring at the iPhone I’m going to sell him.
It all works out perfectly! Instead of paying an ETF, I’d get $50, and he’d get a phone for cheaper and with less of a commitment than AT&T would offer. And AT&T would never know the difference. (There may be some billing issues, but with online auto-billpay from any credit card, I don’t think this would be a huge problem. There might also be a Terms of Service violation; anyone care to check?)
I think this kind of switcheroo would be very useful for lots of people; ETFs are a pain for everyone.
So I want a “phone-swapping” site where Google Voice users post when they are trying to get onto a new carrier and/or leave their current one. They could then match up and do the swap. For all I know, there may be a disgruntled Droid user who’s looking to ditch Verizon in a month or two, so in addition to ditching AT&T without paying the ETF, I might be able to get a Droid on Verizon for less money and time commitment than Verizion would offer. Good times!
Is anyone else interested in this? I think a simple site could be thrown up in a a week or so, but I don’t have the time to do it right now.