How to “steal” an upgrade from someone else on your wireless plan

Many of you have likely ran into this conundrum: Someone on your wireless plan is eligible for an upgrade, but couldn’t care less about upgrading their phone. With this in mind, you’d like to use their upgrade to upgrade your phone.

I actually encountered this issue myself, but I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed with it. If I upgraded my wife’s phone, but planned to take her upgrade to use for myself, how would I get a Nano SIM card containing my information, and not hers?

This wouldn’t be much of an issue if the iPhone 5 used the same Micro SIM as the iPhone 4S, otherwise, I’d just swap out my Micro SIM into the iPhone 5. But since the iPhone 5 uses a brand new SIM card, this obviously presents a problem.

How do you go about handling the issue? As it turns out, if you’re an AT&T customer, it’s probably a lot easier than you might have expected…

As our reader Chris brings out, AT&T must be used to getting this question all of the time, as they’ve created a support page just for this dilemma.

On its support page, AT&T highlights the steps end users need to take to “steal” an upgrade from someone on the same calling plan:

However, if the number you used to order your device is NOT the number you intend to use with your iPhone, follow these simple steps when your device arrives and an AT&T representative will help you activate.

Step 1: Charge your device if needed
Step 2: Contact AT&T at 1-800-331-0500 or 611 from a different wireless device. At the prompt, enter the wireless number that you used to place your iPhone order.
Step 3: At the next prompt, choose option #2 to activate your phone on a different mobile number, and an AT&T representative will help you from there.
Step 4: After speaking with an AT&T representative, turn on your iPhone, follow the on screen instructions and choose a Wi-Fi network. If Wi-Fi is not available, connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC with iTunes ( and follow the on-screen instructions.

I think its interesting that AT&T actually outlines how to do this on its website, considering it’s kind a a loophole to get out of paying full price for an iPhone when your line in particular isn’t eligible for an upgrade. In the mobile world, this is apparently known as “cross upgrading.”

This cross upgrading probably works with other carriers as well, just be sure to give them a call before taking any steps when receiving your phone.

I just wish I would have known this before I ordered my iPhone. It would have made the process a bit less stressful, don’t you think?

Thanks, Chris!