You too can beat Verizon

LIke some of you I’m all about the latest smartphone tech. I want to have the hottest new phone every few months, but this is unrealistic. Only the diehards with the deepest pockets can do something beyond the typical two year upgrade cycle for acquiring a new phone. Today I’d like to share with you how I “beat the system”.

Here was the situation: I wanted to upgrade to the iPhone 5 from my 4S, but I was still under contract. Even if I wasn’t, choosing to upgrade and purchase the phone at the subsidized 2 year contract price would force me to forfeit my Verizon unlimited data plan. This did not sit well with me. Not that I use more than 2 GB most months, but still.

So I decided to sell my 4S on eBay. Using this money I would purchase the iPhone 5 at full retail price, thus not “upgrading” and keeping my unlimited data plan. I’ve sold my phone, and plan on buying the phone at a store this Friday. More importantly, here is the breakdown of the financial math.

I sold my 4S on eBay a few weeks ago for $410. ($400 for the phone, $10 shipping)
Paypal takes $12.19 (approx 2.97%), resulting in $397.81
eBay takes additional cut of 9%, 36.90. (410 * 0.09 = 36.90), resulting in 397.81 - 36.90 = $360.91

(I live in Los Angeles, where we have a 8.75% sales tax.)

The cost of an iPhone 5 (16 GB) at full retail price breaks down like this:
$649.99 + tax = $706.86

706.86 - 360.91 = $345.95
This leaves $345.95 as the amount I’d have to pay in addition to my eBay sale money.

However, let’s compare this number to what a typical Verizon customer who is eligible for the 2 year contract price has to pay.

The cost of an iPhone 5 (16 GB) at contract price is $199.99.
There is also a $30 upgrade fee on Verizon now (relatively new fee).
$199.99 + tax(on the full $649.99) + $30 (assuming the tax doesn’t apply to the fee..., giving Verizon the benefit of the doubt here) = $286.86.

And comparing my cost to the cost for Average Joe Verizon Customer,
345.95 - 286.86 = $59.09

Essentially, for a $60 dollar premium, I get to:
1. Upgrade a year early
2. Keep my unlimited data plan
3. Not sign another 2 year contract.

I think the math works out fantastically, and encourage other tech fiends like myself to give this a shot.