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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My $23/month iPhone


Acquiring the iPhone

So a while back I was lucky enough to acquire an unlocked iPhone 2g for a killer deal from a good friend whom upgraded to the 3g. I decided there was no way I was going to pay the $65/month voice & data + 2yr contract service plan just to have and use the world’s best phone. So naturally, I started searching for alternative ways around this awful money-pit.

Jailbreak + Unlocking the iPhone

I first jailbroke my iPhone using Quickpwn, the popular DIY easy jailbreaking application. But I soon found the mac version of Quickpwn doesn’t incorporate the steps to unlock the phone. I instead needed to use iPhonePWN (for mac) to unlock the baseband on my iPhone. Unlocking the baseband enables me to use virtually any GSM enabled SIM card in my iPhone to send & receive calls.

The GoPhone®

Once my baseband was unlocked, I promptly drove down to the local AT&T store, and bought a $25 Pay-as-you-go GoPhone card (which comes with a new SIM card) and had them port my previous Verizon phone number to the newly acquired GoPhone account.


To be safe, before activating my GoPhone account, I downloaded the iPhone app Boss Prefs in order to disable the Edge capabilities of my phone. We don’t want it pulling data down for 1¢/kb and sucking up my $25 card. I popped in the new SIM card, then activated my account and VOILA! Sending & receiving calls on my iPhone with a pay-as-you go card! The one catch – no visual voicemail. That is activated through AT&T’s iPhone only service plans.

The Skype Plan

In order to take this one step further, I decided to see if my GoPhone - iPhone GoPwn could use the Medianet® service offered to regular GoPhone customers. Hoo boy! Full internet access for $20 per 100mb - not bad. This would never be sufficient for tethering to my laptop, but just enough to browse the web and wreak the many benefits of an edge/3g enabled iPhone.

SKYPE!! So next I downloaded the newly released Skype app. It works brilliantly! Skype to Skype calls with the iPhone are no problem! There was one catch… Skype app is limited to WIFI networks only. So I downloaded the jailbreak app VOIPover3G and this tricks Skype into thinking the phone is always on WIFI. I bought a Skype number for 9 bucks and an unlimited Skype callilng plan to get inbound and outbound calls to any phone for $3/month.

Skype calls on the Edge data network are just fine and use hardly any bandwidth. I also downloaded the jailbreak app Backgrounder so I can keep my Skype app running while the phone is locked & in my pocket.


That’s my story! I will keep some credit on my GoPhone account for emergencies, or occasional lazy moments, but besides that just a $20 refill for the data plan, with a little extra work using the Skype app, and I save myself a bundle using mobile VOIP!

++Extra Bonus - No contract, I can just stop paying if I need to!

My next goal is to somehow tie this in with my account!



Anonymous November 26, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

Awesome, I think I'll try this!

Unknown December 16, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

I have tried this without the jailbreak, just the go phone sim. I can't get the data to work. Do you need to jailbreak for prepaid data packages to work?

Dave January 3, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

they put a stop to the data portion of this on the 3g... I wonder what other options we have...