Two years ago, I signed up for Sprint’s super-cheap SERO plan. For $30 a month, you get 500 minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited data. They’ve since discontinued the plan, but as long as you have it, you can continue to use it. Many of the newer high-end phones aren’t allowed (such as the Palm Pre or HTC Hero), but Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones are OK.
Since my 2-year contract was up and I was eligible for an upgrade, I did some research (mostly on SprintUsers) and decided on the BlackBerry Tour. With some finagling, I managed to get the phone for$11 and without changing my plan.
Step 1: Get your service credit. Call Sprint on your current phone (*2), and tell them you’d like to get your $70 service credit for renewing your contract. I got transferred a few times, but eventually someone will apply the credit, enslaving you to Sprint for another two years. You can still get the $150 upgrade credit after this.
Step 2: Get your Tour. I went to Best Buy because they had it on sale last week for $99. While the price was now $149, I talked them into honoring the $99 price (which includes the $150 upgrade credit). You could probably talk Sprint into matching their price too. There was no activation fee at Best Buy. The other nice thing about Best Buy is that there are no mail-in rebates for the upgrade credit, unlike Sprint.
They told me at first that my plan was not compatible with BlackBerry and I’d need to get a $30/mo data plan added. Pshhaw! I just told them I’d use the phone without the internet services. We’ll get that back later. They activated it and sent me on my way.
Step 3: Get your internet service. Call Sprint’s BlackBerry technical support at 1-877-654-9111 from a phone other than your new Tour. When you finally talk to a human, just tell them you need your “service books” pushed. They did it for me on my first try, but others have said it took several calls without them telling you that you needed the $30/mo extra plan. When it’s done, your icons for browsing the web, email and other stuff will show up.
So the final tally was
|Best Buy discount||-$350|
|MA 6% Tax||$6|
I had a Best Buy gift card lying around that I hadn’t used in over a year, bringing my total to $11. Pretty good deal! If I was a real cheapskate I could have driven up to NH and save the $6 sales tax.
If you got a cheaper phone such as a BlackBerry curve for $49, you’d make money!
It’s a pretty nice phone and definitely an upgrade from my aged Treo 755p. I’m still getting used to and setting everything up. I’ll share some thoughts on that soon.