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How I got my BlackBerry Bold for $30

Don Reisinger bought a BlackBerry Bold from AT&T for $30 by trading in his iPhone 3G via the BlackBerry Trade-up Program. Here's how you can save a bundle too.

BlackBerry Bold
Welcome to affordability, BlackBerry Bold. Research In Motion

I'm now the proud owner of a BlackBerry Bold.

For a while, I was trying to decide if I wanted to ditch my iPhone 3G for the Bold. After some research and hands-on time with Research In Motion's beauty, I decided that it was in my best interest to escape from Apple's grips.

But there was a problem: the BlackBerry Bold is expensive. If you're not eligible for a two-year upgrade, the Bold will set you back $550 at the AT&T store. If you're new to AT&T or eligible for the upgrade price, you pay $399.99.

I didn't want to spend that much on a mobile phone that replaced another expensive gadget. Plus, I wasn't eligible for an upgrade. So I decided to head down to the AT&T store to talk with a representative to figure it all out. And much to my surprise, he and I determined that I would end up paying just $30 for the Bold.

Here's how it worked:

When I spoke with the representative, he informed me that although I wasn't eligible for the upgrade price, my wife's line was. So I used her upgrade option to immediately reduce the price from $550 to $399.99.

Although I was forced to plunk down $399.99 for the Bold, it came with a $100 AT&T mail-in rebate, reducing the effective cost to $299.99.

After I paid, the AT&T representative told me that if I wanted to ditch my iPhone for good, I could use RIM's BlackBerry Trade-up Program, which allows you trade in any phone you have hanging around the house for some cash.

I decided that my iPhone 3G was dispensable, so he and I worked through the process of checking its value. After inputting that it was in almost-perfect condition, it returned a value I never thought possible: the iPhone was worth $222. And with an additional $50 added to that amount, thanks to a promotion code (he told me the promotion code is "graduate"), RIM would pay me $272.

I was shocked.

Once I get that payment from RIM, I'll have paid $27 (about $30 after tax) for the BlackBerry Bold. Thought it was impossible? Think again.

And you can do it too. The iPhone has one of the highest values, but any phone you own can be turned into cash. Even my wife's old, cracked iPhone fetched $22. And it doesn't matter which provider you use--RIM gives rebates to anyone. But I should note that the only way to receive cash from RIM is if you provide a BlackBerry proof-of-purchase.

So what are you waiting for? If you want a BlackBerry, don't spend more than you have to. Heck, if you have enough phones with value, you might actually profit on the deal.

Who could guess that?

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter stream, and FriendFeed.