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For consumers who already have a cellular service contract with AT&T, used AT&T cell phones can be a useful and cost-effective alternative to buying new.
Many companies offer refurbished cell phones that are compatible and designed to work with the AT&T cellular service.
When purchasing used cell phones, consumers should look for companies that offer warranties of at least 30 and preferably 90 days duration; this will ensure that the used product functions properly when it is first received and for a reasonable time afterward.
Most reputable companies guarantee their refurbished cell phones against defect or malfunction with a comprehensive replacement or repair policy during the period warranted.
Used AT&T cell phones typically are sold without the accompanying SIM card.
A SIM card is a small electronic chip that serves as the computing center for the phone and contains information about your service provider, your cell phone number, and any additional registration information.
Most AT&T phones are explicitly designed to work with the AT&T cell phone service or affiliated services including Cingular and T-Mobile, and thus require compatible AT&T SIM cards to function correctly.
Some AT&T cell phones are unlocked; this means that they can be used with almost any cellular service provider.
Because used cell phones are often significantly less expensive than new phones, purchasing a refurbished AT&T cell phone can often provide a useful back-up phone or a replacement if your current phone is lost or damaged.
Even if you do not currently use AT&T as your service provider, you can often find an unlocked AT&T phone that has been gently used or refurbished and that will work with your current provider.
By comparison shopping for refurbished AT&T cell phones and comparing both price and warranty, you can be assured of getting the best quality and value for your money.
Most AT&T cell phones require activation before use; your current cellular service provider can install the SIM card and activate your phone.
In some cases, you can transfer your existing SIM card to your newly purchased phone, and it can be activated remotely by your service provider as well. Either way, by buying used you can save money on the cell phone you want most.