AT&T Screws Over iPhone Customers

Planning on buying a shiny new iPhone 3G S?  Got your wallet out and ready to purchase it?  Hold up just one second.  Below is the pricing for the iPhone 3G S (prices from AT&T).

New customers, or for those eligible for an upgrade:

  • 16GB iPhone 3G S – $199
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S – $299

“Early Upgrade” (Current iPhone owners who aren’t scheduled for their 2 year upgrade yet):

  • 16GB iPhone 3G S – $399
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S – $499

No contract, No commitment price:

  • 16GB iPhone 3G S – $599
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S – $699

The problem is many people upgraded to the iPhone 3G just last summer (or later), which means they are not even 1 year into their 2 year contract. Unlike last year, when original iPhone users received subsidized pricing on the iPhone 3G, the same cannot be said this year for iPhone 3G users looking to upgrade. Instead as mentioned above you will have to pay $200 more than the actual price. That does not include the total of $36 in activation and upgrade fees which are $18/each.

While this may be a typical way the mobile industry handles new phones it just doesn’t make sense when it comes to the iPhone which has been refreshed yearly to date. When you plan on refreshing the phone every year and everyone has 2 year contracts there is absolutely no way you can avoid paying an extraordinary “early upgrade” fee, unless, you don’t upgrade your phone for one year (and how many people truly want to wait? – exactly).

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AT&T knows this. They know people love their iPhone’s and are probably willing to pay through the nose to have the latest one – they’re not stupid, however, they are greedy. Why not offer a 1 year contract for iPhone users? I mean, if the phone refreshes yearly, what’s the problem? Customers will be more than happy to purchase the new iPhone at the actual price, and continue to use your service (at least I would).

This just makes me frustrated. I’m curious to know your thoughts – leave a comment.

  • Iphone Fan’s are getting screwed big time i think all the smart users of the iphone is not going to buy the GS version right away. Price points for it is way wrong its over priced with the 3G only being a close to a year old. But that is just my 2 cents i am not a Iphone user still using my Razr here.

  • This is why I will only get a iPod Touch, and not a iPhone. I have never had a over whelming urge to be ripped off by cell phone companies, in fact when, and if I get a cell phone. I will probably get the Palm Pre. Due its better plan. AT&T needs to stop looking a gift horse in the mouth (the iPhone) and wise up to the fact that pretty soon, iphone, or no iphone they will lose business. If they lose enough of this business, then Apple will be forced to look to another company to provide the cell phone coverage. Its that simple.

    Majority rules, wise up AT&T or get left in the dust.

    However part of the blame is on Apple for upgrading and releasing a new model before AT&T’s two year contract from the old phones, has had a chance to run its course.

    In the end, the two need to work together.

  • You say that current iPhone users will pay $200 more than the regular price. That is way off. Current iPhone users will pay $100 less than regular price. New customers or out of contract customers will pay $300 off regular price. Americans are too accustomed to super-subsidized phones in exchange for the 2 year contract. Shoot, it was just several years ago that people were demanding free phones just because they were a customer.

    Look at the rest of the world. They pay full retail for their phones with little or NO subsidy, yet their mobile technology is light years ahead of ours. If we pay for what we want, we could be a true technology leader nation!

  • Not cool AT&T and Apple….

    So if apple is going to continue to come out with an updated iphone every year and i am stuck in a 2 year contract i will never be able to have the current iphone technology at a good price- not cool.

    AT&T customer service and network service is starting to suffer because of all the new customers flocking to buy the iphone.

    I think it is time to detox myself from the iphone and go over to Verizon who actually have a better selection of cells phones and value their current customers by allowing a REAL early upgrade at 1 year which gives the current customers the same pricing for cell phones as brand new customers. and if you keep your phone 2 years you get 100 off the promotional phone. In other words, you pay less for a new phone then someone walking in off the street. that’s how customers should be treated….

    see ya at&t!!!!!

  • You signed the contract for the original subsidized phone. You knew that by signing the contracting you were receiving a discount on your original iphone. Now you want another completely new discounted phone for a year extension beyond your original contract?

    Here's the scoop with the early upgrade information: Since you are only signing up for one more year (i.e. a year beyond your current contract end date) then you get a lesser discount.

    Why is this so freaking hard for all you folks out there to understand? If you're so upset then read your contract more carefully next time instead of waiting… then bitching on a forum about how life is unfair when in fact you were informed from the beginning about how the process works. If everyone gave away phones for free then the service and the technology wouldn't exist in the first place.

    Unlock your phone and sell it on craigslist or sell it back to gazelle to lessen the price tag of a 3GS- otherwise just shut up with all the nonsense already. It's amazing that the author takes no time or though before spewing out his opinion of what is unjust- oh wait…. that's not so surprised I forgot: bile = page hits.

    Good job.

    • Not once did I complain or state that I did not understand what my contract stated. I fully understand the contract I signed when I purchased my iPhone. All I did in this article was present the facts and introduce some of my thoughts which I think would potentially benefit AT&T's reputation because at the present time it has taken quite the beating.

      And just for your information, I did purchase the new iPhone 3GS at the “early upgrade” price and will be selling my iPhone 3G.

      It's amazing to me how some people can spew garbage in the comments and point fingers at me (the author) for things I didn't say- oh wait… it's the Internet, I forgot.

  • You forgot to mention the big con for those who did wait two years. Quoting a special rebate offer and then not giving it to you. AT&T doesn't tell you that in order to get the rebate YOU have to request a mail-in rebate form. By the time you realize you didn't get a rebate automatically and call AT&T the rebate expired. If you complain they may waive the time constraint but you must then mail that form for a rebate to a third party. When you do, the third party denies the rebate because you were too late submitting it, or you failed to send a proof of purchase. You have to prove to the third party the phone you paid AT&T for is the phone for which they owe you a rebate. Makes perfect sense doesn't it? Go with Verizon.


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