So you’re not eligible for the subsidized pricing on the iPhone 4S yet?  I feel your pain.  I’m not either.  Granted, some of you may have it worse than I do as I only have to wait until November 25th, 2011.  So I’m kind of close to being able to get my hands on the newest and sleekest iDevice — the iPhone 4S.  My girlfriend however, who got her iPhone 4 on launch day (the same day and time I got it — we waited in line together) is eligible.  Riddle me that.

This is a similar situation I have noticed appearing on Twitter, “my so and so got their iPhone 4 after me and is eligible, but I’m not. How does that make sense?”  Exactly, how does it make sense?  Frustrated and upset like many people who want the latest iPhone but don’t want to fork over an additional $250 for the same phone that costs everyone who is eligible for an upgrade $250 less, I called AT&T.

Despite my frustration, I remembered the old adage: you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  So I pick up the phone and dial AT&T customer service, reach a nice woman and explain my situation (the same one as in the first paragraph) and ask if there is anyway that date could be adjusted being a loyal AT&T customer and promising to sign-up for another 2-year contract.

This is when I learned why and how people are decided upon for eligibility.  She went on to say, unfortunately there is no way to change the date of your eligibility — it is determined by a computer that looks at several variables including how long you have been with AT&T, the number of phones on the account, what plan / features are on your account, what you pay per month, the “status” of your account (which I assume means if you pay on time), etc.  It then looks at all of those things and decides when you are eligible for an upgrade and spits out a date somewhere in the timeline of allowed upgradability.

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Ok, thank you for your help, I replied and hung up the phone.

So if you are not eligible for an upgrade at this time, these are some of the things that could be factored into that decision by AT&T.  While I pay all my bills on time and have been an AT&T customer since 2008, I don’t have the most high-end plan in terms of minutes and I only have a single line.  I guess that may have been a factor.

I know this may not make you feel better about not being able to upgrade right away, but I hope this may at least shed some light on the upgrade eligibility process at AT&T.  A process that I’m sure is very similar to other carriers including Verizon.


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