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AT&T Denies Upgrade Pricing For Early iPhone 4 Adopters

AT&T Denies Upgrade Pricing For Early iPhone 4 Adopters

Contrary to previous years, it seems as though AT&T will not be offering iPhone 4S upgrade prices to early adopters of the iPhone 4. What’s interesting, however, is that AT&T appears to be blaming Apple for the issue.

AT&T has traditionally allowed early-adopting iPhone customers to upgrade to new devices early, reducing their contract commitment in order to sell another device and sign the customer on for an additional 2 years.

For many early iPhone adopters, checking their upgrade eligibility from Apple’s upgrade website results in the following prices being offered:

According to CultofMac, AT&T customer service representatives are blaming the issue on Apple, claiming that all pricing models and eligibility dates are set by Apple, not AT&T.

This doesn’t make much sense to me – wireless carriers are typically allowed to set their own upgrade eligibility for the handsets that they sell, and it doesn’t make sense to suggest that Apple might be stepping in and preventing many users from upgrading at a discount on launch day.

Apple posted a link on their iPhone 4S product page yesterday allowing both AT&T and Verizon customers to check whether they’re eligible for discounted upgrades to the iPhone 4S, and many customers became upset when they found that they would have to pay “early upgrade” pricing for the new handsets – an extra $250 – unless they choose to put off the upgrade.

  1. Steve H says:

    does the same apply to early iPhone 4 customers on Verizon?

  2. rob says:

    ill remember this when my 2 year contract is up

  3. MG says:

    I’m an early adopter of the iPhone 4 (Pre-ordered – received the day it was released) and I’m getting the early upgrade pricing. Starting at $199 for the 16GB. Not sure why if others are not eligible. To be safe, I’d check for yourself before jumping to conclusions as it appears this is not true for everyone.

    1. MG says:

      Just to clarify, I’m an AT&T customer.

    2. Nick Araya says:

      I got my iPhone 4 the first week it came out and they ARE charging me $250 for the new phone.  Well, they WERE.  I think I’m leaving AT&T for sprint.

  4. That’s odd.  I checked yesterday if I was eligible (same as MG, pre-ordered the iPhone 4) and to my benefit, I am indeed eligible.

  5. Tvieceli says:

    I got the iPhone 4 on Release day, and am not eligible for upgrade until Nov 19 with AT&T. Funny thing is that instead of paying $250 for the phone, I only have to pay $190 for the ETF and move to Verizon!

  6. Marty says:

    Why is this so hard for people to understand? You sign a 2 year contract, AT&T eats $450 with of iPhone for you. Some people who pay more might get it sooner than people who pay less. AT&T is not a non profit organization, you will have your upgrade when they have recovered their cost from your last upgrade.

    1. Nick Araya says:

      It’s not that easy, Marty.  ATT has shown in past years that they are happy to let us upgrade.  On top of that, there’s the early-termination factor:  I can terminate right now for $175.  So technically, it’s cheaper for me to quit AT&T and check out Sprint or Verizon.

      If this was JUST a math/contracts issue, I think you and I can both agree that AT&T would rather I NOT leave.  If I leave now, all they get is $175 ever from me.  If I stay, they will make THOUSANDS off me (2 lines at about $180/month plus the cost of the phone, too) and they will keep a happy customer that’s been with them for years.

      They want to give that all up for $250?  It doesn’t take a genius.  That’s bad business.  Peace, AT&T.  Verizon and Sprint, who’s it gonna be?

  7. Dean bain says:

    Strange. My wife and I both early upgraded to the iPhone 4 the day it was released. The site says I am eligible for the upgrade pricing but my wife is not. Need less to say AT&T will be hearing from me tomorrow.

    1. JNagy says:

      We had the exact same issue. We got one iPhone 4 upgraded and after 2.5 hours on hold with AT&T they basically told us to pound sand. They didn’t want to put a manager on the line and when they finally did they hung up on us after they repeatedly said no we aren’t going to give you the upgrade price on the second phone. 10 years with them and this is customer service? They had an opportunity to do the right thing and they chose not too. Now we wait until November.

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