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.