AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

Summary: Are you an AT&T customer and thinking about trying to upgrade to a smartphone early? Think again.

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TOPICS: AT&T
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Are you an AT&T customer and thinking about trying to upgrade to a smartphone early? Think again.

Unfortunately, AT&T has decided to bump up its early upgrade fee for smartphones from $75 to a whopping $200. That's the price of most good smartphones on contract.

According to Boy Genius Report, AT&T explained that the change is "necessary to maintain our ability to provide customers with the best selection of devices and maintain our leadership in the Smartphone category.” Riiiight. That's the way to keep customers happy: charge them more.

Already in effect since October 3, the exception fee won't apply on regular feature phones or other low-end phones.

Topic: AT&T

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33 comments
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  • Wait till the contract is up...

    then upgrade. And just think, if you wait the extra time, you will be able to get a better phone than what is currently offered, or you can get a better deal on a little older model.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

      @JM1981 Exactly!My wife and daughter both did that when they upgraded form their LG Shines to iPhones... and I'm planning on doing that as well (well I'm already past the end of my 2 year contract) once the iPhone 5 (hopefully with 64GB on board storage) comes out or AT&T carries a decent Android based device or even a WP7 device if it wows me enough.<br><br>That's one thing I'll give VZW - I've managed to upgrade my work BB twice within a two year period and paid around $50 bucks total for both devices (after rebates)...
      athynz
  • Easy To See What's Going On

    Verizon is getting the iPhone...AT&T is going to make life miserable for its customers....
    cyberslammer
    • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

      @cyberslammer
      How does charging AT&T customers this charge have anything to do with another carrier POSSIBLY getting the iPhone? Seems to me that if Verizon was getting the iPhone, AT&T would offer incentives to people to upgrade to an iPhone and a 2 year contract before the other carrier got the iphone. And those that were a year plus into their contracts would be the perfect people to target.
      mgrubb@...
      • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

        @mgrubb@...

        Think about it...iPhone 5 comes out...if you want to move to it from your iPhone 4 a year into the contract it'll cost you now $499 for the iPhone and another $200 for the upgrade.

        This is going to ROYALLY tick off people. AT&T has been the king of bonehead moves..and this one is no different.
        cyberslammer
      • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

        @cyberslammer then it seems to me they have choices to make in that event - either wait for their second year to be up and (if Apple makes an iPhone 6) either buy the iPhone 6 or 5 or they can just suck it up and pay the fee AT&T is charging. Or they could pay the ETF and bail on AT&T.

        I'm not saying the fee is right but if enough people decide to wait until the end of their contracts to upgrade or leave AT&T altogether AND tell AT&T why then perhaps AT&T will reduce the early upgrade fee - after all making some money is better than making none.
        athynz
      • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

        @mgrubb@... Only problem is, if you already own an iPhone, AT&T does not give you ANY incentive to upgrade. You want a new iPhone? You pay the same as if you were a brand new customer to AT&T. Personally, I'm waiting for some competition to show up (Verizon?)
        dabble53
    • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

      @cyberslammer

      Your confused with fees. If any at&t user wanted to move to any other carrier (for any device) you would need to pay the ETF fee which is pro-rated based on how much of your contract is outstanding.

      Upgrading is merely you buy a smartphone (any that they carry) and wish to move to another they carry before your contract is satisfied. Likely there were more iPhone 4 users with issues that just wanted a smartphone that worked.
      MobileAdmin
    • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

      @cyberslammer
      AT$T has made life miserable already. Their fees are way $$$, their coverage sucks, and their 3G network is SLOW. Will move on to Sprint or Verizon as soon as contract is completed!
      dafacct
    • What a CrAppleholic Claim from left field!

      @cyberslammer ....and there is absolutely no proof Apple has a CDMA phone coming to Verizon. Just more stupid retarded CrAppleholics wishing for something that ain't gonna happen!

      #1 - Apple has already had test phones on China Telecom for months and none on Verizon whatsoever.
      #2 - Apple is competing against Samsung Galaxy CDMA phones there and they've been selling like hotcakes for over a month already!
      #3 - China Telecom is actually growing at a far greater rate than Verizon and will overtake them by years end as the largest CDMA provider on the planet. Projected to hit 100 million users by 2012!
      #4 - Apple was only able to buy or obtain promises of 10Million CDMA radios over the next year. Which just so happens to be the projected iPhone sales for China Telecom over the next year!

      So first off where is Apple going to get any CDMA radios for Verizon? Second, if you had short limited supplies and a Hot Market in China, where would you want to sell your phones before Samsung totally owns the CDMA smartphone market there? btw.... Galaxy Series phones are expected to blow by 10million sold Worldwide over two months before it was projected to in less than 6months! ....it will put it alone (not including any other Android devices) ahead of iPhone4 sales Worldwide. As it is now selling on all 4 U.S. major carriers as well as Top 3 carriers in China and that's the largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the World! :D
      i2fun@...
  • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

    This is a boneheaded policy! Most smart phones sell unlocked for between $400 and $600. So, if you're going to have to pay $200 for an early upgrade, AND you have to pay the price of the smart phone (generally $199 - $299), why not just buy the phone you want unlocked for $499? You may pay an extra $100, but you won't be tied to a contract and you won't have all the crapware installed.
    mgrubb@...
    • Boneheaded

      @mgrubb@...

      The only boneheaded thing about this is all the fools who sign a 2 year contract and then somehow expect to get out of the contract before it expires. THAT is boneheaded.

      If you willingly let the carriers grab you by the ball$, then don't be shocked if they decide to squeeze a bit once in a while. And all the consumers, including many of the right wing, "smaller government" types, then want the government to step in and stop the carriers' squeezing.

      Go figure.
      Economister
      • Boneheaded? Not necessarily!

        @Economister
        People who sign a 2 year contract with a carrier assume they entered into a "long term relationship" with them.... In effect, they've said, "I realize I have a number of options out there, but I like YOU enough to sign up, saying I'll stick with you for the next 2 years."

        When that carrier starts offering a newer/better handset, the customer logically thinks, "Oh, great! My carrier of choice has something new out. I'd pay them a little something extra to step up to that!", and then they're upset to find the carrier doesn't CARE about their business enough to do that for them!

        Remember, these aren't people "trying to get out of a contract" at all! They're actually people trying to stay WITH their existing carrier! (They're not ever saying, "I want a new phone without extending the length of my current contract!" They're saying, "Let me sign up for ANOTHER 2 years if I can just have this newer phone you'd do the same deal for, for any new customer that comes along!"
        kingtj
      • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

        @kingtj - of course they're trying to get out of their contract - the 2 year contract was in exchange for the carrier subsidizing that pretty new phone they had to have. Now a prettier new phone is out and they magically want the carrier to forego their original subsidy and subsidize another phone for them. Pay full boat for the new phone and switch it into your existing contract for now carrier fee - or pay a partial subsidy reclaim (which is what this early upgrade fee is) and stop whining. People are always whining about wanting something for nothing - but it's a zero sum game.
        archangel9999
  • This hurts MS more than others

    With WP7 coming out right away, this is going to be a major disincentive to throwing away your iPhone and buying a WP7 phone. I can smell Apple's fear from a mile away. It is obvious they paid AT&T to do this.
    NonZealot
    • RE: Hurting MS

      @NonZealot Your theory sounds too much like a conspiracy... I see this more as AT&T attempting to get more money from it's customer base. I doubt Apple had anything to do with this. Of course your theory could be dead on or it could be Google paying AT&T to do this... I hear more people with Android devices saying they'd go to WP7 than those with iOS devices.
      athynz
      • Actually . . .

        @athynz <br><br>NZ May be closer to the truth on this than you think. The story I saw on Fox News this morning said that the iPhone was exempt from this $200 charge . . . I'm checking to verify this . . .
        JLHenry
        • UPDATE!!

          @athynz

          http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20019044-17.html
          JLHenry
      • Subsidy reclaim

        @athynz It's really simple - ATT wants back part of the subsidy they gave when the person signed the 2 year contract in exchange for the reduced phone cost - why would you expect them to subsidize phone #1 in exchange for a 2 year contact but then just because you saw a new shiny object turnaround and subsidize phone #2 before you've lived up to your end of the contract? The lemmings need to put on their big boys pants and either forego the subsidy and then do whatever they want without extended contracts, payback the subsidy reclaim ("upgrade fee") and get their new subsidized phone, or live up to the contract they signed in the first place and stop whining that they can't have whatever shiny new toy that fell off the assembly line this week
        archangel9999
      • RE: AT&T's early upgrade fee for smartphone skyrockets to $200

        @archangel9999 Not sure where you got the idea that I didn't understand about an upgrade fee from my post... perhaps you meant to respond to someone else.
        athynz