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AT&T secretly hikes early upgrade prices, non-iPhone prices

updated 08:50 am EDT, Mon April 4, 2011

ATT raises early upgrade price by 50

AT&T in a very low-profile move has raised early and exception upgrade pricing for iPhones and other smartphones. A notice to store staff has warned that, as of Sunday, users are paying $50 more. The move would change the premature upgrade price from $249 for an iPhone 3GS to $299, and up to $449 or $549 for an iPhone 4 before normal eligibility comes up.

A separate memo both confirms the price hikes and showed across-the-board pricing increases. With the exception of the iPhone, pricing will go up sharply for anyone buying a phone contract-free or a shoretened one-year contract. Those without a contract will pay at least $50 more, AndroidCentral saw, while one-year buyers will spend a large $150 more.

Basic messaging phones are also going up by $20 off-contract or $10 on a one-year deal.

AT&T hasn't confirmed the rate hikes, though they will ultimately have the largest impact on non-Apple hardware. Pricing for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 devices will now mostly be competitive on a two-year plan where the iPhone may be the more reasonable deal on shortened terms.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Haroscarfel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2007


    keeping prices low

    yeah and if they are allowed to gobble up tmobile, im sure they'll keep those great affordable pricing plans in place. I wish there were more GSM pay as you go providers.

  1. dennisobell

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2002


    Groundwork for iPhone 5?

    I wonder if this is AT&T's preparation for the rumored delay of the iPhone 5 from June to the fall. If that timing does indeed come to pass, those of us who got an iPhone 4 in June 2010 will be very tempted to upgrade to the 5, since we'll be more than 15 months into our contracts (I know I've been thinking about it ever since I heard the rumor). Normally that would warrant a low-penalty or even no-penalty upgrade from AT&T -- they let a lot of 3GS owners upgrade to the 4 with minimal or waived penalties last year -- but this could be a signal that they're going to squeeze every dollar out of early upgraders. Mind you, I'm just speculating.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999



    I have 6 months left on a feature phone plan, the second line, no data plan. To even get an iPhone 3GS right now is a $200 premium. That's $33 per month they'll be taking from me on top of the $10 I'm spending anyway. If they'd just let me get the iPhone at $49 with a new plan, I'd be paying them for a new plan for much more money plus the requisite data plan, even more money.

    They're only out $60 if I bail now. And they'll charge me $200 to do so. And if they let me bail, they start charging me more...

    Are they trying to discourage use? At least rate the ETF by the plan and the hardware.

  1. inspectorgadget

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002


    The nature of the beast

    That's ATT . . . the deathstar, like a communications jungle predator always regains its balance and struggles back to the top of the pack to resume the monopolistic, capitalist putsch it has been known for since the middle of the last century. Its motivation is profit for the shareholders and not quality, affordable service for its user base. The corporate arrogance is transparently offensive. Sooner or later it will get slapped down again; only to regain its near exclusive control of the American telecom market. This may be one of a few areas where the government really needs to have some gonads and take a look at regulation. I'll switch the minute my current contract expires if Verizon can offer an equitable plan. I already dumped ATT's useless yellow page ad for the business. As a consumer, that's about all that can be done.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    oh, how unfair

    OMG! They're raising prices! Stop the presses.

    Oh, wait. They're not raising prices on anyone except those "Can't keep my phone for 6 months, need to keep replacing it" people. The "oh, look, a shiny new iPhone! I must have it, mine is 12 months old and so outdated, and people will laugh at me if I don't stand in line and get a new one!" people.

    Easy solution. Just buy the phone. Then you can sell it when you want and buy another.

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