updated 11:20 am EDT, Mon April 4, 2011
ATT says device tech to blame for new price hikes
AT&T in a statement confirmed decisions to raise device prices for early upgrades and shortened contracts. Carrier spokesman Seth Bloom took the unusual tack of justifying the price by claiming the devices themselves were getting more technically advanced. The price simply reflected actual costs, he said.
"As mobile devices become more sophisticated, their cost goes up." he said. "This change reflects the increased costs, while still allowing us to offer customers the latest device before they qualify."
The pricing for early upgrades affects all devices, including the iPhone, but the comments on cost are unusual given Apple's exemption from the new round of price increases for one-year and no-contract buyers. Most of AT&T's buyers, who opt for two-year contracts, won't be affected by the issue, but those who buy on shortened terms or contract-free would have more of an incentive to buy an iPhone than another high-end smartphone like the Atrix 4G or Inspire 4G.
Despite the wave of high-end Android hardware arriving in the wake of AT&T's lost iPhone exclusivity, Apple's device has remained the most popular on AT&T's network and key to its business.