AT&T: 3G Upgraders pay $200 more for iPhone 3GS | iLounge News


AT&T: 3G Upgraders pay $200 more for iPhone 3GS

AT&T has announced that the upgrade prices for iPhone 3GS will be $399 (16GB) or $499 (32GB) for customers who are still under contract after purchasing the prior-generation iPhone 3G, a $200 premium over the “standard” iPhone 3GS prices of $199 and $299. Using a pricing configurator found on Apple’s web site, users can find out their individual upgrade prices based on the remaining length of their AT&T contracts, which may be higher or lower depending on the date of their prior upgrades. Users must commit to a new two-year contract; an $18 Activation fee and a $18 Early Upgrade fee are also assessed.

Updated: Some readers have reported upgrade price quotes of $599 (16GB) or $699 (32GB), which may be based on the length of their status as AT&T customers, and their more recent purchase of iPhone 3G hardware.


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“They are not unilateral gifts, but they are given as consideration for the end user signing a contract to stay with that company. AT&T;and its competitors are not concerned in the least with what you and I pay for physical devices; they want your money over a period of months or years.”

We are in complete agreement here. The subsidy is not unilateral. The company takes an initial hit on the cost of the equipment and in return it “locks” you into a 2 year deal over which period the company hopes to make up the price of the subsidy and then some. So you get your phone at a discount and they got you for the next 2 yrs.

You present an interesting alternative though, if I understand correctly. You’re saying that you’d be willing to sign a 2 yr contract extension with a $250 for early termination agreement in exchange for subsidized equipment renewal?

Posted by lvidal91 on June 9, 2009 at 3:07 PM (CDT)


That is indeed what I’m saying, lvidal91. I think any service provider wants to better “securitize” their agreements by deterring those who might breach/repudiate early. If I am working for AT&T;, and I know that my exclusivity with Apple could

I wouldn’t want to put up a roadblock to new/continuing users that would cause them to want to jump ship as soon as the contract expires. What I would want to do is protect my investment (the subsidy, in this case) by sweetening the pot and maintaining an ongoing relationship with that user.

Or how about this? If I buy the subsidized iPhone in July and decide I want out six months later, how about making me pay a prorated portion of that subsidy back? To me, there’s a paucity of logic in the way mobile service providers operate. If you are giving me a $200 break on the price of that phone based upon an arbitrary date, that’s not going to do anything but cause dissent. But if a contract front-ends a stiff penalty for early termination, or makes clear that a granted equipment subsidy will be subject to reimbursement upon early termination, then I think that makes things clearer.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on June 9, 2009 at 3:48 PM (CDT)



That is indeed what I’m saying, lvidal91. I think any service provider wants to better “securitize” their agreements by deterring those who might breach/repudiate early. If I am working for AT&T;, and I know that my exclusivity with Apple could be gone at any given time, I’d do my best to ensure that customers are happy and don’t have any inclination to move on to another provider when the exclusivity agreement expires.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on June 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM (CDT)


@Flippy Hambone - You suggest a fair and above all not unreasonable compromise. Unfortunately I doubt AT&T;would be willing to do this any time soon but who knows.
Perhaps if a significant number of early upgraders refuse to take the plunge maybe AT&T;could be persuaded to reconsider. If, however, enough people are willing to upgrade regardless of price then it will not matter.

Posted by lvidal91 on June 9, 2009 at 4:11 PM (CDT)


@84, they aren’t going to reconsider anything.  This policy has been in place for as long as I’ve owned a cell phone.  It’s not “hitting” early upgraders with anything.  It’s simply the way it is.  If you got a BB Curve last year and went in and wanted to get the BB Bold or new Curve 8900 it would be the same story, sorry your not eligible for the upgrade pricing.  If anything everyone should be happy they are even offering it for the price they are to early upgraders because everyone else; WinMo and BB users would be given full retail price as their only option for upgrading. 

I know all the Apple folk are used to running out every single year and getting the newest iPod, Mac, etc.  But in the cell phone world that is not how it works and hasn’t for a long time in the US.

Posted by sting7k on June 9, 2009 at 4:29 PM (CDT)


The real test, I suppose, will be on launch day next week.

On June 19, 2009, you would hope that everyone lining up for an iPhone 3GS would be a new iPhone buyer or someone who wants to upgrade from the original device. No one who owns a 3G will be eligible for the $200 subsidy that day, so theoretically, you’d like to see 3G owners staying home. Of course, some will feel that bizarre need to go ahead and chuck the $200 into the kitty to have the 3GS now, but you won’t be counting me among them. And I tend to be rather tech-obsessed, but generally within reason…sort of. :)

I guess it’s a pipe dream on my part to assume that AT&T;will learn anything. As I had mentioned in a previous post, they seem blissfully ignorant of what the consumer wants.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on June 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM (CDT)


@85 Agreed and I understand that is the way providers work. Which is why I originally stated that I was SOL and will not be upgrading to the 3GS until I can get the full subsidy pricing in 2010. I also know it’s absurd to expect AT&T;to give out extensive subsidies on contracts that are barely a year old.

I was just agreeing with FlippyHambone on a hypothetical (and highly unlikely) scenario that would allow the Apple folk to consume the iPhone like any other Apple product

Posted by lvidal91 on June 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM (CDT)


From Apple’s site: “For non-qualified customers, including existing AT&T;customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, the price with a new two-year agreement is $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB). Visit for eligibility information.”

Where are your numbers coming from?

Posted by Joe P. on June 9, 2009 at 5:23 PM (CDT)


I just bought a brand new 3G 1 1/2 months ago and ATT wants to jack me with upgrading fees they say im past my remorse period. I suggest waiting for the Verizon Iphone or go with the Palm Pre because ATT is not worth the hassle!!!

Posted by Vega on June 9, 2009 at 5:52 PM (CDT)


@87; word, at least someone understands.  Probably best anyway.  Just wait until next year when a new iPhone with a high resolution OLED screen even better camera and stuff comes out.  Think of the outrage all the iPhone 3Gs users will have then.

Posted by sting7k on June 9, 2009 at 7:15 PM (CDT)


i’m not looking to defend att or apple, but to those who feel shafted by the pricing, please name some companies that obviously worked hard to keep your business. every cable/telecom company gives better deals to new customers than to existing ones. every single one. cell phone companies? same thing. i have never ever heard of a cell company giving a better price to an existing customer. well, at least not without the customer calling to complain or threatening to leave. but on anything other than a case by case basis, i’ve never heard of it. outside of supermarket discount cards, i can’t think of any. try and call a company, and you have to fight your way through robots to get to a human, if it’s even possible. customer service and retention don’t appear to be high priority for many companies.
name some please if i’m wrong; i’m looking for a good relationship with a company. cheers…

Posted by mjc on June 9, 2009 at 8:07 PM (CDT)


How about my scenario,

I bought the original 2.5G 4GB for the $399 with no eventual rebate, bought the 3G 8GB when it came out for the subsidized price, then lost the 3G in Jan 09 buying a new one for $499 (i guess i didnt realize i was “wasting” my upgrade by getting a new one (what was i supposed to do?? leave AT&T;until June when the 3Gs came out??)) and now because of this I have to wait till Jan 2010 or pay $599 or $699 for the “contract-free” plan…

So i am labeled as some sort of scum “contractl-less” A-hole who gets a $300 penalty, when ive bought 3 Iphones already. Why cant they just let people agree to extend their contracts for MORE THAN TWO YEARS?? Sprint used to do this with me all the time…and they would mention how they would do this for me based on the amount of new phones i bought

If AT&T;had a policy that said “the more phones you buy the bigger discount you get!!!” would seem unfair facially but i bet those who didnt spend as much wouldnt feel like they got “ripped off” after all, they didnt spend as much… but here, as posted, it seems like those who have “POO-POO’ed” the iphone from the beginning and now want to buy are the ones who really get the last laugh (oops, nope AT&T;does (NOPE ooops!! APPLE DOES CAUSE SUBSIDISED OR NOT APPLE GETS FULL PRICE FOR ALL))

I guess other phone companies need to get on the ball on this. If you look at it… all the Iphone exclusivley is a flat glass plate, alot of phones out there carry the same technology one way or another, its the DESIGN that people love… If they could only come out with a phone thats flatter and has the same stuff in it; it would blow Iphone out of the water…cant wait to change to that

Posted by Jeff on June 10, 2009 at 10:03 AM (CDT)



I have found myself in agreement with your post (#86) since discovering that my “eligibility” will not take place until December of this year. Unfortunately I fear that this may futile because AT&T;almost seems content to allow those subscribers to ride out their second year, not recognizing that many iPhone users are most likely with them because of the phone and not for the carrier. I have never been in support of Verizon adding the iPhone, until now.

My biggest cause for concern is inconsistency. I put eligibility in quotes due to the lack of transparency on AT&T;‘s part in regards to when July’08 subsidized consumers will be able to get the $199/$299 pricing. This is the part that puzzles, and to be honest- angers me a bit, because I have read of numerous examples that support their ambiguity in when “eligibility” begins. I understand that I have signed a 2-year agreement and will certainly play by the rules- I just want to know why there seem to be different sets of rules.

Posted by Jordan on June 10, 2009 at 10:11 AM (CDT)


There is really a lot of comments on the subject.

I am in the same boat, though I think I can wait.

The 3.0 OS goes to everyone and I believe that’s where the major value lies. I just don’t think the couple extra hardware updates are that compelling to make me run to the Apple Store on 6/19. “Especially” since ATT is not supporting MMS and Tethering.

I can hold out for a 3 megapixel camera…. and a compass.

Posted by Karen on June 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM (CDT)


Jordan, you used the key word in this whole sordid mess: “inconsistency.” I can easily envision a scenario where this time next year, Apple rolls out the 4G (or, heaven forbid, something called the “3GS++”) and you’ll see an even more unpredictable pricing scheme for would-be upgraders.

Maybe all of the perceived problems would still exist if the iPhone was offered by another provider. Or maybe not. Right now, US iPhone users have no other options. All I know is that I’m in an area where AT&T;is the dominant provider, where its signal strength and service is actually quite good, and I’ve been an 11-year customer. That may very well change in due time, because I’m far from pleased with how they’ve managed this exclusivity. Instead of using it to their advantage, they seem hellbent on turning away people with each move.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on June 10, 2009 at 11:16 AM (CDT)


If it helps any, AT&T;isn’t just alienating all fo you iPhone owners who forked out cash a year ago..they’re taking their lovely little pricing scheme out on everyone else as well.

About two years ago, I bought a Razr…I still get the honor and priviledge of paying nearly $400.00 for a 32GB iPhone if I want to do that with less than a year left on my contract…a contract I’ve faithfully renewed with AT&T;for over 5 years now.

Well…they just left $$ on the table.  I can wait…and wait I shall…

Posted by V on June 10, 2009 at 11:43 AM (CDT)


I think the thing that I have a problem with is that they are requiring a new contract signed, regardless of whether you’re eligible for an upgrade. I bought the 3G back in October at full retail price, because I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade than, but just sold my old phone which offset the difference. The kicker for me is that they are telling me that I will be available for an upgrade 18 months after the contract I signed back in October, for the Iphone that I biught at retail, NO SUBSIDY INVOLVED!!!

Does that make sense?

Posted by Gabe on June 10, 2009 at 12:11 PM (CDT)


I just sold my white 16 gig for 400 and pre-ordered the 3gs.

Posted by Steven Haye on June 11, 2009 at 6:23 PM (CDT)


I am really upset about AT &T;pricing for the 3G-s for existing customers.
End of my contract , I will not going to renew the contract any more.

Posted by tony on June 17, 2009 at 2:17 AM (CDT)

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