Crisis expert: AT&T has 48 hours to respond to iPhone complaints | iLounge News

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Crisis expert: AT&T has 48 hours to respond to iPhone complaints

Following four days of complaints from current iPhone users who are being quoted prices of $399 and up to upgrade their current handsets to the iPhone 3GS, a crisis communications expert has suggested that AT&T has roughly 24-48 hours to respond to the criticism. “It’s time for AT&T to step forward and be an industry leader,” said Dallas Lawrence, vice president of digital media at New York-based Levick Strategic Communications, in an interview with Computerworld. “The next 48 hours will be very telling. AT&T needs to embrace the message, to acknowledge a mistake’s been made, and to make things good.” The online complaints have culminated in a Twitter petition—now with more than 8,000 supporters—calling for AT&T to offer iPhone 3GS upgrades to all iPhone customers for the same $199 and $299 pricing it offers to new customers. The number of names attached to the petition has nearly doubled in the last 24 hours.

“AT&T has the opportunity to turn a potential negative into a positive,” said Lawrence, adding “[t]hey should forget the immediate gratification [of higher revenue] and invest in the longer term to keep iPhone users.” Lawrence went on to say that this vocal group of users will only get more agitated the longer it takes the U.S. iPhone carrier to respond, and that if the company were his client, he would tell them to immediately apologize and guarantee the cheapest upgrade pricing for all iPhone users. “And they should say they will do that for every iPhone that Apple launches, because they want the iPhone users to be part of the AT&T family for life,” Lawrence added. “That would be the type of statement that would be leading—outside the industry norm—and would let iPhone users know they can make a commitment to AT&T because AT&T has made a commitment to them.”

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Comments

1

I think the price may come down if Steve Jobs comes back. I also think the price might change in september when they announce new iPod touches. Though I think and I could be wrong there are more people possibly with iPhone 3G then with the original. All of those people may not want to upgrade because of this and Apple might lose out on that.

Posted by dizil on June 12, 2009 at 8:50 AM (PDT)

2

That will NEVER happen. AT$T is ONLY about GREED

Posted by terryzxt on June 12, 2009 at 9:01 AM (PDT)

3

@2: Never say never.  It might happen if AT&T;finds a way to appease iPhone owners and so make even more money in the long run.  You’re right though, AT&T;(and every for-profit company) is about greed.

Posted by Dyvim on June 12, 2009 at 9:08 AM (PDT)

4

Ha!  A few thousand whining iphone fanboys and girls is hardly a crises. AT&T;should do nothing except direct the whiners to the contract they signed. Maybe the real problem is that people are realizing that the iphone is an overpriced luxury item. What would really get the attention of Apple and AT&T;would be if everyone boycotted the iphone until rates came down to a reasonable level. If you are not willing to do that, then stop your whining.

Posted by Joe on June 12, 2009 at 9:31 AM (PDT)

5

I just switched from T-Mobile for the main purpose of getting the new iPhone 3GS—the handset upgrade policies were made pretty clear during the process.  It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who checked on this during their original purchase.

That being said, T-Mobile policy was much better:  After 1 year into your 2 year contract, you were eligible for full discount on another upgrade, with another 2-year extension…

Posted by Benji on June 12, 2009 at 9:33 AM (PDT)

6

If you bought an iPhone 3G, then you bought a SUBSIDIZED PHONE. That means that a substantial part of the cost of your hardware has been included as part of the 2 year contract you signed. Like every other subsidized phone on EVERY CARRIER, if you are not in your upgrade period, you have to pay more because you haven’t actually finished paying for your first phone yet! This was only different with the original iPhone because AT&T;didn’t subsidize the it. Why can’t people get this through there heads?

Posted by Russel Boyer on June 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM (PDT)

7

Why does everybody feel entitled to a a cheap upgrade?  The reason why corporations exist is to make money under the legal guise of a fictitious person.  This fictitious person has no emotions or sense of morality.  The corporate machine exists to serve one purpose, to make it’s shareholders money.  When I bought my iPhone I expected that they would try to bleed every cent out of me, and I dont expect it to change.  I signed my name to a contract and I’m fully liable to that.  Nowhere in that contract did it say that i was entitled to a phone upgrade before the contract expired.  I have no sense of entitlement here.

Now I personally feel that the iPhone is one of those technologies that can change lives for the better.  I would like to live in a World (or country) that made sure that every tax paying citizin had an iPhone.  In my fantasyland everybody would have an iPhone with a dataplan, but they would be responsible for the actual voice plan.  Oh and txt messages would be free.

Posted by Jason on June 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM (PDT)

8

This is crazy.  The discount on iphones—just like all other phones—made possible by the celluar carriers and the deal has always been the same.  You get a discount if you agree to sign a cell contract for a given period of time.  If you opt to buy a new phone before the end of the specified contract period, you don’t get the fully discounted price.  Maybe Obama will come to the rescue and bail everyone out!

Posted by Larry on June 12, 2009 at 9:54 AM (PDT)

9

What a wonderful written article.  The author hits it on the nail head.  I personally are downgrading my AT&T;wireless services on two lines to bare bones minimum, thus saving $68.99 a month not including taxes, etc. That is $827.88 a year in loss revenue for AT&T;.  While I may be a small fish in a pond, I can VOTE with my POCKET BOOK!  YAY!!!

Cheers!

Posted by Rich on June 12, 2009 at 10:00 AM (PDT)

10

It would be spectacular if the outrage of some very vocal 3G owners was able to make a change, but I wonder how this would be possible.  They can’t just allow unlimited upgrades because then people could take advantage of that liberty and replace their phones at any interval and then sell the previous one on eBay for more than they paid for it since it would be able to be purchased without a contract which to some would be a bonus especially when the secondary market could be set anywhere above the $199/$299 level and still make money.  Now if they make it 12 months if you upgrade from one iPhone to the next iPhone then that seems reasonable since so many people do want the latest and greatest every year, but still will not satisfy some that are upset that their 12 months mark from the 3G start is not until July and the 3GS is being released in June (about 11 months). 

So really, AT&T;is in a no win position…Apple fanboy loyalty is giving them a lot of headaches!

Posted by TosaDeac on June 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM (PDT)

11

The idea behind subsidized pricing is that they take a loss on the hardware, but make up the loss over the term of your contract on the service.  If they let you constantly upgrade your phone for the subsidized pricing with no limit on how often they constantly lose money.  I don’t think they are being greedy. 

Everyone knows Apple rolls out a new model every year, are you going to ask for subsidized pricing every June regardless of your contract?

Look into a 1 year contract instead.  AT&T;used to offer them.  Not sure if they still do.  They never advertised it in print, but if you asked they had it.  The subsidized pricing on a 1 year was between the 2yr price and a no-contract price.  Pay a little more on the hardware, but the freedom to upgrade every year without a whine fest.

Posted by Proto732 on June 12, 2009 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

12

First I am not sure why everyone is so interested in switching from the 3G to 3G S.  All you are going to gain is a little speed, compass, and video camera.  Yes there are more feature as well, but for the price even $199 it is silly to spend the money this year. Personally I am waiting until June next year when the 3G S will be replaced and maybe another carrier will be in the IPhone arena, one that provides its customers with services not phone features.  Really AT&T;no MMS. Everyone in the planet knew that 3.0 was going to support MMS in Feb.  How in the hell did you now have the time to get this working for the launch date.  Apple should be embarrassed to do business with AT&T;.  But like all other IPhone…we have to wait for services that other cell phones have had for years.  All we get is a really nice way to see our voice messages.
Come One.

Posted by NoMMS on June 12, 2009 at 10:19 AM (PDT)

13

Give me a break. Read the *%$# contract. Subsidized contracts are nothing new. You signed a contract when you bought the iPhone 3G. You’re welcome to upgrade to an iPhone 3GS for the unsubsidized price. In fact, AT&T;will offer you a partially subsidized 3GS if you want to upgrade.

It’s fair to complain that AT&T;is not supporting MMS or tethering. Complaining that you’re not eligible for the subsidized price - that just makes you sound like a whiner and a fool.

Posted by Greg Glockner on June 12, 2009 at 10:21 AM (PDT)

14

The only thing I could see them doing, would be to maybe allow a trade-in program to get you a discount. Then they could refurb the old ones and still get something out of them.

Posted by qphayes on June 12, 2009 at 10:31 AM (PDT)

15

I don’t expect them to, but if they are going to subsidize for existing users they need to do it right away.  If they wait until end of the year (when I look up my account it is one of the Dec dates), then why not wait another 6 months for the new one?  And when that new one comes out (hopefully on Verizon as well) AT&T;has permanently lost me as a customer.  Only way to keep me is subsidize now!

Posted by linedpaper on June 12, 2009 at 10:43 AM (PDT)

16

it will be funny when people start to realize that its cheaper to pay for an early termination and go elsewhere.  sure you can’t get the iphone but you can get a subsidized phone with a cheaper calling plan.  these are tough economic times and every little bit saved per month would help a lot of us.  two phones from sprint for $130 a month…unlimited data and text messaging including mms is starting to sound like a good idea to me.  particularly if AT&T;doesn’t realize what they’ve got on their hands with the iphone.  apple has very loyal and rabid fans who for the right price will get a new iphone every year.  considering that their exclusivity deal with apple won’t last forever maybe they should consider this.. You show us loyalty…we’ll show you loyalty.  where taking a hit money wise by staying with AT&T;for the iphone don’t piss us off anymore than you already have….the party will be over…..

Posted by james on June 12, 2009 at 10:46 AM (PDT)

17

AT&T;needs to realize that NOT everyone of their customers is going to upgrade to the new iPhone 3GS.  Their network isn’t the best for performance nor speed.  With MMS lacking for 2 years now and teathering.  Their darn luck people have put up with it as long as they have.  They have lost me as a customer and when the iPhone does come to another carrier, the choice will be clear LEAVE to a better network, better customer service.  If you listening or reading these BLOGS AT&T;, do the right thing and extend the same pricing to existing customers.  I think we’ve got the picture that next time this year things will be different and we all know what to expect.  With Verizon, Tmobile, Alltel offering free calling to landlines up to ten or so numbers, it makes it really simple to switch.  More value and better options.  So I’ll ride out my contract and when it’s over with, I’ll be very happy to leave you guys.

Posted by Rich on June 12, 2009 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

18

Anyone have the link to this petition?

Posted by Craig on June 12, 2009 at 11:14 AM (PDT)

19

The link to the petition is: twitition.com/f96aq

Posted by Joshua on June 12, 2009 at 11:22 AM (PDT)

20

A subsidized phone is BS!!

First, the cost of building one of these phones is probably around $12-15…remember they are building MILLIONS of these phones.

Secondly, how many times over do you have to pay the FULL PRICE for the R&D;? Afterall, most of it has ALREADY been done…and deliberately withheld for the Iphone 3Gs…just like they are holding out features for the upcoming 4G and 5G…you get my drift.

This is STRICTLY about greed from AT&T;. That is fine though…because I hope that AT&T;DOESN’T learn from General Motors.

Did you hear that AT&T;...General Motors thought they were bigger than the consumer…and they went down…your turn is coming. Apple…you should ALSO be putting pressure on AT&T;and quit sleeping with the enemy!!

Posted by Wally on June 12, 2009 at 11:27 AM (PDT)

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