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


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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You people saying we signed up for a subsidized plan yadda yadda are not realizing that we did indeed sign up for a subsidized plan and now we have to pay full price and an additional TWO year contract. Give us the phone for the unsubsidized price and continue the original plan. That sounds fair to me at the very least. I have bought each iPhone as they come out and I have enjoyed each one. AT&T;is simply trying to reap money where it can. It’s not fair and they are digging a nice deep hole and pushing users either away or putting a very bad taste in their mouth. I for one am not at all happy but at least my first gen iPhone qualifies for the upgrade price so I sell my second gen and get a new one off my first gen.

Posted by RLZ on June 12, 2009 at 2:36 PM (CDT)


To the person that ends up with my old 3g, if they set it up on AT&T;will they have to sign a two year agreement?

I can understand the $200 hit as well as signing a two year to get the 3gs but to make someone that gets a contract free 3g sign a two year is just wrong.

Posted by Ryan on June 12, 2009 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


RLZ: Your math = broken. You may have signed up for a subsidized plan, BUT YOU’RE NOT FINISHED. If I sign up for a two year contract, and get a subsidized phone as a result, then a year later want to upgrade my phone, then yes, I’ll get asked to sign an additional two year contract, AND pay a higher price. Why? Because 1 year + 2 years = 3 years, and 2+2 = 4.

Wait a year and you’ll not be asked to pay a higher price. Stop expecting a free lunch at AT&T;(and their other customers) behest, just because you want a steady stream of Apple shiny’s subsidized all so AT&T;can have the pleasure of having you as a customer.

Meh. Freeloaders.

Posted by Robert on June 12, 2009 at 2:58 PM (CDT)


If you want a new macbook every year guess what, You have to pay full price every time.

They give you a break in the price every two years. They are doing you a favor. Use it for two years then get a new one. I don’t understand the sense of entitlement.

I have a gen 1 for almost two years now, I want a 3GS and I can buy one for $199, in two years I can buy a new one at the discount and I’m thankful for it.

I think calling it a subsidy is a misnomer. If I get an iPhone on ebay and sign up AT&T;on it I pay the same monthly fee as someone who got a subsidized phone from them. Therefore, they are giving you a discount on hardware every two years so that you will continue to use their service. Thank you for that AT&T;!! I do not understand the bad wrap you are getting.

Posted by Andyvp on June 12, 2009 at 3:17 PM (CDT)


Robert, you just like to bi0tch at people huh? Do you even have an iPhone? Do you plan on getting the new one and are you paying the full unsubsidized price or are you getting the discount. A free lunch? I have given in the last two years almost a $1000 in hardware alone. 599 the first time and 299 the second. I also pay my 100+ monthly fee and have done so for almost 2 years now but I’m a “freeloader” huh. Nice man, nice.

Posted by RLZ on June 12, 2009 at 3:35 PM (CDT)


Everyone saying how this is the way the carriers have always done things….so what?  Does that make it a good idea. At one point in our contries history it was normal to keep slaves. Was that a good idea?  GM and Chrysler kept doing things the way they always did and that worked out great for them. Right?  Just cause something has always followed a certain protacol doesn’t make it smart or right. Apple has always played the game by their own rules. Maybe it’s time AT&T;learned something from their business partner. (for their sake before their contract is up). Also, if AT&T;can negotiate an extension on their contract with apple why can’t we do the same with them?  But no they are simply telling us the terms leaving us without any say in the matter…....

Posted by James on June 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM (CDT)


You (like myself) purchase subsidized hardware on a contract plan. So… Phone payment (monthly) + phone plan (monthly) = your cost per month.

You (like myself) want newer hardware.

Company asks you to pay an early termination fee. This covers the hardware you no longer like, as well as some of the lost income they have made from the contract you signed to both _use_this_service_ while _paying_off_your_hardware.

I happily continue to use my 3G, while you bitch and complain about a minor battery/hardware increase, a new camera (that still has nothing on a half decent pocket camera), video recording (that has nothing on a half-decent pocket camera), and a digital compass.

Personally, if you have issues, blame apple. Apple would have, through their exclusivity agreement with AT&T;, to have approved their plans and 2 year contracts, knowing that they would likely release an upgrade within 12 months. AT&T;are just asking for the money you owe them if you want to break the contract.

Or better yet, suck it up. This is capitalism, and we all agreed to it. Would I like the 3G S? Sure. Am I willing to pay through to nose to get out of my obligations? Nope. It’s not that important to me. The upgrade is hardly substantial, and so guess what? I’ll get the 2010 model. Simple.

Although if you have phone insurance, and have a 16GB model, since it’s discontinued, an unfortunate person who has their phone stolen, or broken, might find themselves replaced with a 16GB 3GS for the cost of the excess, because there may be no 16GB 3G available through the phone company. If it’s insured, you might be guaranteed a new replacement, rather than a refurb… Happened to me when my 4G Photo iPod croaked multiple times under AppleCare, and for the last one they gave me a 5G because they didn’t have 4G Photos anymore.

Not guaranteeing it, and you’ll still have the excess, but it might pan out that way a few months down the line…

Posted by richard james on June 12, 2009 at 4:16 PM (CDT)


# 20>  Cost to build an iPhone 3G = $174.33…not even close to the ridiculous $12-15 you quoted.

Posted by Rob on June 12, 2009 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


Hate to break it to ya folks but, as has been mentioned already, as long as AT&T;keeps taking a hit on its bottom line by way of its current subsidizing scheme, this type of pricing is going to continue being the norm.
  I see a few ways in which AT&T;could change yet none will make everyone happy, still:
1) Offer one year contracts to keep up with the iPhone’s life cycle. Pros: Regular upgrade eligibility, and equal pricing for everyone. Lower early cancellation fees. Con: Would result in higher handset cost as AT&T;would likely subsidize less of the iPhone cost so for example you’d get $349/$4499 for 16GB/32GB models.
2) Continue with current subsidy pricing AND allow everyone (new and existing customers) to upgrade yearly at the standard subsidy price of $199/299. People with expired contracts sign a 2 yr extension as usual. Early upgraders would be required to sign a 2 year contract BUT with an increase in early termination fee to, say, $250. Option 2 in the event of an early cancellation would be for AT&T;to charge prorated subsidy costs in addition to the normal early termination fee. 
3) Last option would be for AT&T;to not subsidize phone cost and offer the iPhone at retail, which appears to be $599/699 for the 16/32 GB. Customer signs NO contract agreement AND monthly data plan goes down to $20 (including 200 text messgs).

Posted by lvidal91 on June 12, 2009 at 4:43 PM (CDT)


Wow, just wow…still crying I see.  Is this the first time everyone has ever owned a cell phone?

Posted by sting7k on June 12, 2009 at 5:02 PM (CDT)


You would think AT&T;would learn to expect this.  Why even bother offering only 2 year contracts if you know Apple is going to do this every year.  Offer a one year contract for those who are gonna die if they don’t get the next iphone every year…

Posted by John Mc on June 12, 2009 at 5:38 PM (CDT)


I don’t understand why you AT&T;defenders can’t simply state your defense without picking at the scab. People, myself included, have been vilified here all week for having the audacity to take umbrage with the policies in place and for stating pretty compelling reasons for their objections. When you lash out at those complaining for being “whiners” and “crying” and having a “sense of entitlement,” you are looking more and more like plants from the service provider.

Just discuss the merits. This is an open forum. Not everybody has to be so caustic all the time. The fact that I have vigorous objections to this upgrade policy and the pricing behind it doesn’t have to be viewed through such a jaded lens. My feeling from the get-go is that AT&T;is doing a lot of self-inflicted damage—the iPhone has emerged as a game-changer for the carrier and with some conscious planning and a little bit more loyalty to their existing customers, they could annihilate every other provider on the strength of their exclusivity agreement with Apple. But you can bet that at this rate, many of these users are going to fly the coop as soon as that agreement lapses, and understandably so.

Decrying AT&T;‘s upgrade policies is no different than complaining about manipulative marketing in the auto industry or complaining about spotty service from your cable or satellite provider. It’s just consumers venting, free of any hostility. And yet to some of you, it would seem that any balking could be tantamount to treason.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on June 12, 2009 at 6:04 PM (CDT)


@22 Ryan

When I went to an AT&T;store to ask about giving my 2G phone to my wife (who would be new to AT&T;) if I upgraded to the 3GS (which I am able to get at the $199/$299 price point since I have been on contract for 19 months and paid full for my first phone) they told me she would still have to sign a 2 year contract.  I tried to contend there is no way that could be the case since she is bringing her own phone to them, but her contention was EVERY iPhone subscriber must sign a 2 year contract. 

I don’t have a problem with the way they are doing other upgrades since we did sign their 2 year contract and we must live up to it, but there is NO reason why my wife taking my previously fully paid for 2G iPhone should have to sign a 2 year contract.  That is ridiculous!  If she was bringing a used RAZR or BB would she have to sign a 2 year contract?

Hopefully this CSR was mistaken, but if not, then that is one problem they are going to have to address since there are going to be more and more hand me down iPhones out there soon.

Posted by TosaDeac on June 12, 2009 at 6:05 PM (CDT)


Ha - what a desperate attempt to get AT&T;to waive fees so all the people that were too anxious and got the 3G can get the 3GS, and not have to pay what they should fully be entitled to pay. [AT&T;]“Oh noes - a twitter petition!  We’s in trouble now!”  Please. The sooner people realize that neither Apple nor AT&T;give a crap about people’s whining about prices the better off they’ll be.  AT&T;doesn’t have to lower the cost they’re asking for, b/c they know as well as all of us do, people are going to get the new 3GS eventually, despite how much it ends up costing them. All the crying about the upgrade pricing thus far is evidence to that.  If the money were really a problem, and people could just do without the new model, they’d simply not buy it and not waste time complaining…and on twitter no less…

Posted by KC on June 12, 2009 at 6:12 PM (CDT)


The 3G owners got the subsidized price of $199 a year ago (2 year contract).  My wife went through the same deal when she tried to upgrade her Palm early.  Get real folks!

Posted by taafwb on June 12, 2009 at 7:03 PM (CDT)


Good luck with getting anything from those thieving bastards!  Opps, I meann AT&T;.  The only reason I don’t own an iPhone is that I will NEVER go back to that horrid company.  If and when Verizon gets it’s own iPhone, then I will be happy to give Apple my business.

Posted by skidemn on June 12, 2009 at 8:17 PM (CDT)


I would be delighted to see a price drop; not only to save money but mostly because it will show that consumers have the power to do what they have ignored in the past. . . dictate the market.  This country really needs to wake up in terms of what a group of average citizens can accomplish.

Posted by Greg on June 13, 2009 at 2:24 AM (CDT)


iPhone owners have the opportunity to turn a potential negative into a positive….[t]hey should forget the immediate gratification [of the same phone but with a digital compass] and invest their $399+ in some other status symbol”

Posted by Rob S on June 13, 2009 at 6:05 AM (CDT)


I believe its a GREED thing with AT&T;.  I have been waiting for the 3G service to come to my area for over a year and it still is not forcoming.  All one hears is its coming soon.  After hearing that for the past 13 months I don’t believe it will get here until iPhone 15 is released.  Maybe the Pre can do better!

Posted by Peter D on June 13, 2009 at 8:54 AM (CDT)


Everyone who says that people have no right to complain since phone subsidies have always been with us are wrong.

A typical phone that is popular might sell 500,000 to a million units. *IF* its popular, like a Razor back in the day. But the iPhone has sold, what is it, 30 million units worldwide? On sheer volume alone, Apple and AT&T;could sell every iPhone at subsidy and still make considerable money.

Second, a typical phone with data plan is about $50. The typical iPhone plan is $100. Even if a user is only six months into their 2 year plan and extends it only six more months on a new purchase, that’s $600 in extra revenue the person has paid, on top of the $300 cost of the new iPhone - more than enough to subsidze the new iPhone.

Finally, an iPhone isn’t your grandpa’s phone that he might have five years, until it wears out. Its more in the class of a mini computer than a phone. Special allowances have to be made for that fact - among those is that it is upgraded more often than a typical phone.

AT&T;is way off base and they are alienating the very customers who pushed them near or past Verizon n subscribers. If other carriers get iPhone, AT&T;is creating little customer loyalty to stick with them.

Posted by Dale R on June 13, 2009 at 10:48 AM (CDT)

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