AT&T Blaming Apple For iPhone 4S Upgrade Pricing That Screws Loyal iPhone Customers [Updated]

AT&T Blaming Apple For iPhone 4S Upgrade Pricing That Screws Loyal iPhone Customers [Updated]

Today an AT&T customer service representative (CSR) lays the blame for the current upgrade pricing squarely on Apple, inc. According to the AT&T CSR we spoke to this morning upgrade eligibility dates and the pricing models are all dictated by Apple, Inc. and they cannot be changed.

If you’ve had an iPhone long enough you’ll recall a similar customer service fiasco a couple of years ago with the iPhone 3GS.  If you missed the last time early adopters weren’t able to upgrade and extend their contracts take a look at Apple and AT&T Royally Screw Loyal iPhone 3G Customers it wasn’t pretty.

If you stood in line last year to buy an iPhone 4, the year before that for an iPhone 3GS, etc., and count yourself a loyal Apple customer? Well, we’re all idiots, because Apple and AT&T just screwed us royally and now it looks like history is repeating itself.

Apple is going to have its first customer service fiasco since antennagate which doesn’t bode well for CEO Tim Cook’s first product launch after Steve Jobs departure.

Mr. Cook might be starting off on a bad foot with loyal Apple iPhone customers that have stood in line for the latest and greatest iPhone model since it was first released in 2007. Apple customers expect and demand access to the latest Apple gadgets and they expect their loyalty will be rewarded.

Unfortunately the iPhone 4S is not going to be subsidized for current iPhone 4 customers.  If you bought an iPhone 4 last year, or nearly 16 months ago, the new iPhone 4S will cost you $449 for the entry-level 16GB model, $549 for the 32GB version, and $649 for the 64GB.

Don’t believe me? Here it is in black and white on Apple’s website, right out of Apple’s upgrade eligibility tool:

AT&T Blaming Apple For iPhone 4S Upgrade Pricing That Screws Loyal iPhone Customers [Updated]

You can check your own eligibility if you are an AT&T or Verizon customer as I explained yesterday.

This pricing applies to iPhone 4 customers who purchased their iPhone on June 24, 2010 — the one year anniversary of the iPhone 4 launch. Last year when the iPhone 4 went on sale, Apple and AT&T offered subsidized pricing to owners of the iPhone 3GS (and had owned it for a year).

The prices advertised during yesterday’s event — $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB), and $399 (64GB) — applies to “new and qualifying customers,” which apparently doesn’t include current iPhone 4 customers who have already had their phones nearly four months longer than iPhone 3GS owners did last year.

I’ve put in a call to AT&T and Apple for an explanation, but as of this afternoon my queries have fallen on deaf ears. Attempts to contact Seth Bloom and Mark Siegel at AT&T and Katie Cotton at Apple haven’t been successful.

Updated 10/5/2011 12:02 PM PDT: According to a  local AT&T corporate retail store all pricing in the table above requires a renewed two year contract. If you don’t want a contract then you have to pay full retail for the iPhone 4S $650 (16GB), $750 (32GB) or $850 (64GB) .  It was interesting to find out that even after you pay the full retail price you cannot get the iPhone 4S unlocked from AT&T.

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  • Michael Rials

    Apple isn’t the most valuable company in the world b/c they give away their products.

  • Petereriksson10

    Jackasses!

  • jayjaytee

    Well boo hoo hoo. Cry me a river. Where is it written that customers who willingly enter into two-year contracts should expect to be let out of them just because manufacturers prefer to release new models on a one-year cycle?

  • Tomfur

    Just got off the phone with the most rude and ill informed group of people at att. Not only were they rude but they kept calling it the iPhone 5! I’ve been a loyal iPhone customer since the 3g, and now how 3 iPhone 4 on my plan. I’m a business customer who sleds a ridiculous about of money on my plan each month, and they did just as this article says passed the ball to Apple. They explained to me that apple has changed it’s upgrade restrictions and they cannot overrid or they will be FIRED. As a loyal customer I feel let down by both parties. If this is how they plan on competing with the billions sprint has dumped into their network they are in trouble. I also called apple and he told me there is nothing they can do either. Why is it that in the past two launches I’ve been able to stand in line with my girlfriend give into the hoopla of the launch day and walk out with an iPhone at a reasonable price? I think apple deserves the highly regarded FAIL stamp on this one.

  • Piotrek931

    I’m pretty much dissapointed with AT&T. After being their costumer for so many years, than brining in my friends and family into the network they make me pay extra for iPhone 4S. I’m pretty much done with this comapany.

  • Raj

    This is interesting David. 

    I spoke to a Verizon customer rep today about any concession that they might make to give me an early upgrade from a feature phone, since I would be actually helping Verizon by subscribing to their data plan AND staying with the company for an extended period. The customer rep flat out told me that such concessions can be made by them or their managers only if the desired device is NOT AN IPHONE. She said that in case of iPhone it is Apple who strictly controls that NO early upgrade concession should be made for any customer, no matter how loyal he/she has been to Verizon. Apple wouldn’t even let such upgrades happen in the holiday season, although she suggested that I should call back later to see if the situation has changed.Bottomline: I was a bit alarmed to see a Verizon customer rep laying the blame squarely on Apple and frankly do not understand the need for this kind of demand by Apple, unless it has something to do with controlling the demand of the device and reducing the pressure on the supply back in China, etc…

  • Jeremy Dunning

    I don’t know what the details of your situation, but I’ve bought every iteration of iPhone on launch day through Apple and my service is with AT&T.  I’ve just checked with both Apple and AT&T’s upgrade tools and BOTH say I’m eligible for the subsidized price.

  • Mike

    Just got off with a service rep who said the same. When I asked about last year he said “That was last year sir, and this is this year” He didn’t like it when I said he “couldn’t just ignore that last year happened.” Oh well. 

  • Josephine

    i guess im lucky then my upgrade from (from the iphone 4 on att – previously of the iphone 3gs, 3g, and 2) reflects the discount, 199 299 399, double checked with att … maybe its because i didnt get a 4 until a few weeks after it came out? either way its strange

  • GuestiPhone

    Half the sources you use from AT&T consist of some random customer service representative out of the countless customer service call centers that AT&T has. Honestly you guys should get better more credible sources, I swear you would report it if Joe Hobo off the side of the road told it to you. 

  • Brock

    This isn’t true across the board. I had the original iPhone, skipped the 3G, got the 3GS as soon as it was available and pre-ordered the 4 last year. The $199, $299, $399 pricing is available to me for the 4S. I think there are more factors that play into it. Which is where AT&T is responsible. They look at how much you spend each month to decide if you’re available for the upgrade. I pay around $230 a month for three lines that includes two (soon to be three) iPhones.

  • dcborn61

    So iPhone 4 customers who bought when it came out have to wait a month to get subsidized pricing? And we are supposed to feel sorry for them and outrage at Apple? I’ll pass.

  • Dritz

    I am able to get an upgrade and I purchased an iPhone 4 on release day last year. They told me since I spend $200 dollars a month I get early upgrade options. My account shows me available for 199,299, and 399 prices

  • NeilParkerTX

    This isn’t anything new.  Why do people keep thinking it is going to change?  Why is there even a story about company policies that never change?  I used to work for AT&T and don’t understand why everyone thinks the iPhone should be different from every other phone.  Both companies want to make money and shouldn’t be faulted for this. 

    Just deal with it and wait a while.  It’s just a phone people.

  • aol1

    Much wailing and gnashing of teeth over nothing.  Many of us signed a two year contract with a $325 ETF knowing full well that we would most likely not be able to qualify for subsidized pricing for at least 16 months based on how much we spend per month.  My upgrade is also available around the middle of November and I’m fine waiting an extra month if I even choose to upgrade (and possibly pay some part of that ETF?  not sure).  No, the only thing that’s sticking a bit in my craw is the no-siri-on-iPhone-4 thing.  On the surface, removing Siri from the app store and stopping it from working on iPhone 4, and making the new Siri exclusive to the iPhone 4S appears to be a blatant ripoff, but I assume (and hope) the jailbreak community will rectify that.

  • pangeomedia

    Despite the fact that AT&T and Apple are both ‘for profit’ companies, what’s the problem? 

    A subsidy is a subsidy. Why should either Apple or AT&T provide YOU with a new phone at the starter rate when YOU haven’t finished paying for the last phone you bought? It’s not evil. It’s math. Once you’ve paid for the old phone, then you can buy a new phone at the starter rate.No one is paying ‘extra’ for an iPhone 4S. You’re paying for the iPhone 4S and you’re paying for the rest of what you owe on the iPhone 4. It’s clear and simple. Like it or hate, you still owe some money on the old phone, so pay up, then plunk down the starter price for a new phone.

    This is the way it has been since the first iPhone. It’s the way it works with every carrier, every subsidized phone. Nothing has changed. Deal with it.

  • john

    funny, I have the upgrade cost of 199 for thr 16GB model and I purchased the iPhone 4 last year with an early upgrade from AT&T. I’ve purchased the newest model every year with an early upgrade eligibility.

    Sadly for Apple though, Im jumping ship to android, probably the Galaxy S2

  • SDf

    i am eligible for the 199, 299 and i waited in line….so i think you should check again

  • Guest

    I didn’t understand this “screwed” reasoning the last time around, and I don’t understand it now.  The EVO 4G came out June 4, 2010.  The EVO 3D came out June 24, 2011.  Are owners of the original EVO 4G “screwed” because they don’t qualify for the $199 new/upgrade pricing for the EVO 3D because they haven’t had first phone for 2 years (technically 22 months)?

    Based on your screenshot, it looks like you only have to wait 15 months (June 24, 2010 to November 25, 2011) to qualify for the cheaper pricing.  I wish I was that “screwed” with my Sprint contract.

  • GuestiPhone

    AT&T subsidizes the cost when you sign a contract, immediately AT&T is about $350 in the hole. They don’t make that back until about a year into the two year contract, so they are not going to take that big of a risk by giving a customer another $350 break that they haven’t even started to make money on yet. 

  • Brooks Hanes

    Trade-in value of hardware is up to $199, no?

  • Guest

    Sorry, did my math wrong, “15 months” should have been “19 months”, but still.

  • Eric

    Im calling BS that this is Apple. Apple gets full price from AT&T for the phones. Its AT&T that chooses if its subsidized or not. I got the iPhone 4 and im eligible for 4S sooooo its AT&T’s system that is the common problem, not Apple. 

  • FriarNurgle

    It’s understandable to be upset given past early upgrading acceptance in the past. My upgrade is March 2012 and hasn’t changed. I’m not blown away by the iPhhne 4S, so I’ll likely give this iteration a pass. 

    I can still tell everyone I have the new one. They will never know. 

  • Guest

    Sonovab!@$#%  ”17 months”!

  • maccast

    Last time I checked, it was the carrier who was in control of my contract and phone subsidy. I just checked on AT&Ts site and their policy for upgrade eligibility “loyal customers” is typically 20 months into your existing contract, http://www.att.com/shop/wirele…. According to AT&T’s site my iPhone 4 is eligible for upgrade on 11/25, so 17 months into my 2-year contract. That’s a full 3 months earlier than their standard upgrade window. So why are people whining?

  • iPhoneGuest

    You willingly signed a TWO (2) (dos) year contract, AT&T is not required to give you another phone technically until you have fulfilled that contract. Stop crying

  • dagamer34

    No one is screwing anyone over. Your eligibility date is based on how much you spend a month. If you want to move it up faster, spend more each month by either adding tethering or getting another line.

  • iPhoneGuest

    stop crying. you signed two year contract to get a subsidized price, so it makes sense that they’re not going to give another subsidized price until they make back the money of the subsidy. 

  • sloanie

    I’m not certain that those aren’t partially subsidized prices. I expect the 64gb to be $850 without any contract at all (unlocked).

  • iPhoneGuest

    Yes because you probably spend a lot of money. You bring more revenue in they’re going to make up the previous subsidized phone quicker. 

  • Lorenzo Calleja

    I bought the 4 at launch and will be eligible for the full discounted price for the 4S. I think eligibility is based on how much you pay monthly. I have 3 lines w/ text and two data plans, so that’s probably why.

  • sloanie

    ahh, story was updated with that info after I loaded the story but before I commented. 

  • Howiefly

    I already have 2 lines and 2 iPhones and I still have to wait to upgrade.  I think it is a disgrace.  I have had every model iPhone released and still have to put up with this abuse. 

  • mannyotr

    I’ve had every single iPhone so far.  Bought each one on the day of their release and was able to qualify for a full upgrade.  This year is the first time I can’t do that.  It really sucks.  As an early adopter and a big Apple supporter, this really sucks.

  • Deanmoyes

    It’s doing this to me for my 2.5 year old 3Gs saying I’m not eligible. Figured it’s a glitch and if I buy a 4S it’ll be fine. People should just call or talk to AT&T/VErizon instead of screaming in the town square. 

  • Steven Schier

    It depends how much money you spend with them a year. I’m the main line on our family contract and I get a subsidized upgrade every year. We spend over $3500 a year with AT&T between myself, my wife and three adult children. Want to borrow some kids?

  • Carlos Novo

    I was told the same thing by an AT&T CSR. However, just because that’s their line doesn’t make it true. AT&T decides how much to subsidize as they are the ones looking to recoup their money with a 2 year contract. Apple sells their phones to AT&T for the same price no matter who is buying them from AT&T. But this isn’t new. It was the same deal with the 3G to iPhone 4 upgrade. While some dates were “adjusted” not all were. If you’re on a family plan, like I am, the main line is eligible for the discounted pricing of $199 even if it was just upgraded last year. All the sub-lines are not. The sub-lines are eligible for for “discounted” pricing as well. They can upgrade for $449. That is not the same as full price. That’s $100 less than the full retail price. I called Apple and asked if the unlocked 4S phones will be available for preorder becasue I’d rather pay the extra $100 ($549 vs $449) and not tie myself to another 2 year contract, but the Apple rep told me the 4S will not be available unlocked. Only the iPhone 4 is. So now I have to upgrade for $449 and still commit to 2 years. 

    While I understand AT&T position, it’s a crock. They have made more than enough money off me. I have owned every iteration of the iPhone so in the contract pricing alone I have given them thousands. And trust me, the service they’ve provided hasn’t been worth that much. Unfortunately, i now live in an area with no Verizon coverage (imagine that!) so I just have to accept it for what it is. But believe me that Apple does not control the upgrade pricing. It’s absurd for AT&T to say it is and even more absurd for someone to report it as fact.

  • Kelly

    I bought on launch day last year, and I am eligible for upgrade.

  • Joshua Thomas Ryan Wallace

    I bought the iPhone 4 on pre-order the first second I could and I get the $199/$299/$399 pricing. I have two other lines that bought it exactly one month after and both of those do not have this pricing. I think it will be updated for everyone. It might just be only pre-order people. Maybe yours will be updated the day of line-standing people, you know?

  • Steve

    Lot of bluster there considering you know damn well you sign a 2-year contract to subsidize the cost of the phone.  It’s like being furious that you don’t get a 30% discount on a new Macbook because you buy the new one every year.  Kinda silly really.

  • Bluelou65

    It’s just a phone dude.  Try having sex with your girlfriend instead?

  • iPhoneGuest

    stop crying. you signed two year contract to get a subsidized price, so it makes sense that they’re not going to give another subsidized price until they make back the money of the subsidy.

  • God

    Bye Bye.

  • Rory

    sorry, no sympathy for these people whatosever.  these aren’t ‘loyal customers’, they’re sad geeks who insist on unnecessary upgrades to satisfy their pathetic, soulless, unimaginative egos.  The ecology of our planet is in peril, millions are starving around the world and these losers are moaning about the pricing structure for a completely unnecessary gadget.  get real.

  • holder account

    hate to tell you but I bought a iPhone 4 at launch last year and the apple website is showing I get the full discount

  • Douglas Stewart

    This isn’t true for all customers. 

    I bought my iPhone 4 in August 2010 and I am currently eligible for the $199 iPhone 4S. 

    A few months ago my upgrade date changed to 10/4.

  • Santore Mark

    I am an AT&T customer with an iPhone 4 I purchased the day they came out and I am eligible for an upgrade.  i just checked the website and I have the same pricing as new customers.  $199.99, $299.99 and 399.99 respectively.  

  • Rory

    jeez.  what a load of horsesh*t.  get a fricking life, man – your attitude makes me want to barf.  no wonder at&t and apple are snarky with you.  wake up, just because you spend a bunch of money on your plan doesn’t make you like some kind of hero to these people – more like you’re just an even bigger sucker than the rest of us, and should be fleeced all the more. 

  • Howiefly

    I called AT&T and got the same message, they blamed Apple.  So, does anyone have a number we can call at Apple to try and get some satisfaction?

  • John

    if your ATT bill is high like mine – $350 plus a month – they are saying I am eligible :)

  • solipsism

    That’s a lot of bellyaching over a contract you willingly signed. You should be grateful they aren’t making you want until 20 months or more of your contract is completed before offering you the upgrade eligible pricing.

    The only reason AT&T ate the cost on the iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4 upgrades last year was because their exclusivity contract was going to end within that year. That was rumoured then, and came to fruition last January.

    Seriously! I don’t get you entitled people that sign a 2 year contract that knocks $400 off the retail cost of your device and then expect to be able to get a new one every year simply because you want the new one. Shame on you all.

  • Theuninvitedguest

    Were buyers confused about what a two-year contract meant when they purchased their phones last year?

  • freediverx

    Seriously doubt that Apple dictates these terms. AT&T bases upgrade eligibility in part on the amount of revenue they make off the customer, which is why people who bought the last model at the same time may get different upgrade dates. When it comes to sleazy sales tactics, I’m sorry, but I’m going to give Apple the benefit of the doubt any day over a mobile service carrier.

  • solipsism

    I’ve read that as well and it makes sense as you’re surely paying off the reduced HW costs much faster.

  • Jason L

    If AT&T doesn’t honor you with a cheaper upgrade, Switch to Sprint just for the principal of it all. We are the customers, AT&T is nothing with out customers. They need to be reminded of it once in a while.

  • Matt

    I’ve now received two emails from AT&T customer service indicating that will not move up eligibility dates. It is now actually cheaper for me to pay my AT&T ETF and buy a new iPhone on Verizon or Sprint rather than upgrade in place on AT&T. Seems like a dumb decision to me on AT&T’s part, but either carrier is OK for me so I may just switch.

  • Matt

    I’ve now received two emails from AT&T customer service indicating that will not move up eligibility dates. It is now actually cheaper for me to pay my AT&T ETF and buy a new iPhone on Verizon or Sprint rather than upgrade in place on AT&T. Seems like a dumb decision to me on AT&T’s part, but either carrier is OK for me so I may just switch.

  • cliqsquad

    After reading this I called AT&T just to see what my upgrade would be like and $549 is on the money plus $18 upgrade fee and the phone is locked to AT&T. I cancel with a $205 ETF so that’s not bad. I also called my Apple store and confirmed that all Apple store 4S purchased out right will be unlocked. $649, $749 & $849

  • Rocklebee

    yep, that seems like a reasonable and concise judgment of the motivations of millions of people around the country, who are clearly so accurately categorized by your handful of adjectives…

    i’m sorry you have T-Mobile

  • Bernard

    one doubt: if i buy an iPhone 4S, paying the full price, at an Apple Store, will it be unlocked?

  • mannyotr

    This is exactly what I told the AT&T rep I spoke to.  I asked them if they were actually willing to lose a long time customer instead of just updating the eligibility by one month.  She said there was nothing she could do.  Awesome customer service.

  • Patrickbush

    I got an iPhone 4 on launch date last year and I just checked my upgrade eligibility and I’m good to go. I would post a picture but I’m not sure if there’s was from my iPhone.

  • Daniel Corver

    This makes no sense, making my wait a month to upgrade isn’t going to offset the price drop between upgrading on Oct 14th or Nov 19th (my upgrade date).  Like others have said it’d be cheaper to pay the EFT and switch to Verizon or Sprint.

  • firesign

    I bought my 4 on release day. According to AT&T I’m eligible to upgrade with full discount in November.  CSR’s and store salespeople are notorious for not knowing what the hell they’re talking about, and not just at AT&T.

  • Betavirus1025

    If you have ever had a late payment or paid an early termination fee you WON’T get the early upgrade offer. It is that simple. Just ask the right question and AT&T will give you the correct answers.

  • Carlos Novo

    Apple support rep told me today the 4S will not be unlocked. Only iPhone 4.

  • Petereriksson10

    True, but it’s been over a year. Plus they’ve been lying to me about getting Towers upgraded for months. Not to mention they lied to me last Spring when they were afraid I’d jump ship to Verizon and said that my 4 would take on 4G last summer when it rolled out in Chicago. This may have been foolish of me to believe but I don’t expect sales people to lie to me.  They are SHADEY. 

  • Christopher Turcotte

    If you wanted the 4s…you should’ve waited for the 4s. All these early upgrades contribute to massive lines on launch day. I’ve had my 3g since it launched I do not have many qualms about it other than the fact is that it’s slowing down to a snails pace for my liking. That is all though. I’m looking forward to getting a new upgrade. And btw….what is so difficult about understanding a 2 year contract?

  • mannyotr

    I’ve never done either.  In four years of owning all four iPhones.

    So it’s not quite that straight forward.

  • Douglas Stewart

    This isn’t true either.  I pay my bill late often and I’ve even had it turned off.  I’m still eligible for the upgrade.

  • dang

    get a life dork

  • mannyotr

    Does anyone know a number for Apple we can call to complain/ask about this?

  • dang

    you want a medal?

  • Thomas McKelvey

    i just checked my eligibility using Apple’s service with ATT and i can get my 4s upgrade asap. not sure what his post even means

  • BlazingFrog

    iPhone 4 Pre-order customer here and showing higher pricing. However, I had my phone replaced 4 months ago under the warranty. That might be it.

  • dang

    you care that much u have to tell “everyone” you have the new one? wow your a waste of life

  • FriarNurgle

    Like some have stated, it could be based off your plan. Do you have a very pricey plan?

  • beewhy

    get lost punk

  • Madness008

    What makes you think they should have to subsidize every phone you buy? Moron. $199 is a discounted rate for a two year contract. Should apple wait until every two year contract is up? Or should you just wait until your is up? Just admit you are bashing apple for the sake of bashing apple.

  • Phil

    Abuse? Really? 24 hours ago, the internet was complaining that the 4S isn’t a worthy upgrade after 16 months of the 4. Now it’s abuse that you can’t get one. It’s a phone. Relax.

  • Petereriksson10

    Blaming Apple is just lame. That’s the part that annoys me.

  • keith

    Same exact thing I was told. I was polite, didn’t name drop Verizon, and my ETF is $175. Looks like I’ll be changing networks and not only getting a new phone, but better service through Verizon. I will miss talking and surfing for directions at the same time but at least my call won’t drop.

  • FriarNurgle

    Yes, I care that much about being silly and sarcastic.

  • Boohoo

    Seriously, in the end it’s just a phone. Things people do just to have the latest and greatest. Oh AT&T won’t let me upgrade boohoo. I’m canceling and going to Verizon. Boohoo

  • ILOVE LIVING IN JERSEY

    If you really want it keep checking your eligibility. I called AT&T yesterday to see if they would move up my date, it was/is November 17. I had no problem waiting but I figured it didn’t hurt to ask. The rep said the earliest it could be moved up to was November 1. I said fine I will take that, then the rep tells me I have to call on October 14 and start some ICU case. So at that point I said thank you and decided to wait. I just checked, I am eligible today to get the lower pricing. Makes no sense, but I will be pre-ordering on friday.

  • MacHead

    Doubt itll be long til your posting that POS on ebay too so you can buy an iPhone seeing as how Android blows

  • MacHead

    Damn they should give you an iPhone 4S your so amazing with your two phones!!! You basically keep Apple and Att afloat all by yourself! WTF are they thinking!

  • Byebyebaby

    This is no fault on AT&T. You purchased your phone and signed a contract,why should AT&T move your dates up just so you can get a new phone.

  • Paul Burt

    There’s no screwing going on here at all. Just a revival of the standard phone upgrade practice. Everyone has to wait 20 or so months when they sign a two-year contract before they can get the upgrade pricing again. Just because you buy a particular brand of phone every time they release a new one doesn’t mean that they owe you ANYTHING! And just because it’s Apple doesn’t make it any different. They chose to give their customers a gift the past few years and now you’re whining cause they decided to not give it to you this year. Boo hoo, cry me a river. Be content that you still have one of the best smartphones on the market.

    Meanwhile, Verizon moved my upgrade date up from Feb 2012 to August 2011. I haven’t done anything to my account but pay it on time. I’ve been waiting for this next-gen iPhone and now I can finally ditch my crappy Incredible :)

  • BlazingFrog

    Check again. Just talked to two different Apple representative and the iPhone 4S wil NOT be available unlocked. Only the iPhone 4 and 3Gs.

  • Dontbeadouche

    “What makes you think they should have to subsidize every phone you buy?”

     - How about past experience?  The last 4 loyal years over which AT&T has set this precedent of giving early upgrades to this who have bought the new iPhones the day they were released.

  • MacHead

    No one forced you to buy an iPhone 4. You were freely able to hold onto your 3GS for two years and upgrade to the 4S no one forces you to buy a new phone every year. Thats your choice, as a consumer you its up to you to make informed decisions. I bet your out protesting wallstreet too for making a profit! EVIL CORPORATIONS!!

  • Ed_Kel

    Bought my i4 August 2010; eligible for the upgrade price on the 7th with a 2 year commitment. Not sure where this fact can be added to this stupid article. “Oh my gosh, I bought my i4 the day it was available and now Apple won’t give me a break on the 4S”.

    Call your Congressman. 

  • Agree

    I think so. If AT&T wanted to they could make people upgrade in 2012. I got my iPhone 4 on release day and still able to get iPhone 4s at 199. No problem

  • Bill8993

    He’s a moron. Carriers have to recover subsidies. Period. The general rule as 2 years. Now apparently can upgrade without early cancel penalty after 17 months. Sounds good to me.

  • Agree

    Well said

  • mannyotr

    Really?  That’s what you come up with? Wow, you are a clever one.

  • Dking1a

    It depends on how much you spend on a monthky basis. My bill (with 5 phones) is over $200 per month. My iPhone 4 is the primary phone on the account. I am eligible for upgrade pricing ($199 for 16gb).

  • Wayde T Gilliam

    Yup.  My story has been similar.  I use AT&T for just about everything (internet, tv, landline, wireless- 2 iPhones) … giving them a lot of my business and money.  Been upgrading every year since the iPhone 3, but told this year I’m ineligible whereas one of my buddies is and he only uses AT&T for wireless with a single iPhone.
    Here is my rant on my FB page:So … tonight I call customer service to ask them why I can’t upgrade to the 4S when others who got their 4 and updated their contract on the very same day I did can. This is what they told me:* That there are over 150 different criteria AT&T factors into determining who can upgrade and when. They also said that any billing changes could effect upgradeability … including adding more services or combining your bill!* When asked why I’m not eligible to upgrade they said they couldn’t tell me … as in they have no clue. The customer rep and her manager I talked too said they have been told to simply refer folks to the mysterious 150 factors that determine eligibility and say that “the system” make the decision. He also says that AT&T can’t change anything for contractual issues with Apple (e.g., it’s Apple’s fault we won’t let you upgrade … uh yah right). * Only change I made was to combine billing and give AT&T more of my business/money. I asked why I’m getting dinged for that?* Customer Service said I wasn’t getting dinged … said that maybe it was a good thing because, and I quote, “the iPhone 5 is going to be coming out in the next few months and those who upgrade to the 4S will be disqualified from upgrading to the 5 when it does.”* I ask, “How do you know anything about the iPhone 5 … whether it even exists or when it will come out?”* Customer Service guy tells me he didn’t say it was coming out in 2 months (I never said anything about 2 months btw) … said it might be 6 mos. … but reiterated those upgrading to 4S wouldn’t qualify for an upgrade WHEN it happens.* I tell him that if he is right, the number of complaints they are getting like mine (and they are coming in) will not compare to the number of irate calls they get from customers duped into buying the 4S with the inside knowledge that the iPhone 5 is right around the corner.* I tell him I realize he doesn’t make the decisions but that I’m going to end all business from AT&T … that is discontinue all services and advise my family and friends considering AT&T for their wireless service to look elsewhere. * Customer Service rep tells me to at least think about transferring my wireless so I don’t pay an early termination fee.* I tell him that having to spend $200 to be rid of customer service like this is a small price to pay for not having to deal with this kind of nonsense from AT&T ever again … I don’t even need to think twice about the decision. I haven’t been happy with AT&T customer service with UVerse and this just confirmed my decision to terminate all relations with AT&T.So that it. AT&T … you just got DTM’d.

    MY PLAN: 1.  Dumping all AT&T services (bye bye UVerse, AT&T landline, AT&T wireless)2.  Eating the ETF and going to Verizon or Sprint.  3.  Had three family members planning on moving to AT&T for an iPhone4S … that is no longer happening.  Can’t say my experience with UVerse or AT&T customer service has been all that great to begin with … but this nonsense against someone like me throwing as much money as I am at them along with expectations set with previous years upgradeability feels like a shot to the nuts.  No more.

  • Teyblyy

    Agree 100% I know when I buy my iPhone I have to keep it for 2 years. What is so hard to figure out about that?

  • Daniel Harris

    I’m confused as to why the author is shocked or up in arms about this. The whole article smacks fo the rantings of a spoiled child. It’s standard practice that cell phone companies will subsidize 1 phone every two years. If it hasn’t been 2 years then obviously you aren’t eligible yet. I have the iPhone 4 and am eligible Dec. 30. So if I want one for cheap I just have to wait a few months. I’ll probably just skip the 4S though and hold out for the 5.

    Oh and the CSR blaming Apple obviously doesn’t know what they are talking about. ATT is the one that subsidizes the phones, so clearly they would be the ones who decide how often they are willing to do that.

  • OhBlahDeeBlahDah

    You signed a binding, two-year CONTRACT, and, now, you expect an early out? You are whining, irresponsible, and unreliable.

    If people wanted out of contract that YOU had with them, you would be furious. However, if you were getting a premium payment from them to cancel early, you would be gracious and accept the additional money.

    You’re NOT loyal, you’re just spoiled!

    Get over it.

  • David

    Why? Very simple: because “the customer is king” – or should be. AT&T will be nothing without customers money and any company enough stupid to don’t remember this deserves that his customer moves to the competitor if they don’t want to do any gift to loyal customers. Is this so difficult to understand?

  • Ed_Kel

    You sound like an idiot in your rant. AT&T is telling you that they have a lot of criteria to look at but what you simply don’t get is that your multiple services and bundling is already saving you a ton of money. AT&T lets you bundle service for X dollars off and have paperless billing for Y dollars off, Comcast equivalent of triple play, etc. But it isn’t good enough for you is it? You want the latest and greatest Apple product and you won’t let anyone get in your way. Now, just because AT&T is practicing a business model that was set in place long before you came around, you pitch a hissy fit. AT&T allocates $X amount of discount throughout the year and if you reach that cap, then no early upgrade eligibility for you.

    Your buddy, like me, got an early upgrade because we don’t have enough service through AT&T to benefit from as much discounts as I’m sure you have already received, hence the reason why we can upgrade and you can’t.

    Be thankful for discounts AT&T HAS given you and get over it.

  • mannyotr

    Seriously, are you people retarded?  Do you not understand the simple point we are trying to make here?  I’ll try again for you morons out there….

    In July 2007, we bought the first iPhone.
    In July 2008 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 3G.
    In June 2009 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS.
    In June 2010 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 4.

    October 2011 (15 months later) we are NOT allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.

    So you see, Apple and AT&T had rewarded us loyal customers by letting us upgrade every time a new phone come out. For four straight years they did this.   But for some reason, they are not letting us now.

    Was that simple enough?

  • Guest

    These people complaining about no early upgrade eligibility probably play the lottery and expect to win.

  • Cindon83

    NOT TRUE CULT OF MAC…where do you get your information? I bought my iPhone just over a year ago and when I logged in to the Apple site to check my availability it said 199.00 for the 16 299.00 for the 32 and 399.00 for the 64 gig…check out the information before making a story…use journalistic integrity

  • mannyotr

    This is why he, along with many more of us, are shocked….

    In July 2007, we bought the first iPhone.In July 2008 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 3G.In June 2009 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS.In June 2010 (just 12 months later) we were allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 4.October 2011 (15 months later) we are NOT allowed to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.So you see, Apple and AT&T had rewarded us loyal customers by letting us upgrade every time a new phone come out. For four straight years they did this.   But for some reason, they are not letting us now.Undertsand?

  • mannyotr

    They have checked out their information.  if you read the comments you will see that the same thing applies to a lot of us.

  • cliqsquad

    Really? I talked to a guy name Dan at my local store and told me yes,
    but then put me on hold to confirm it and came and told me that because
    it was a one model world phone it would be unlocked. I will try a couple
    of other stores because I miss my iPhone. If I am going to have to pay close to full retail to renew with AT&T, I rather just pay for it out right but I want it unlocked because it’s a far trade off. They are more expensive in Canada normally otherwise I would just go get unlocked up there. 

    Thanks for the tip, figured it was to good to be true.

  • David

    If this is true it may be because of Chinese “grey market”. Apple might want to avoid that dozens of thousands of unlocked U.S iPhones be sold in China before it will be released there.

  • Jejagua

    My situation is similar.  My bill is almost $300 (four iPhones, three of them iPhone 4′s, one flip-phone).  All three iPhone 4′s are eligible for upgrade pricing.  

  • Emmafair1

    I don’t think that really holds true. I have two phones and spend over $200 per month and I don’t qualify for upgrade pricing for another month. I bought the iPhone 4 on launch day. It seems that there is more to it than that.

  • Bernardo Siqueira

    damn!

  • Bob Whipple

    I don’t think AT&T can stick to this position. Early upgrade eligibility has been a good deal for customers, but it has also been good for ATT&T because it kept the customer locked in. If they require that the full contract run out before upgrade, a high percentage of their customers will shop Sprint and Verizon for the best deal….. especially since they will still be pissed at AT&T.

    I predict that they will soon allow upgrades as a matter of self preservation.

  • gnomehole

    I want a new iPhone as much as anyone else, but what I don’t understand is where people get off assuming AT&T will simply change the rules so you can avoid an early penalty fee.   Because they did it before once?    Huh?

    From my understanding I got $20 off each month I was on contract, which leaves me with about $250 or so right now.   Everyone else who bought the iPhone 4 day one should be in the same boat. 

    To me, November is early… I should have to wait through my second year before getting it without a penalty.     I was thinking November was a gift.

    I don’t see how you can blame Apple or AT&T for this.

    I’d only be mad if I signed up for my iPHone 4 and it said “when we announce the newest model in just over a year, feel free to upgrade without penalty”… I’m quite certain there was no such verbage.

    Apple is in this to make $ and so is AT&T. Giving everyone discounted iPhones once a year is not a good business model for anyone… as much as I’d LOVE it if they did.

    P.S. sell your iPhone on eBay and pay off the difference… a couple hundred $ a year for a new iPhone is peanuts compared to its worth.

  • Daniel Corver

    Agreed!

  • Paul

    I have the iPhone 4 from ATT

  • wayzom

    AT£Ts loyalty rules have been based on how much you spend over the past year. They may have changed the thresholds, I am eligible for upgrades on two phones that are just over a year old. Maybe your not spending enough to warrant the attention.

    The CSR simply lied to you, Apples price to AT&T has likely not changed at all. AT&T’s price to you is between you and AT&T.

    P.S. Never sign a contract expecting the other party to just let you out later.

    P.P.S. Your contract is with AT&T, ot Apple.

  • Designedoutsidethebox

    I became a customer just before 3GS, I bought the 4 last yr a few weeks after launch, I am eligible, however my b/f who got his a few months later in Dec is not eligible for another year… First time customers wanting to buy the 4S as their second iPhone purchase are gettin screwed, anyone a customer longer than that is eligible… That seems to be the facts…

  • wayzom

    That is because AT&t stabilized and in some cases lowered services fees, but continued to raise the spending threshold for loyalty upgrades. Nothing shocking here. Any reasonable AT&T CSR can explain your entire contract history to you including precisely what triggered early eligibility.

    If COM got some answer about it being Apple’s fault, they should report the “CSR” to At&T.

  • srblanco

    Yes. VERY simple. Problem is this: everyone of those times AT&T wasn’t required to do the upgrade, but did. Now that they are enforcing agreements we’ve all signed, people are complaining. Just because something new comes out doesn’t mean we have to get it…and just because we’ve gotten them at a discount in the past doesn’t mean we’ll always get them at a discount (prior to when the contract is up) in the future!

  • srblanco

    Yes. VERY simple. Problem is this: everyone of those times AT&T wasn’t required to do the upgrade, but did. Now that they are enforcing agreements we’ve all signed, people are complaining. Just because something new comes out doesn’t mean we have to get it…and just because we’ve gotten them at a discount in the past doesn’t mean we’ll always get them at a discount (prior to when the contract is up) in the future!

  • wayzom

    Your right. He is spending less on his mobile service than his buddy. Top criteria for early upgrade is mobile spend.

    These CSR experiences are weird. First person I talked to explained every relevant criteria and how it impacted my eligibility. Why different phones on the same account did not always line up, etc.

    Guess I hit the CSR lottery.

  • teknrd

    The Apple tool gives me the Nov 25th date and I upgraded on the launch date for the 4. So I went directly to AT&T’s site to check there. Upon logging into my account it asks if I’d like to check my upgrade eligibility (nothing to do with iPhone). I say yes and it tells me I can’t get a discounted upgrade on ANY phone until Nov 25th. So the CSR was making it up. Surprise

  • wayzom

    Your right. The early upgrade essentially boiled down to “have we recovered our subsidy”. They take total spending into account and spending on specific services.

    I also think spending on grandfathered unlimited data is starting to get a reduced vale, but based on watching how things have changed on our account with aspect to upgrades, I think it is true.

  • wayzom

    Should have asked them why they were being so generous so you could learn how to keep up…

    Do you think everyone who ever did you a favor now owes you more favors?

  • Designedoutsidethebox

    For all those saying “a 2 yr contract is a 2 yr contract” and “AT&T doesn’t owe us anything” you’re right, they don’t, but the bottom line is if they gave a new 2 yr contract instead of holding us to our 1 year left & the option of leaving or paying ETF & leaving, they could have us locked into ANOTHER 2 YEARS… Pass go, collect $200… Duh

  • Wayde T Gilliam

    If anything sounds idiotic here Ed it’s your reasoning.  

    I give more of my business and money to AT&T than you and it makes sense that you are eligible for an upgrade whereas I am not?  On what planet does this make sense?  You sound about as reasonable as the AT&T rep I talked to last night telling me how it was a good thing I can’t upgrade so I can snag that nifty iPhone 5 in a few months that doesn’t exist.  I dunno Ed, color me crazy, but I think giving AT&T much more money than some cat like you would actually merit preferential treatment.  Idiotic huh?  Give more business and money and get treated like some Joe who hasn’t made a house payment in 2 years is so much more sensible

    Also, with AT&T allowing me to upgrade consistently over the last THREE years … I would think that is setting up some kind of expectation, no?

    With your nonsensical apologetic for AT&T, insider knowledge on all the great “discounts” I’m getting, and your BS about me hitting some mythical “discount cap” … I’d dare say a job as an AT&T Customer Service rep isn’t too far off in your future.

  • wayzom

    If they thought you were king, they would not feel the need for a contract. There are a lot of customers that are expensive and not worth keeping around.

  • Bob

    I got the iPhone 4 at launch and I’m eligible for the fully subsidized price for the 4S.

  • Colin D’Angelo

    Purchased the iPhone 3GS 9 Months before the iPhone4.  Got a partial upgrade for the iPhone4 on release day; ($350 and not $299).  I am eligible for the iPhone 4S with full upgrade pricing ($199 for 16GB).
     
    I don’t think it is timing and the whole two year contract thing, it believe that it has more to do with what they have made off of you.  My bill is $120 per month and has been for 16 months.
     

  • Cs1500

    Apple clearly does not want everyone to upgrade all at once.  They want you on a two year cycle upgrade so they form their price models accordingly.  They want 3GS users to upgrade to the 4S and they want 4 users to upgrade to the 5….next summer probably

  • imajoebob

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Fool me three times, take me out back and thrash me.  I’m too stupid to bother with.

  • Ronwp54

    I bought the iPhone 4 when it first came out. I have two iPhones on my AT&T contract. The check upgrade option on Apple’s site gives me the discounted price.

  • DavidWMartin

    gg

  • blog correction nazis

    I take it I’ll be all set. I own a 3G. Wasn’t eligible for upgrade 3GS. Didn’t have the funds for iPhone 4. Have been waiting patiently since June for the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, they didn’t release iPhone 5. Looks like I’ll be purchasing the new iPhone 4S then be screwed over again when they launch iPhone 5 sometime next year. Damn Apple!

  • Ed_Kel

    Ignorance is at all time high for you isn’t it? You can lie to me all you want but you can’t lie to yourself. AT&T didn’t give you an upgrade; one must ask who is more right?

    I don’t have insider information, nor does a CS job look likely in my future given my current success. Discount caps are real and obviously you are experiencing one. Common logic Wayde.

    I read contracts before I sign them; obvious that you don’t. The algorithim used is simple. Apply for discounts and you will more than likely get them, but at some point AT&T must cut you off. Too bad.

    And again, back to ignorance. You upgrade consistently for 3 years and now EXPECT one? AT&T doesn’t owe you shit! You give them money; they provide service, the relationship stops there. Stop acting like a little boy that was just told by your parents that you can’t have that video game you want so bad and GROW UP!

    I’m not apologetic for AT&T though I am siding with them on this. AT&T is a great cell company and you obviously once believed that too given all your AT&T services. Now you’re bashing the company JUST BECAUSE you can’t get your way?! Insane.

  • scxfan

    When you buy a phone on contract, it’s TWO FREAKING years.

    What hard to understand with this concept?

    Is it specified that you get special pricing for an upgrade before that time?

    I know that they may let you upgrade a couple of months early at the new contract pricing.

  • andys4osu

    Bought the iPhone 4 July 2010. I have 2 phones on a family plan. My iPhone is eligible for an upgrade already. My wife’s iPhone was purchased inAugust 2010 and her phone is not eligible for upgrade. Not sure how the process works for upgrade eligibility.

  • Crossphire Dev

    ROFL.  I agree with you but then again I am that got my iPhone4 on launch day and am eligible for the discounted pricing.  

    Either way though people need to realize that they did sign a 2 year contract and any time that AT&T allows them a a discount before the 24 months is up, they should be happy.

  • scxfan

    Why do I think if the author got into some business offer with someone and the person was required to provide service for two years, he would make sure they did just that. Would he let the person walk after a year or 18 months.

    I highly doubt it.

  • Ed_Kel

    Exactly. And like you vaguely point out, sometimes it all depends on who you talk to.

  • Bobarian

    I have an iPhone 4 that is eligible for upgrade and my son’s flip phone that is not eligible.  No iPhone for him!

  • Sandman619

    Pricing & eligibility requirements are ultimately the carrier’s decision. Sorry but a customer service rep is not the person to make that pronouncement. Carriers factor in the subsidy that’s paid to the handset maker. For premium priced phones, it makes no sense to offer an early upgrade because the have to recoup their payment to the handset maker on the current phone plus the new phone. So rather than cancel the current contract & issue a new 2-year, they would have to complete the majority of the first 2-years & then commit you to another full 2 years. So, wait 45 days, then upgrade. Not such an awful experience

    Cheers !

  • Willy Pimentel

    this measures are counter productive to the buyers

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    The average selling price for the iPhones has gone up also.  The newer phones cost more to produce and the subsidy is higher than two years ago models…

  • SFStaggie

    No “Loyal Customer” is getting “Screwed”. Period.
    When you bought the phone, you signed a contract. It CLEARLY stated when you would be eligible to upgrade. Because you only paid a fraction of the hardware cost (and your carrier paid te rest) you get to keep that phone for a while.
    When the iPhone4 came out, AT&T–at it’s discretion–allowed users to upgrade early. This did not and does not mean that you are entitled to an early upgrade every time a new model is released.

  • Gardiner

    I might sign up for another number so I can get a 4S, then return it before 30 days. By that time I will be eligible for a upgrade.

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    I have the same exact situation.  The fee for early upgrade is $250, but the early termination fee is only $175.  I want to see what Sprint is offering for their plans, but looks like I may be leaving AT&T and selling my existing iPhone 4 online.

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    I think maybe ATT was able to recover the subsidy easy on the earlier models.  This phone is more expensive to produce and has a higher average selling price to the carriers.  I’ve heard it is about $800, whereas the first iPhone could be purchased around $550.

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    Did you use the existing Siri app much?  It doesn’t read text messages, set reminders, access calendar, use wolfram alpha or wikipedia, …  I think the amazing thing is that they called the new assistant Siri, not that they are retiring the old version that just searched the web.

  • KevinC

    Option 1: Stomp feet, whine, write blog post expressing hurt feelings.
    Option 2: Stop crying, wait 6 weeks, and get the full discount.  

  • mannyotr

    Not true.  Read the comments.

  • Edward Anastas

    We all knew this going into it when we bought our iPhone 4′s. If you are surprised, then you didn’t pay attention.

  • Danielmargrave

    I just checked mine and I’m eligible for upgrade pricing on Friday.

  • mannyotr

    Once?  No, they have done it for four years in a row.  Read the comments.

  • mannyotr

    Correction.  The did it when the iPhone 3G came out, when the iPhone 3GS came out, and when the iPhone 4 came out.  Three years in a row they have followed the practice of allowing early adopters to upgrade.

  • curtis jackson

    First of all, AT&T should have one year contracts as well as other cell-phone carriers, it should be GOVERNMENT REGULATED. The government should step in and do something, instead of stand around. Secondly, AT&T should not offer some people upgrades and others not. Example a friend of mines in DC, can upgrade, and I cannot (i live in NYC, and pay higher taxes WTF). If AT&T wants to switch eligibility dates they can, they told me this when I called “SIR, WE CAN OFFER YOU AN UPGRADE TO ANY PHONE EXCEPT THE IPHONE, APPLE WON’T LET US”. Really so APPLE TOOK OVER AT&T, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT, THANKS FOR TELLING ME. PURE BULLSHIT. THey know they can get more money out of you, and will. 
    So my only question is this? If I buy the phone FULL PRICE and activate, then my plan won’t change, or shouldn’t and I can leave at&t next JUNE (AWESOME)! I don’t care if they subsidize me or not! THE JAILBREAK COMMUNITY (muscle nerd & team) will come up with an UNLOCK, so I don’t need their favors, and I should be able to use with any carrier. 

  • mannyotr

    Would this work? Could you switch the SIM card form the iPHone 4 to the 4S and use that until you return it?

  • curtis jackson

    WRONG! Apple doesn’t dictate this! AT&T does. They can change your eligibility date anytime. Some 4 users can upgrade and some cannot. I’ve been fighting this battle with AT&T the last three months, so i know.

  • snookasnoo

    Another in a long line of idiotic COM articles.  Apple gets what Apple gets.  They don’t tell the carriers how to subsidize phones.  The carrier pays Apples prices and they decide how they sell to customers.

  • Guest

    AT&T told me that they would “override” my Nov. 25th eligibility date on the day I call to order my 4S, since it’s so close.
    I’ve bought each iPhone on”iDay” but pay the bare minimum monthly payment.

  • mannyotr

    No, we didn’t.  Read the comments and learn.

  • Heathlmitchell

    I just got off the phone with AT&T and not only were they rude but they definetly put the blame squarely on Apple’s shoulders. They told me that they could upgrade me to any other phone except the iPhone due to Their contract with Apple. I argued for 45 minutes but I will have to wait till Nov. 18 before I can get my new iPhone 4s.

  • dbwie

    Cry me a river, iPhone 4 owners.  Geez.  You have to wait until November or December, 1-2 more months, for a fully subsidized price.  You have a great phone in your possession right now.

  • OC_Horse

    You do understand the meaning of a ‘two year contract’, right? If you signed one, and they choose to let you upgrade before it is over, then good for them, but that is their choice. It is not a requirement.

    If you did not understand this going into the contract, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

    You can avoid all of this by not signing a two-year contract! What? That costs more? Yes, it does, in the short term.

  • Mailer King

    Are you kidding?? Or are you that stupid?  Government regulation?  That is the last thing we need. 

    With the GVOT involved, we’d be lucky to have the Moto Razr available.

    Stop your complaining and sense of entitlement.  Pay the full price to wait.  You have nothing to do with the development of the product and are not entitled to any discount.

    I’m in the same boat as you are.  SO WHAT!!!

  • ORLtragic

    I bought the iPhone 4 on launch day and its saying that I’m eligible to upgrade for $199/$299/$399

  • A Dagostino

    On the one hand I’m a little pissed that I got a verizon iPhone this year only to see another one, but you have to be an idiot to think you’re getting ripped off. Apple releases a new phone just about every year get over it. This isn’t anything new.

  • Mark Bradley

    Well this is odd because I bought the iPhone 4 last year and according to AT&T I am available for an early upgrade. I was also able to upgrade from the 3G to the 3GS without any trouble. All I have to pay in order to upgrade is an early upgrade fee of $18 plus the $199 for the phone.

  • A Dagostino

    Apple releases a new Phone every year. You can’t be that ignorant.

  • djrobsd

    Stop being such cry babies.  For once, why don’t you just enjoy the phone you’ve got until it needs to be replaced rather then jerking off to Apple porn every year and replacing your perfectly good iPhone.  People are so spoiled these days.  

  • djrobsd

    waa

  • djrobsd

    WAAAAAAAAA

  • djrobsd

    WAAAAA

  • djrobsd

    wow seriously… just wait, 6 weeks get a life

  • djrobsd

    waaa

  • MarioWario

    Useless whining – why don’t you buy a phone like a computer – it’s kind of stupid to change telcos/contracts just for a phone (I think the service matters).

    I am sure it’s less a problem to spend € 640 for a phone than to extent a contract (€ 50 each month) plus paying any kind of early termination fee ($ 350 ?) – I pay € 10 per month for data traffic and can cancel my contract anytime (month by month I got the choice) so I can effort even a € 840 iPhone (just saving a lot money by not having ludicrous contracts…).

  • djrobsd

    Good, I think that they do reward customers who spend more money which makes sense, given the fact that it takes them several months to recover the cost of subsidizing your new phone.  I got 3GS in 12-2009 and was able to get the 4 in 6-2010.  Not sure about the 4S, I’m perfectly happy with my 4 don’t feel the need to shell another $360 with tax for 32 gig.  

  • baleara

    Upgrade eligibility comes around every 2 years.  That’s how it works.  I got my iPhone 4 in December, so I’ll have to wait until December to get a phone with any sort of subsidizing at all. It’s what you sign up for when you decide to buy a phone.

    Why do so many people feel they are entitled to bend the very clear rules just because a new phone came out?

  • Daltron

    You pay more tax? Boohoo! You’re the idiot calling for bigger government and then complaining when it costs you more. Wake up to socialism!

  • Daltron

    So Apple says I can upgrade… AT&T says I can’t. I’ll just order from Apple.

  • Deputy Robert

    Someone get Heath a hanky! Stat! (Or until November 18th, whichever comes first).

  • TeeJay1100

    Wow, no phone is worth that much! I’m sorry. APple is milking the mess out of their own base!

  • Deputy Robert

    Only to do it all over again when the alleged iPhone 5 comes out? Puh-leeze, people. You act as if these phones are bags of rice being dropped from helicopters over famine-stricken lands afar.

  • Ryanislucky

    Because apple has bent the rules twice for upgrading iPhone owners in the past.

  • Howie Isaacks

    I got my iPhone 4 the day before the release date, and I qualify for the subsidized pricing.  I’m not sure why it’s different for me, but Apple’s website says that I qualify for subsidized pricing.

  • Howie Isaacks

    I got my iPhone 4 the day before the release date, and I qualify for the subsidized pricing.  I’m not sure why it’s different for me, but Apple’s website says that I qualify for subsidized pricing.

  • Maxkas777

    What is wrong with you people (commenters)!!! Stop fucking tell the author that he’s just whining and shouldn’t be such a baby! You are whining just as much.

    The whole point to early upgrades if you got the iPhone last day on launch day is for people who pay large cell bills. If you pay a low end one then Att isn’t going to let you upgrade early this year. I completely agree with the post that if Att has offered early upgrades for the last 3 years for the iPhone then they should do it this year.

    That’s half the fun of owning an iPhone, getting to wait in line for new products when they come out.
    This is why gizmodo regulates their comments now, because u guys are just an endless line of trolls. And I can’t tell someone to get a life because they are upset that Att is fucking them over from a fun yearly tradition. You guys are super tuff behind your computer screens. Way to go.

  • Goph07

    I would imagine all those posts below by people saying a two year contract is a two year contract either have a 4 and got the upgrade, don’t even own an iPhone, or aren’t smart enough to realize the iPhone is really much,much more than a phone.

    Yes. A two year contract IS a two year contract. AT&T, however, set a precedent for allowing customers to upgrade early – multiple times – and therefore set the expectation. It’s called a precedent folks. If they didn’t want to do it this time, fine. Just tell everyone upfront and don’t blindside them and/or create confusion by letting some who purchased on the same date, but not others without the rationale to reach that conclusion.

    The blogs were filled for weeks and weeks with all kinds of “rumors” about the features on the new phone. If AT&T doesn’t want to officially do it, then leak it for pete’s sake. Word will get out and there’ll be no surprises.

  • Muenzenhamster

    Apple didn’t bend any rules, AT&T did. Furthermore, early upgrade pricing was at a premium above the upgrade pricing. The numbers quoted in the article ARE subsidized, and they are with an early upgrade. The last paragraph shows the full price. CSRs at AT&T don’t often last more than 3 months before quitting (I’m familiar with this since I stuck it out 1.5 years, and daw THOUSANDS quit), and most of them are not above telling you that Apple dictates policy to get you to stop pestering them. There’s nothing they can do. The programs are locked, CSRs cannot change your upgrade date, and adjusting your bill for iPhone results in immediate firing.

  • thetechbuzz

    I also bought the iPhone 4 on the day of launch last year and qualify. Actually my wife’s line qualifies as well. http://yfrog.com/j2q42p

  • Trajen

    What’s full retail for the new 8GB iPhone 4?

  • CharliK

    the key is AT&T. They control the timetable, not Apple. 

    That said, seriously folks, you should be stuck at no upgrade until June 2012, you are getting like 7 months off that timeline. Stop the whining.

  • CharliK

    I think the only thing they should do is set a law that the so called ‘device payment’ part of your monthly fee is a separate line item and it should be 1/24th the contract term. The ETF should be whatever is left. Period. 
    And what you hit that 24th month, that line item is gone. Same if you pay full price. They didn’t pay any part of your device so you have nothing to pay back

  • CharliK

    You signed that you were agreeing to a 2 year contract. That’s what he means by ‘we all knew this going into it’. 

    Just because ATT changed the clock before doesn’t mean they would keep doing it. After all, we can’t start a new contract and get unlimited data now can we

  • CharliK

    yeah and they let you get unlimited data when the iPhone came out and the iPhone 3g and the iPhone 3gs. 

    so they should have let you get unlimited data when the iPhone 4 came out. but they didn’t. 

  • CharliK

    are you on separate contracts. how much are you each paying. 

    it is a factor in ATT’s math. Not to mention simply that he hasn’t had it for a year yet. rarely to never do they short you for less than a year between phones. 

  • CharliK

    Simple fact is that you signed agreeing to a two year contract. Deal with it. 

    As for the stuff about it being Apple’s fault, that’s BS. it’s not. He just wanted to shut you up. Same with saying the iPhone 5 is going to be coming out in the ‘next few months’. He knows nothing about it. 
    If you want to be mad at ATT for having CSRs that talk such BS fine. Be mad, leave even. 

    But being mad because you signed a contract you don’t want to fulfill, that’s on you

  • CharliK

    yeah. call ATT. it’s their decision

  • Chris Denney

    All depends on your monthly bill. I pay for two unlimited iPhone data plans, 1400 minutes, and unlimited messaging. I’m eligible for the $199 price and I already own the iPhone 4

  • Geof07

    No one is “whining”. There’s a legitimate beef with AT&T here – and Apple too to a certain extent for allowing this to go one year after year, release after release. AT&T I don’t believe has EVER held users to the full 24 month contract since the iPhone has been released. Every 12 months or so, Apple has been releasing a new iPhone beginning in 2007. Each release they add more really cool features, so of course anyone really into smart phones, especially the iPhone, is going to want the most up-to-date phone – just stands to reason. And along with every new release, AT&T has allowed users to renew their 2year contract early and I believe the time period has varied each release.

    If AT&T doesn’t want to do that this time around, perfectly fine. Hold us all to the two year contract then and tell us that’s your intent up front….right along with apple as the rumor mill leaks the upciming phone features, most all of which proved to be accurate. Don’t let us think we’ll get to early renew and then drop the bomb that that’s not happening this year two days bfpefore pre release sale and let us all know the criteria by which your deciding who can early renew and who can’t especially if purchase dates are the same.

    Yes, a contract is a contract, but good business practice is also good business practice. Both Apple and AT&T are respectable enough companies who, in my estimation, owe their customers a liitle better treatment than to play these stupid release games at the 11 th hour release after release. Be upfront. Be honest. Set the expectation and you won’t have all this “whining” all these, most likely non-iPhone users, are posting and moaning about below.

  • CharliK

    “Hold us all to the two year contract then and tell us that’s your intent up front”

    that is exactly what they told you when you signed your contract. You signed that you were okay with a two year contract, your expectation should have been two years. 

    And a week before it hardly the 11th hour. Pre-orders don’t start until tomorrow. 

    ANd yeah it is whining when you agreed to 2 years and they are going to let you off at 13 months but oh my gosh you have to wait a few weeks to go it. Hells bells that some schmuck that never had an iPhone will get to buy one before you. How dare they. Perhaps we should just demand that Apple delay the whole launch for six weeks so you can get your upgrade on launch day even if ATT won’t move your date up. 

  • CharliK

    Early upgrade as in $399 instead of $199. That’s nothing odd. That’s half a subsidy which fits with being halfway through your contract. 

  • CharliK

    So you knew that Apple releases a new phone every year and the Verizon iPhone wasn’t a new one but a rehash of the year before and you bought it anyway and now are pissed. 

    sorry but you set yourself up for that one

  • CharliK

    So what? So what if they bent the rules 10 years in a row. THey never said they would keep doing it year after year. Anymore than they said they would never drop unlimited data, or never throttle etc. 

    Fact is that ATT had a decent reason for keeping folks happy for those years and now they don’t need that reason. They have enough folks in their bank that even if they lose a few to Verizon etc, they should be okay. As is, more folks wait the full two years or at least 22 months of it than don’t. By a long margin. So really it is only the techno geeks that are making this a big deal. And half of them think the 4s sucks and are yelling they are getting a Droid anyway. So now maybe like 2% of users are whining that oh my gosh, ATT is making them stick to the contract they signed. 

  • CharliK

    Early upgrades cost ATT money so no it isn’t really good for ATT. 

    Also, sure some folks will run off but they will have to pay an ETF so at least a little money is recovered

  • CharliK

    interesting that if you look at the related articles, this same game seems to have happened every year. it’s always last minute for many folks. After the same “well yeah I signed a TWO year contract but I don’t want to wait another year. I am Veruca Salt and I WANT IT NOW” whining

    The only thing that is perhaps ‘screwing the customers’ is the whole no mid way pricing. And yes perhaps Apple did strongly suggest that, which puts ATT in the same rules as Verizon. But I would hold off on saying that it is a set fact that if you buy full price it isn’t unlocked. We haven’t heard that from Apple and it wouldn’t be the first time ATT got something like that wrong. They have staff giving out tech support advice left and right that is totally bogus and it seems like half the retail store staff has never even picked up an iphone

  • Daniel Corver

    I’m all for the so-called “whining” but not for any of your cherry-picking of the comments here just to support what you belief.  

    The crux of the matter is the precedent and expectations that AT&T has set over the past 3 years.

  • Cyrways

    same for me, they actually bumped my date up. It’s all based on how much money you spend each month with them and the primary line gets upgrade faster than others

  • MrMLK

    I’m really not sure what you are complaining about. You purchased a $600 phone for $300 a year ago. You got it for less because you agreed to pay for phone service on it for two years. The first years is up and you seem to be whining that Apple and/or ATT is holding you to the deal you originally made. Did you not understand how long two years are when you made the deal? Did you think that Apple was going to wait two years to release a new model so it was safe to make that deal? Did you perhaps make the deal in the mistaken belief that you wouldn’t have to hold up your end?If I am not misreading you, you seem to be saying that because you want a new phone for half price, someone is cheating you by not giving it to you. I want a new car and a stack of kugerands. Who should I complain to?

  • Tonya Holcombe Kelley

    According the the eligibility checker with AT&T, I am eligible for the $199/$299/$399 pricing. I’m happy.

  • Tonya Holcombe Kelley

    I got my iPhone 4 on release day. I did the eligibility check and I am eligible for subsidized pricing. Not sure why, but not everyone has to wait a full 2 years apparently. This will be my first renewal with AT&T, but in my experience, most cell phone companies sign you up with a 2 year contract but you’re eligible to upgrade after 18 months so long as you sign another 2 year contract. Of course, if you pay full price for the phone then no contract necessary.

  • Joshua Thomas Ryan Wallace

    I had mine replaced the first week. Who knows. 

  • 3000ryu

    Your best bet is just to buy the phone full price with no contract and use last year’s model to subsidize the new model. That way you don’t have to be on a contract and you get the latest and greatest.

  • Dmcnabb

    I just checked mine on the eligibility tool.  I’m eligible for the fully subsidized price, even though I ordered my 16GB iPhone 4 on June 24, 2010 and received it July 7th.  I’m the primary on the account.  The other numbers are not so fortunate, though.  They have to wait…

  • Mikel

    If memory serves me correct, AT&T was only offering the iPhone 4 to those whose contract ended last year. Which means if your contract ended in December 2010, you were eligible for an early upgrade. There was no special pricing for ALL 3GS customers. And if there is something specific saying that if wait just until November 25 until you get that special pricing. Why can’t you wait? I’m not exactly sure I can see the point in this article when you start out talking about one company blaming the other and end up asking why special pricing isn’t for everyone. You sound like an overgrown five year old.

  • Deckholm

    Buying a subsidized phone with a 2 year contract when the phone itself is updated and re-released every 12-16 months is a recipe for stories like this.  

  • Daniel Corver

    Memory has let you down.  I was eligible for an early upgrade last year in June, after only 1 year of my 2 year contract.  The same the year before that.  And the year before that.

    The point of the article is not that difficult to grasp.  Fair enough if you disagree with it.  But surely it’s not beyond you (and others saying the same thing as you) to understand what’s being articulated here without resorting to calling people whiners or spoiled children.  There’s no need to pretend otherwise in order to validate your disagreement.

  • Brendenyhead

    This story is dumb… the 18 month upgrade is pretty much standard for all carriers and phones.. why should AT&T and Apple be any different? If you think you are just going to die without the latest and greatest for a few months then you are going to have to pay for it.

  • Samuel Shallenberger

    I’m on a family plan and all 3 of our iPhones were bought in-store on June 24, 2010 and are now all eligible for $199 at the entry 16gb. Don’t know why everybody else is seeing, but I appear to be one of a few lucky ones.

  • watchdog

    The upgrade pricing has nothing to do with Apple.  Whether AT&T wants to offer subsidized pricing to its customers before they’ve paid off their previous subsidy is up to AT&T.  

    This same process has occurred on all four US carriers for more than ten years, and yet it seems like you don’t have any clue how this works. Get a clue before you write any more.

  • yozh

    Are you crazy ? They make that back in 2-3 months, there service doesnt cost them anything its there…. 4-5 months the most.

  • JJ Sereday

    I have had every single iPhone from the day they were each released. Each time there was a deal where you could take advantage of the subsidized upgrade prices by signing another two year agreement. Normally when you sign a cell phone contract it is for one or two years and cost of phone at purchase will depend on whether it was for one year (more expensive) or two years. When you sign a two year contract you are eligible for an upgrade between 18-22 months (depending on account status, bill pay, and feature changes). You can receive a lesser discount (early upgrade) between 11 and 18 months.That is the case with most cell phones… the iPhone has changes their game plan a little and has evolved over the years

    Quick breakdown.

    iPhone 1st Gen: Bought straight out – full price. Apple eventually offered a $100 gift card to early adopters because of complaints when the price dropped.

    iPhone 3G: Every iPhone customer was eligible for an upgrade because they paid for your original iPhone at full price.

    iPhone 3Gs: AT&T had a deal that you could upgrade early to receive the new 3Gs if you had an iPhone 3G and spent more than $100 a month on your bill. (if you had a family plan with 2 phones costing between $100 -200, only the primary would be eligible for the early iPhone upgrade)

    iPhone 4: If you had purchased an iPhone 3Gs within the first month of its release or where within 30 days of an upgrade you then were eligible for a complete upgrade.

    iPhone 4s: (This is where AT&T begins to abide by their old upgrade program) You are only eligible for an upgrade after 16-20 months (depending on account status, bill pay, and feature changes). So if you had purchased the iPhone 4 on the release date (like i had) you will have to wait until at least mid November to upgrade to the new iPhone. (it is November 15th me, many are saying November 25th.)

    All of this is to the best of my knowledge. I may not be 100% accurate, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong but hopefully it clears a few things up for others.

  • Robskii87

    I had the 1st gen iphone till Iphone 4

    i just check apple.com and apple is still give me Iphone 4s for only $199 (16gb) etc.

  • mannyotr

    He idiot, this is what AT&T is saying.  I called them twice and they told me the exact same thing.  That they don’t control the upgrade eligibility for the iPhone, Apple does.  Whether that is true or not, who knows.  But that is what AT&T customer reps are telling us.  Get a clue before you write any more.

  • mannyotr

    Hey dude, I would like to know if this worked out for you.  They told me the same thing on Wednesday, but when I called this morning and try to get it done, no go.

  • ATEspo

    I am HIGHLY disappointed with AT&T right now.  My current iPhone 4 has been malfunctioning for a few months now, and now my home button does not work.  Well my 1 year warranty is up on the phone, so Apple cannot help me by replacing it.  So I thought to myself, I will just upgrade to the 4s at the subsidized price instead of paying full retail for another iPHone 4 from the apple store.  Well looks like this year they are NOT allowing current iPhone owners to upgrade to the subsidized prices like in the past.  I just got into a huge argument with a supervisor with AT&T, he said they NEVER let anyone upgrade their iPhone inside of 18 months.  I was so irate while talking to him as I explained since the original iPhone, I’ve upgraded on release day EVERY year and only paid the subsidized prices, he kept saying there is no way, AT&T never lets anyone upgrade before 18 months.  Like I said, I was so irate because he would not listen to me or believe me, and I kept asking if its different this year and he said its always been this way. 

    I am more upset because i’ve put up with my broken iPhone 4 for the past few months waiting on the new iPhone and they want me to pay over $600 for the 32gb or wait till Feburary? Come on, we’ve been members with AT&T for 7 years, we pay over $500 a month on 4 lines and this is how we are treated?  And the CS reps are so arrogant, it really a shame.

  • imanerdiknow

    Apple will fix your phone, you’ll just need to pay for it. Stop complaining. Some people don’t even have the luxury of having an iPhone 4 and you’re moaning and groaning because you can’t get the 4S for a cheaper price?
    Go to Apple and have them look at your phone and you can get it fixed, it will just cost you some money.

  • JayJCee

    It seems to me that everybody has a different price, depending on mainly, your bill. I have the unlimited data plan and a low talk plan, so I am not qualifying for the $299 pricing even though I always have in the past. It’s telling me I need to wait until February of next year. Seems to me like another punishment for keeping my unlimited data plan; as if I had a tiered plan, it seems that I would qualify for the $299 pricing. All the bull I face with AT&T ALWAYS comes down to me still having the unlimited data plan. Whatever the case, it seems like something has changed this time around. I have always done it this way and now I can’t, while others can, that’s the bottom line.

  • ATEspo

    @181695e01c8d759e096f306a1eae3f26:disqus  I agree with your statement this is punishment for still having an unlimited plan.  A close friend of mine purchased his iP4 the same day I did (June 24, 2010), only difference is he was not able to get the unlimited data plan.  I called him earlier and told him to call AT&T and see what his price for the new iP4s would be, low and behold he is eligible for the subsidized prices for the iP4s.  He has only been with AT&T since June 24, 2010 and he is eligible for the $199, $299, $399 prices but I am not?  And i’ve been with AT&T since they were CDMA and pay over $500/month for our family plan!!!  
    Its cheaper for me to cancel my line on AT&T and move to Verizon/Sprint and purchase the phone.  $175 ETF + $299 on Vzw/Sprint = $474  VERSUS $549 price AT&T wants me to pay.

    Its a shame they treat their loyal customers this way.

  • irritated

    I just went through the exact same argument on the phone with AT&T, although, rather then being broken I had my IP4 stolen 4 months ago. I argued that it is ridiculous that they are willing to loose loyal customers to another company over a mere 2 months in question (he told me he was willing to upgrade the phone 2 months before the February date). we’ve had 2 iphones on our account since the release of the original and never once have I needed to call AT&T or go into one of their stores for help and service! Talk about an easy customer… all they have to do is collect my hundreds of dollars every month and never need to deal with me (and this is how they treat us!)

    after going in circles with the supervisor he was more then happy, if not pushing me, to be transferred over to their cancellation department (this after only mentioning 1 time that it would be cheaper to cancel my contract and go elsewhere)

    I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with the lack of care they have for customers who have been with them for long.

    I urge others to at least go through the motions and call in and voice your dislike to a manager. AT&T needs to know how ridiculous this scenario is. 

  • LCK

    Big deal, it’s only a month later

  • LCK

    You seriously can’t wait 6 weeks lol

  • Julien Deveraux

    Dear Cult of Mac, I love your site a lot, but its probably bad form to quote a Tier 1 customer service representative as a news source.  They typically are the last line of communication for most major piece of policy or news — as bad as that sounds its pretty much the norm @ most companies.

  • Julien Deveraux

    and not to piss on everyone’s parade but I’m fully aware that our upgrade date is determined first by our payment history and secondly by our revenue stream.  I got this tidbit of information from an Executive Customer relations person last year.  If we are spending the most money possible per month (Unlimited minutes + unlimited texts + either 2GB or unlimited data) and we’ve never been late on our bills = we will have fully discounted pricing for early upgrades.  Anyone else who doesn’t pay at least 120.00/month is stuck with 18 months; and anyone less than 85.00 (or who has ever had a billing issue) is stuck at the full 24.  
    THE REAL ISSUE HERE IS THIS:
    AT&T’s Management either didn’t decide IN TIME FOR THE PRE-ORDER DATE to honor early upgrades for their iPhone customers who were within 6 months of their discounted upgrade eligibility date (as they’ve done in years past) or they’ve simply decided they ain’t doing it this year for whatever reason.  Either way, it’s piss-poor customer service to suddenly STOP honoring previous niceties to your customers with no word ahead of time that this was the plan nor any ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that this it the way AT&T HAS BEEN DOING THIS in years past.  
    I’ve written a very nasty letter to them about this and a few other customer service concerns I have since being with them. Here’s to hoping they come to their senses before 10/14 when stock will most likely be drained.

  • OregonJeff

    Don’t be an a-hole.

    First, Yes, you can pay Apple to fix it, but why do that when there’s a newer model available for purchase that you’re likely to want to upgrade to anyway?  It’s irrelevant that others can’t or don’t have an iPhone 4.  That’s their own issue and completely separate from a loyal customer shelling out hundreds a month to AT&T to get screwed out of subsidized pricing the day of release.

    Second, your suggestion doesn’t at all help the gentleman who had is iPhone 4 stolen.

  • OregonJeff

    Don’t be foolish.  The term for upgrade eligibility is *not* tied to the length of the term of the contract.

  • jcmatthews

    I bought 2 iPhone 3GS’s in July of 2009 and upgraded to subsidized iPhone 4′s on day 2 in 2010. I checked my eligibility today and I am again qualified to upgrade at the 199/299/399 price points. I have 1400 minutes shared minutes and unlimited data on both phones. Never been late with a payment and this is not including my 10% corp discount through my employer. 

  • jcmatthews

    +1

  • Ashley

    1. all you folks on here saying stop whining, get a life, etc – how about you stop reading an article and the comments about something you obviously don’t give a shit about.

    2. I have had EVERY phone on launch day and have ALWAYS been eligible for the subsidized pricing. (the minimum, no fees etc, as long as I agreed to 2 more years of service) like stated before the refresh of the iPhone has NEVER been 2 years (generally 12 months) the problem people are having is that they are changing the game on us – seems like trying to trick us even. Most of us assumed they would follow the precedent they set for iPhone users, with an early upgrade ( yes I know we signed a contract for 2 years – but from what I have seen they just keep tacking on 2 more years each time, regardless of an early upgrade)

    3. I just “called” *639# to get my upgrade eligibility of this iPhone 4 and the message I received was “A full discount on a standard device or iPhone upgrade is not available at this time but you may qualify on 11/25/2011. We can offer you a discounted iPhone upgrade at 2-yr commitment pricing + $250 along with a new 2-yr commitment and an $18 upgrade fee. Please visit a participating iPhone sales location for pricing on this offer.” WTF does that even mean?? Can you be more confusing AT&T?? So either I pay full price, 449/549/649, or pay 199/299/399 + 250 + 18 upgrade fee, which actually equals out to paying 18 more for the same damn thing??

    Moral of the story is AT&T is trying to screw you one way or another! Assholes!!

  • Ashley

    And I forgot to mention that I purchased TWO phones on launch day, both under the same family plan, one is eligible for launch day and the other Nov 25th.

    To add insult to injury, the phone that isn’t eligible until Nov, is the one that has had every iteration of the phone.

    Explain that one!

  • Eric

    Umm, the full price for the iPhone 4s is 650, 750, and 850 depending on what size you get. And the reason they aren’t moving upgrades up is they realized that they are actually losing money by letting people upgrade every time a new phone launches whereas a vast majority will still buy it come their normal upgrade date.

  • Random dude

    It amazes me how many people claim to know what is going on and yet have no clue.
    First, att used to allow people to upgrade as early as every 12 months based on your monthly revenue and paying your bills on time. Back in January or February they had a policy change that is now pretty universal across the board which is only going to allow customers to upgrade every 18-20 months. Those customers who had an upgrade date already in the system that was “early” based on revenue would keep their earlier upgrade until it was used but anyone who upgraded after this policy change follows the new system rules.
    Second, att doesn’t even care about existing iPhone customers being moved up to upgrade each time a new one launches. The main reason for this is because they are actually losing money by subsidizing the cost of the phone to it’s 2nd pricing. Att doesn’t actually see any profit from selling the phone at a discount until the 14th month of a contract. Also, att has made it very clear to it’s sales reps that they should be pushing the 4g android devices because there is a higher profit margin. If you haven’t noticed, att has been getting it’s hands on some of the nicer androids since February (when they changed upgrade policy) including the fasted smartphone at the time, the Atrix. So for people to complain about “omg I can’t upgrade into the new iPhone, I hate att and apple and everything else” then congrats, this is exactly what they want.

  • Julien Deveraux

    and of course, they didnt.  I called in on Friday evening and they still hadn’t went ahead with the bump-ups. I got the rep to do an “over-ride” on my account so that i could early upgrade but it seems AT&T’s ordering system was already prepared for that and stopped her (forcing her to create a “case”) right before she could get my credit card information.  In the meantime, of course, they sold out–just as I expected them to do.  I’m beyond angry/frustrated with them at this point as this is EXACTLY the type of customer service I used to get from them YEARS ago when I had them (way before 3G mind you) where any excuse they could come up with to NOT honor their advertisements was pretty much the norm.  Nice to see nothing has changed in the years since @ good ‘ol Attitude Turmoil & Trauma.

  • JayJCee

    Wow. Seems as though the people who actually are getting the upgrade have the attitude. We’re complaining about the fact that this is how it has always been even after signing a two (2) (dos) year contract.

  • free__speech

    um…You signed a contract.  Did you bother to read what you agreed to in writing when you put your signature on it?  How can you complain about something you signed and agreed to?  I’m so sorry you now have to wait a couple months before you get your new phone.  I know it must be a huge problem.  Maybe you can start a protest movement over it.  I would just cry for 2 months and then buy the phone.

  • free__speech

    I can’t wait to hear the whining when they release the iPhone5 in a few months.   …shouldn’t you just wait and become a new Sprint customer.  …your about to be tied to AT&T for another 2 years.  You will have to pay a penalty to go to Sprint.

  • John

    Um… you don’t get it.  That’s ok, being bitchy and listening to others is a hard multi-task to pull off.  There’s no point re-explaining why people are upset, you clearly don’t care.

  • CharliK

    Precedent is NOT a promise to keep doing things the same way. Get over it.

  • CharliK

    Assuming they do. This move to release in October could be about something other than the rumored delays etc. It could be a firm move to a fall release of the iPhone for good

  • Daniel Corver

    We actually knew this ALREADY.
    But thanks for another post that side-steps the ACTUAL point.

  • eggs

    I have the unlimited plan, pay for unlimited data (old plan), unlimited text and 900 minutes a month and I qualified for an upgrade.  My fiance has unlimited data, text and only 450 minutes a month.  And he does not qualify until November. 

  • eggs

    It’s because you have the low talk plan.  My fiance has the same thing as you (450 minutes with unlimited data and text) and he doesn’t qualify either but I have 900 minutes plus unlimited data and text and I do qualify.

  • Petalas82

    What I think is funny is that my 2 friends can get the new iPhone 4s but I can’t. My one friend got his the same day I did when the 4 came out. My other buddy got his less then 12 months ago. But AT&T tells me they do not pick and chose. What a JOKE

  • CharliK

    You mean the actual point that although you know that you signed a contract for 2 years and it hasn’t been that long, and although you know that precedent isn’t a promise, YOU ARE STILL WHINING THAT YOU CAN’T GET AN UPGRADE ON LAUNCH DAY. 

    is that the point you are talking about. 

    it’s a phone. Pay the demanded price, wait or say screw it and go buy a damn droid. Whatever. But get over this whole ‘but but they have always done it’ because ATT really doesn’t care what you think. 

    And yes I said ATT because they are the ones in control of the pricing. 

  • Scott

    It depends on your rate plan. My friends who have the minimum plan are all having to worry about upgrade fees, but myself with my 900 minute plan… I’m free and clear with an upgrade every year since year one. But I also pay more every month for it.

  • free__speech

    A man using the word “bitchy” tells me everything I need to know.   Why did you NEED to buy an iphone4?  If it was so great, why do you need the iphone 4S so quickly then?  …just wait a month, the phone isn’t that much different.  …unless SIRI is going to be your only friend.

  • AdamAndrew

    It makes even less sense now for AT&T not to go ahead and give iPhone customers the lowest price right now.  Maybe just the ones who are only 3 months away from true eligibility.  There are more carriers now, so that should give AT&T the gusto to try and help their most committed iPhone customers happy…dumb dumb AT&T.

  • Kelsey Jenkins

    Ok, Here is a fix..it worked for me. Kind of dishonest, but here you go. Every year my wife and I order the iphone and get it on launch day. This year for whatever reason, my line is not eligibile for upgrade until February, while hers (The main line) is eligible for upgrade immediately. I spent about 2 hours each day last week from tuesday-thursday trying to get someone at At&t Customer service to change it.

    Well, then I got a bright idea. At&t says you can check your upgrade status by pushing *639# from your iphone then hitting call. As soon as you get a message that reads, “Thank you, your request is being processed. A message will be sent to your phone.” Take a screen shot, push the top power button and home button at the same time. This will save that photo to your camera roll. Then you’ll get a text from 108 (which is at&t). It’ll say your not eligibile for a full iphone upgrade at this time, however they can offer you one at either for retail or at $449.
    Type this message into the response to that
    As a valued customer, we can offer you an upgrade with a new 2-yr commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.

    You will get a response on another message saying invalid number. Delete that.

    So when you go to your text messages, you should have a message from 108 that says
    As a valued customer, we can offer you an upgrade with a new 2-yr commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.
    Next I would call customer service and explain the message. Offer to email them the message (I wouldnt email that one as it will show you sent it) I would do some photoshopping of the photo before you send it to them. Anyhow just see if they think if you go into an AT&T store to verify the message that they will give make your line eligible to upgrade at the $199 price.
    Next go to the At&t store, try and get someone young and cool to view and document the message on your At&t account. Once they do, come back later and ask to pre order the iphone 4s. Tell them someone at AT&T documented your account of your message you received from ATT and that you need to get your upgrade over road at the store per Att Business Relations.This worked for me..please report your results on this message board. I was able to pre order my iphone on friday morning (I was the first person in the At&t store, they didnt even check my phone for the message again.

    (The beauty of this all is, when you call into customer support, they can actually check and see if att sent you a message at the time that you claim, it will show they did, but they cant view what it says, so your story is alot more plausable).

    Another option is to have someone you know who is eligibile for the upgrade sent the *639# request to att at the same time as you. When they get their message that shows they are available for an upgrade, have them text it to you, and save the screenshot on your phone to show att.

    Your last option is to pay either the early upgrade fee of $250 or pay full retail. Either of which I could of done, I just think that for my wife’s line to be upgradeable and mine to not be was unfair. We both got our phones on the same day. I know we were both under the same contract on the same account, but I’m supprised it is not discrimmatory to allow some to upgrade and not others.     

  • Hcfjcfjgg

    Rape your butthole

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  • blue uniform

    Siri? What the hell is the crap? How about an AMERICAN name! This is an American company after all. What is wrong with Sarah? Or letting people use whatever name they want if it is in a foreign country. Siri is not appropriate for Americans. I refuse to use a product that makes me call it a foreign name.

  • Rav

    so att will give me a new iphone after my 2 year contract?

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About the author

David W. MartinDavid W. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant. David has written for CNET's iPhoneatlas.com, MacLife.com, CultofMac.com, BYTE.com and recently for aNewDoman.net. He comes to Cult of Mac's website with deep knowledge and passion for the all things Apple. Follow David on Twitter @david_w_martin or see what he's up to now at davidwmartin.com.

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