Apple and AT&T Royally Screw Loyal iPhone 3G Customers

By

post-11559-image-f75bcc3643a4f62721f10ac7cd85ce24-jpg

Stood in line last year to buy an iPhone 3G, and count yourself a loyal Apple customer? Well, we’re all idiots, because Apple and AT&T just fucked us royally.

The iPhone 3G S is not going to be subsidized for current iPhone 3G customers. If you bought an iPhone 3G last year, the new iPhone is going to cost you $499 for the entry-level 8GB model, $599 for the 16GB version, and $699  for the 32GB.

Don’t believe me? Here it is in black and white on Apple’s website, literally buried in the fine print:

“For non-qualified customers, including existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, the price with a new two-year agreement is $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB).”

Whether this applies to iPhone 3G customers after July 11, 2009 — the one year anniversary of the iPhone 3G launch — is unclear. Last year when the iPhone 3G went on sale, Apple and AT&T offered subsidized pricing to owners of the original iPhone (and had owned it for a year).

The prices advertised during today’s WWDC keynote — $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB) — applies to “new and qualifying customers,” which apparently doesn’t include current iPhone 3G customers. I’ve put in a call to AT&T for an explanation.

UPDATE: AppleInsider suggests that AT&T will offer subsidized pricing for iPhone 3G customer after a year of ownership — I think. It is not 100% clear to me that this is what AT&T is saying.

UPDATE 2: I just checked Apple’s online eligibility tool, and it says I must currently pay the full retail price, but on July 30, I “may qualify for a standard iPhone upgrade.” What this means is also unclear. Is it the full $200 subsidy? I bought my iPhone 3G in late July, a couple of weeks after its debut. See the screenshot below.

UPDATE 3: iPhone 3G customers are eligible for the full upgrade price after about 18 months, reports Ars Technica, which spoke to an AT&T spokesman. Depends on the account. For those of us who bought the iPhone 3G in July, we likely won’t qualify for the full discount until December. Arse. It’s actually cheaper to cancel your current plan, pay the ~$175 penalty, and sign up as a brand new customer. That’s not how to treat early adopters. Where’s the nearest Sprint store?

iphone_upgrade