When you buy a new iPhone you don’t expect your monthly bill to increase $15 to $25, but that’s what happened to a lot of AT&T iPhone 6 buyers who decided to sign a two year contract instead of using AT&T Next.
Over the past 24 hours AT&T sent out text messages to some customers telling them to expect an increase in their monthly bill.
Here’s what is going on with your AT&T Mobile Share Value plan and how you can switch to Next to keep the cheaper monthly plan — but you’ll still pay more for your phone.
The confusion comes from a change AT&T made in March that allowed current AT&T customers to get the AT&T Mobile Share discount that normally only comes with an AT&T Next purchase. This chopped the price many AT&T customers paid per line or for the whole family, but there was a catch.
The only way to keep the cheaper AT&T plan is to buy the iPhone 6 or any other phone with Next, which means you pay for the full cost of the iPhone 6 over a 12-24 month period. This is a shock to many users who didn’t understand that the discount requires them to pay more for their next phone up front or with AT&T Next monthly payments.
Cult of Mac shares the text message from AT&T that warns users;
AT&T Free Msg: Upgrading 415-123-4578 on a 2-year wireless agreement increases the Mobile Share Value smartphone access charge for this line to $40/mo. Other charges apply. To learn how to keep your Mobile Share Value discount or for more details, visit att.com/planconfirm
Here’s the deal. Even if you don’t like it you have to pay more for the phone or more for service. You have 14 days to decide which you want to pay for. You can’t keep the $15 to $25 discount and stay on a two-year contract with a discounted phone because AT&T is paying $450 of that phone price.
AT&T where loyalty is penalized. Upgrade to iPhone 6 with a 2yr contract and we will charge you more monthly. @ATTCustomerCare screwed!
— wordpicasso (@wordpicasso) September 19, 2014
If you are ok paying the higher monthly fee, which is between $360 and $600 for two years you don’t need to do anything. If you want to switch and pay a monthly fee for the phone on AT&T Next with the option for early upgrades or to leave AT&T you can keep the monthly line discount, but you’ll pay for the phone. The total cost is actually less if you choose AT&T Next, by $275 according to our AT&T Next vs Two Year Contract comparison.
Another option is to pay full retail price for the iPhone 6 off contract, and you can keep the monthly discount on service.
To switch from a two-year contract to AT&T Next or to pay full price you need to go back to the store you bought the phone from and use Next or pay full retail. If they don’t offer it they AT&T suggests you return it and then buy a new one from AT&T, which means a lengthy wait. More details from AT&T are available.
Customers are understandably upset by the surprise that arrived this late, but there are not many options for users.