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Why AT&T Pricing for the iPhone is Full of Deception



So, we’re still waiting to hear complete details from some of the carriers about pricing, plans, etc.. for the iPhone 4S. And I’m betting once we do things will be as murky and deceptive as they are at present.

I’m a current AT&T customer and at the moment see no reason to switch given how and where I use my iPhone. But, there seems to be a real glitch in the way AT&T and Apple are looking at this. OK, let’s be real. It’s not a glitch, AT&T is just being deceptive as hell.

According to AT&T I’m not eligible for an upgrade price until February  2012. But if I use the technique of pressing *639# on my phone to check eligibility, I get a message back that says I could buy a new phone

“at two year commitment pricing + $250 along with a new 2 yr commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.”

That’s a lot of text for an SMS. It’s also a lot of text to say, you’ll pay the full freight plus $18, You do the math.  $399 + $250 +$18 for a total of $667. So, essentially the cost of upgrading the phone is $667 and I get the joys of a new two year contract.

Apple’s website ,which allows you to check with AT&T for pricing is cleaner. It just says $649, but doesn’t mention the upgrade fee.

So, here’s the question. If I’m paying full freight for a new phone, why should I, or anyone else in the same circumstance, have to extend the contract? Of course we know the reason. AT&T’s chicanery here doesn’t hold water.



  1. vike

    10/05/2011 at 8:29 am

    I think your math is off.  If they are offering you the 2 year commitment price + $250 it would be $199 + 250 for a 16GB which would be $449 + $18 for the upgrade.  This would save you ~$200 over buying the device outright which is the reason for the contract extension.

  2. LogMeCode3

    10/05/2011 at 9:07 am

    No, you’re paying the subsidy from the discount you received on the phone you currently have. The flaw is that the $250 ought to become less as your eligibility date approaches.

  3. Anonymous

    10/05/2011 at 10:33 am

    Just quit complaining and buy it unlocked.

  4. smarter

    10/05/2011 at 1:21 pm

    Vike is correct. Ur paying 450 instead of 650. Please do research before u talk about things u are uneducated about. It just makes you look dumb!

  5. Tim Davies

    10/05/2011 at 9:49 pm

    Or just add a line then cancel it. $200 for a 16gb iPhone 4S, then pay $375 to cancel a bran new contract. Plus 1 months payment(about $25 min since you can get the cheapest date plan($15), $10 to share your minutes, and pay per text)

    That’s $600. So you save a little, though I’m sure it’s a bit of head ache. 

    Or you just keep the contract till you ready to sell it or move on, since you have to pay the same monthly fee with no contract, and you would end up spending more on the phone anyway with a EFT. You are just paying for it later when you decide to ditch it…in which case its less and less each month you keep it.

    Over all, I’m happy with contract prices. The alternative is paying the same monthly charge, and spending $650 on the phone. If the Monthly charge was less, I could see the point. But it’s not. So get a contract and pay the EFT when your ready to leave. You still end up saving more then buying it off contract.

    Lets say I bought the iPhone 4 in 32GB flavor the day it came out. That’s $300. My Month bill right now with a company discount is $60 a month, regardless of if I am on a contract or not. I have spent $960 for my service over the past 16 months. If I wanted to cancel I have to pay $175. So if I want to get a iPhone 4s the total cost of my iPhone 4 since I got it? $1435. Cost if I bought it off contract? $1710(32GB iPhone 4 was $750 off contract). So I saved $300 buy getting a contract.

  6. Jasoneason

    10/06/2011 at 6:05 am

    Your $399 pricing is for the 64gb which at full retail pricing would be $849. Learn how to research correctly

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