AT&T Backlash Begins as iPhone Users Cry Foul

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The new iPhone 3G S backlash has begun, and iFanbois are astonished by the AT&T cost for an upgrade from their old and tired iPhone 3Gs.

No matter that -- in their drooling haste to upgrade last time -- they signed a two-year contract to get the subsidized pricing.

In IT Blogwatch , Richi Jennings watches some bloggers whine and moan and totally ignore their contractual obligations; while others stand on the sidelines, laughing.

Not to mention Mobiusbiking...

Rik Myslewski speaks of shafted and squeezed fanbois:

AT&T will charge current US iPhone 3G customers a hefty fee for the privilege of upgrading to an iPhone 3G S before their two-year contracts are up. ... On Apple's buyiphone website, current iPhone owners are greeted first with the cheery announcement ... that "As a valued AT&T customer, AT&T can offer you an early iPhone upgrade with ... an $18 upgrade fee."

The upgrade [costs] $299.00 [to] $499.00. ... Add to that the required $30 per month data plan, the aforementioned $18 upgrade fee, another $18 for a "One-time AT&T Upgrade Fee," plus the over-and-above charges for text messaging, ... and existing AT&T contract holders are facing the withdrawal of a serious chunk of change from their checking accounts.

And then there's the fact that ... it was announced that AT&T wouldn't support the new phone's MMS messaging until "later this summer" and that no mention whatsoever was made of when or if AT&T would support internet tethering. MORE

Ken Mingis isn't a whiner, but he was one of the early bloggers to spot the problem:

The good news is that the new iPhones will be out on June 19. The bad news is that I won't be among those in line to buy one next week. Seems I'd have to pay $200 more than the prices touted at WWDC.

The problem has to do with the subsidized prices AT&T offers on the iPhone; Basically, AT&T doesn't want to subsidize new iPhones as often as I, and probably a lot of users, want to buy them. So be forewarned: If you already have an iPhone 3G, you may have to wait a while before you can buy a new one without coughing up a small fortune. MORE

Daniel Ionescu has a cheaper alternative; but it's not that appealing:

AT&T will charge you around $175 to cancel your current contract and only 90 days later (after losing your phone number) you can sign up again for a new iPhone contract. MORE

Anthony Ha is annoyed and confused (and a bit whiny):

One of the big themes at [WWDC] was pricing. ... Too bad the speech didn’t come with footnotes, because once again, AT&T and Apple are using the pricing plan to annoy existing customers.

A heck of a way to reward loyalty. ... So that amazing new 3G S phone you’re drooling for? It might cost $199. It might cost $399. Or it might cost $599. I wish AT&T and Apple luck in explaining that to customers. MORE

But Harry McCracken has no sympathy whatsoever:

Some folks are irate at this turn of events, arguing that the pricing punishes loyal AT&T customers. Nope. What it does is prevent customers who got a steep discount on an iPhone a year ago in return for signing up for a two-year contract to get an equally steep discount this year for signing up for another two-year contract.

Which strikes me as perfectly reasonable, given that this scenario involves you only being under contract to AT&T for a total of three years. You can still get a discount on a new iPhone–just not one that’s as steep as someone who commits to AT&T for a total of four years. ... You agreed to fulfill a two-year contract with AT&T in return for the discount you got last year. AT&T is willing to renegotiate it and give you a proportionate discount on a 3G in return for another year of commitment.

Explain to me again what’s offensive about that? MORE

Mr. Tangent is more succinct:

No offense to anyone upset at AT&T ... but didn't you sign a contract? MORE

Meanwhile, David Sarno braces for the fanboi flamewar:

Before you try telling that to the owners of the now-outmoded iPhone 3G -- who woke up Monday to find themselves in possession of a 12-month-old relic that is slightly slower than the new version, not to mention lacking its compass and video camera -- make sure to strap on your helmet. MORE

This story, "AT&T Backlash Begins as iPhone Users Cry Foul" was originally published by Computerworld.

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