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AT&T stores now offering early upgrade pricing on iPhone 3G

post #1 of 31
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In the latest move aimed at helping Apple clear inventory of iPhone 3Gs ahead of new models anticipated this spring, AT&T retail stores are now offering some customers early upgrades to the Apple handset at subsidized pricing.

The silent offer, which began this week, is being extended to customers on a case-by-case basis. Typically, the carrier would only offer non-iPhone customers the option to upgrade from their non-Apple phone to an iPhone 3G at the $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) subsidized price points after their 24-month contract had run its course.

However, AT&T representatives have confirmed to AppleInsider that as of this week the company is waiving the upgrade clause for customers who are approximately 14 months into their two-year contract.

The waiver isn't bound to strict terms, however, meaning that retail employees are free to grant upgrade pricing for customers who may not be quite as far into their 2-year contract, but that determination is to be made by the employee after accessing and reviewing the customer's account history. Other factors like long-term loyalty to AT&T may play into the decisions.

The move follows similar initiatives by both Apple and AT&T to rid their stores of lingering iPhone 3G inventory. Both companies on Thursday began offering the handset at a "no commit" price of $599 for the 8GB version or $699 for the 16GB model.

AT&T is extending the offer only to existing subscribers and is limiting sales to just one iPhone. Apple, however, is willing to sell the phones to anyone who walks into its stores and isn't limiting the number they can purchase.

Apple is widely expected to unveil new iPhone models at its June Worldwide Developers Conference.
post #2 of 31
Just don't give us early upgrade options FROM a 3G to a NEW iPhone. Please. It will tempt me far too much...
post #3 of 31
Tick Tock, Tick Tock...
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post #4 of 31
Actually, this has been going on for some months now, at least in some markets. My current 2 year family plan doesn't renew until around June, but my primary line has been eligible since last November and the 3 other lines since mid February according to the in store rep I normally deal with at my local ATT store. We've been holding off to see what, if anything, is intro'ed in June before we trade up our 2 Blackberries and 1 Motorazor to new iPhones.
post #5 of 31
Haven't us original iPhone owners been able to upgrade to the iPhone 3G at any time for the low price since we will be shelling out an additional $15 per month for the same service we are getting now?
post #6 of 31
It's funny reading how the AT&T is only now offering an upgrade option, in the UK I upgraded my original iPhone which was only 5 months into it's contract for the new iPhone 3G, all they did was reset my 18 month contract, the contract also remained at the same price where a friend of mine in the US had to pay more for his 3G contract than the previous iPhone model, it does seem that American networks get their customers to walk in pull down their pants and prepare for penetration!
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post #7 of 31
I received this message when going online to buy a new phone. I am an AT&T premier member.

Just thought this was odd...

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Haven't us original iPhone owners been able to upgrade to the iPhone 3G at any time for the low price since we will be shelling out an additional $15 per month for the same service we are getting now?

The first iPhone wasn't subsidized, it was profit sharing. I imagine that both Apple and AT&T will want to get users on the newest iPhone, so I think that AT&T will allow iPhone 3G users the option after one year of use, below the current 14 month policy. After all, they are getting a mandatory data fee with each iPhone contract so they are more valuable than there other phones as a whole.
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post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

Haven't us original iPhone owners been able to upgrade to the iPhone 3G at any time for the low price since we will be shelling out an additional $15 per month for the same service we are getting now?

the cost of service wasn't the issue. it was that you didn't get a subsidized price but had to sign the two year contract the first time. it wasn't fair and they knew there would be complaints so they just make all iphone lines instantly upgradable at the discount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

It's funny reading how the AT&T is only now offering an upgrade option,

there has always been an upgrade option. all they are doing is adjusting when. Originally the discount pricing upgrades would be when you were at the end of your contract. but then some folks would be at risk of just changing services since by law you, not the cell company, owns the phone number so you can switch companies as much as you want. so if you were only a couple of months away they would offer you the 'favor' of a discounted upgrade so you wouldn't run off. that's all this is again.

and in fact it makes a lot of sense. by law, they have to pro rate your ETF each month you finish on your contract. so after 14 or so months you are down to $100 or less. but if they get you to sign a new contract you are back up to $175.

as for the no contract thing. has anyone actually tried to go into an Apple store and buy one, much less as many as you wanted. there is nothing about it on their site, as one would think if you could go back to buying it and activating it at home.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

the cost of service wasn't the issue. it was that you didn't get a subsidized price but had to sign the two year contract the first time. it wasn't fair and they knew there would be complaints so they just make all iphone lines instantly upgradable at the discount.

There was nothing unfair about it. You weren't required to sign a contract at time of purchase but you also weren't paying full price had there not been an expected carrier service with the handset.
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post #11 of 31
Just visited an AT&T store. My contract expires in August. Was told that the price for me was $399 for the 8GB. When I showed them the article they said it didn't matter. Called AT&T premier and was told that $399 was the discounted full price of $599. I even talked to a manager. My account on the website said the same thing as the post above.

Discount my butt. Guess I will be waiting for the new iphone and once other companies have the iphone AT&T will be losing my business.
post #12 of 31
Seems kind of early to be talking of clearing inventory. Normally it's a few weeks before an update.

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post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Seems kind of early to be talking of clearing inventory. Normally it's a few weeks before an update.

I think that depends on how much inventory you have to move. This may just be the first stage in a complex effort to get as much money from the old and busted iPhone 3G before the new hotness iPhone 3G arrives.

It would be nice if they dropped the price for those that care more about a deal than getting the latest HW tech, but that adds an issue with trying the next generation's replacement at a higher price.

Apple may also want to reduce the numbers to ziltch like they did last year. Although I don't think Apple intended for their product to have gone dry so quickly. But you can't deny that the buzz from the lack of iPhones was huge. I know I sold my iPhone for more than I bought it for. Perhaps they are trying to create that frenzy again for the next iPhone's release. Id est, starve the masses until a stale cracker seems like a feast.
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElJefe View Post

Just visited an AT&T store. My contract expires in August. Was told that the price for me was $399 for the 8GB. When I showed them the article they said it didn't matter. Called AT&T premier and was told that $399 was the discounted full price of $599. I even talked to a manager. My account on the website said the same thing as the post above.

Discount my butt. Guess I will be waiting for the new iphone and once other companies have the iphone AT&T will be losing my business.

A friend of mine did the exact same thing with the exact same result, even though her contract expires in only a couple of months. Is there any truth to this article?
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by kobe24mvp View Post

A friend of mine did the exact same thing with the exact same result, even though her contract expires in only a couple of months. Is there any truth to this article?

The article may be truthful, but the info could have been from a higher source in corporate or only be active in a few retail divisions at this point. I have no idea what the truth is, but I do know that retail is the last to know about such changes.

If she has only a couple of months I guarantee he can get an iPhone 3G now with a new contract at the reduced rate. Especially if he wants to close out his account to go to another carrier. Regardless, I think she should wait until the next iPhone comes out in a few months. I think the HW update will be well worth the wait.
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post #16 of 31
Just tried to upgrade my girlfriend to a 3G Iphone. AT&T rep said she wasn't eligible for an upgrade until September. I even mentioned this article and he stated that there was some misinformation put out about the upgrade pricing. I'm going to try another store. That particular store has never seemed real interested in selling Iphones.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-macman View Post

Just tried to upgrade my girlfriend to a 3G Iphone. AT&T rep said she wasn't eligible for an upgrade until September. I even mentioned this article and he stated that there was some misinformation put out about the upgrade pricing. I'm going to try another store. That particular store has never seemed real interested in selling Iphones.

I just spoke to an AT&T CSR for 15 minutes trying to get a definitive answer. The CSR had not heard of that offer but had noticed an increasing number of accounts still in contract that were unusually noted as "upgrade eligible". He agreed that the date seemed to be after about 14 months of service.

With me on the phone he tried to get a conclusive answer but all he could get were other people noticing the same thing and some hearing, unofficially, about this upgrade option. He thinks the rumor may be indeed be true but has leaked from a higher source and may be made known to the retail and other customer service employees on Monday.

I recommend calling 611 over visiting a retail store.
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post #18 of 31
*baleeted*
post #19 of 31
Actually at&t has been offering early upgrades since the beginning it is just not a fully discounted price. The price has been 399 and 499 just like the original iphone price, which is still a discount compared to apple non contract price. This is not new, customers have also not had to wait until the end of their contract either usually customers think that there upgrade date is the end of their contract but this is not usually the case. most accounts become able to upgrade at 16-18 months, depending on the amount of money you spend monthly you could be able to upgrade as early as a year. Unfortunately the information in this article is not correct entirely.
post #20 of 31
I just wanted to say that I've had no luck in the stores, on the sales line, or on the internet chat (which seems to be quite worthless.)

I'm a bit frustrated because my upgrade eligibility date isn't until June 24th. By then, I'm sure we'll have seen a new iPhone. The problem is, I'd like an iPhone now- and I don't feel like paying $399. Apparently they're all out of refurbs for existing customers too @ $199. Grr.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchultz View Post

I just wanted to say that I've had no luck in the stores, on the sales line, or on the internet chat (which seems to be quite worthless.)

I'm a bit frustrated because my upgrade eligibility date isn't until June 24th. By then, I'm sure we'll have seen a new iPhone. The problem is, I'd like an iPhone now- and I don't feel like paying $399. Apparently they're all out of refurbs for existing customers too @ $199. Grr.

1) You'll need to define "no luck".

2) If by eligibility you mean that your 24 month month contract is up June 24th, that is less than 3 months, which means that you are 21 months into your contract. I know, for a fact, you can get them to allow you get a new handset at the eligible price, providing you have not been late with your payments in the past.

3) At this point I'd just wait for the new device. It'll have plenty of new HW --and perhaps double the capacity-- for the price you are willing to pay today. If you can't wait 3 months are really going to be happy with the current iPhone when the new one comes out shortly?
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post #22 of 31
Anybody else have luck doing this? My 24 months isn't up until July. I'll wait until then to get a new iPhone, but my wife wants one now. I went to the store and they didn't know anything about this deal. I showed them a copy of the AppleInsider story, and it was news to them. They submitted it to AT&T to get an exception/waiver for me, and I haven't heard back yet.
post #23 of 31
I spoke with a really nice manager at a local retail store in GA. He said that he hadn't heard of any such deal, but did read the article and was curious himself. He took my information and said he would call me back. In the meantime, he sent this information up a level to a regional branch/division/manager(whatever you want to call it) to find out the validity of the "deal." The manager called me back after about two days and informed me that there was no information regarding such a deal, at least in this region, nor did he see one in the future. He was very honest about the whole situation and said that what he was told was that maybe someone was misinformed.

Although, I am bummed that no deal exists, at least as of right now, I must say that I am not surprised. If these phones are going to be quick sold for a new model, it does seems like it would be much later. Unfortunately, I don't have much patience.

Does anyone remember if there was a deal given last year in order to clear inventory for the 3g model?
post #24 of 31
Well, that sucks.

The guys at the AT&T store when I was there specifically said they didn't remember a deal like this last year when the 3G came out. Of course, the original iPhone wasn't a subsidized purchase like the 3G is...
post #25 of 31
I am still curious though what happened with the old phones. I am sure that Apple/ATT didn't just through them away, plus it would be difficult to convince customers to buy the old model with a new model on the shelves....
post #26 of 31
at my AT&T Store, and they looked at me as if I had two heads. This is patently false, at least as of now. I'm 16-17 months into my current contract, have had a couple contracts with AT&T, and have NEVER been late on a payment.

They were eventually "gracious" enough to offer me the $399/$499 pricing, at which I said I'm not paying that. I told them I'd print this out and bring it to them, but I'm not going to bother, as somehow I don't think a report from a site called "AppleInsider" will carry much weight.

If they think they are going to move inventory of a soon-to-be-outdated model at those prices, they are sorely mistaken.

The stupidity of AT&T is also mind-boggling, as I'm in effect trying to allow AT&T to make more profit off me, yet AT&T refuses.
post #27 of 31
Same experience. 15 months into contract, and they won't do an early upgrade for me until 20 months in (which has always been the case). I printed the AI story and gave it to the salesman at the shop. He submitted an upgrade exception request for me with that printout, and it was denied. I can upgrade for $399/$499, but not $199.

Looks like this info was faulty, plain and simple.
post #28 of 31
My Blackberry battery is officially dead, so I could spend $50 on a new battery or I could upgrade to an iPhone. My phone is eligible for an upgrade in 6 days. I called three stores and ATT direct, and no one would play ball today and give me an upgrade for less than $300. I run a business and we have had 5+ phone lines with them for 5+ years. I am truly sick of ATT and their appalling customer service
post #29 of 31
Assuming the story is true, could there be any better way to insure customer disgruntlement and resentment then to offer a "silent" policy with no apparent criteria beyond the whim of a sales guy?
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post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by yardfairy View Post

My Blackberry battery is officially dead, so I could spend $50 on a new battery or I could upgrade to an iPhone. My phone is eligible for an upgrade in 6 days. I called three stores and ATT direct, and no one would play ball today and give me an upgrade for less than $300. I run a business and we have had 5+ phone lines with them for 5+ years. I am truly sick of ATT and their appalling customer service

That does seem really poor, but I think you could do it if you spoke to a manager. The sales reps probably don't have the authority to do such things, even if you were a day away from being eligible. I would think they would have consulted a manager, perhaps they did, but if said no you should ask him to ask his higher up. You can even dial 611 and talk to a rep. The mention of losing your 5 lines should be enough to get it taken care of with apologizes for the inconvenience.

However, I would just get the new battery. It's only $50, it will act as a backup phone when one of your other phones break, get lost or stolen. And if you have other Blackberries of that model it can act as a spare battery. Plus, I don't recommend buying an iPhone now when all signs point to a much more advanced model coming in just a few months. Welcome to AI!



Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Assuming the story is true, could there be any better way to insure customer disgruntlement and resentment then to offer a "silent" policy with no apparent criteria beyond the whim of a sales guy?

No, I think that is about the highest level of poor customer service you can offer.
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post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Assuming the story is true, could there be any better way to insure customer disgruntlement and resentment then to offer a "silent" policy with no apparent criteria beyond the whim of a sales guy?

Yeah....I'm definitely planning on buying an iPhone at the next opportunity that won't gouge the living crap out of me; I just wish it didn't have to be AT&T. Not that I really believe any of the other companies are somehow better, because I know they aren't - I would just do it for the sheer satisfaction of telling AT&T I'm closing my account with them.

I'm bummed, because I was all up for this deal. I'd be fine with the 16GB 3G as opposed to the apparent new 32GB model. I already have 3 iPods of various shapes and sizes; I don't really care to have my phone double as an iPod. Nor do I care about video or a 3.2mp camera. This kind of deal would have been tailor-made for someone like me.
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