AT&T has confirmed to BGR that it has made changes to early upgrade pricing for its smartphones. The changes impact customers who wish to upgrade to a new smartphone but are not yet eligible for an upgrade at fully discounted two-year contract prices. An imminent change to AT&T’s early upgrade pricing for smartphones was first reported on Friday by Android enthusiast blog Android Central. AT&T has now confirmed that off-contract early upgrade pricing has increased by $50 for all smartphones including the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, Windows Phones and Android devices. Pricing has increased by $150 when the aforementioned devices are purchased with a one-year agreement. “We’ve updated our early upgrade and no commitment price points for smartphones and feature phones,” an AT&T spokesperson told BGR. “Only customers who are not yet upgrade eligible or who do not want to sign a contract are impacted. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, their cost goes up. This change reflects the increased costs, while still allowing us to offer customers the latest device before they qualify. We’re happy to discuss individual account and upgrade needs one-on-one with customers.”
Here is what we have just found out… AT&T recently modified their early upgrade program for smartphones, and due to smartphones becoming “increasingly more sophisticated” — and the cost of the devices increasing — AT&T has increased their $75 early upgrade fee to $200. That means a BlackBerry Bold 9700 that would have cost you $275 will now cost you $399. Quick messaging and basic phones are not subjected to the new change. AT&T told employees that, “This change to our exception pricing is necessary to maintain our ability to provide customers with the best selection of devices and maintain our leadership in the Smartphone category.” And hey, with Verizon charging a $350 ETF for advanced devices, it was only a matter of time before AT&T started exploring their options.
With WWDC kicking off in under 3 hours, we know what’s going through the minds of a lot of AT&T iPhone users: “Will I be able to get a subsidy on the new iPhone?” Well from what we’ve been seeing, the odds are stacked in your favor. AT&T is being suspiciously generous and bumping up the upgrade eligibility of many iPhone users for the better, some by as many as five months. Based upon appearances alone, it seems that all anyone has to do to take advantage of the offer is cough up $18 for an early upgrade fee and then pay the normal 2-year rate. Want to know if you’re eligible? Either dial *639# on your AT&T handset or log onto your online account management and click “Check Upgrade Options”. Good luck! More →