AT&T customers: are you paying the $250 ETF?
S last year I per-ordered the 4S and received it on launch day, probably like many of you did. Just out of curiosity, I just stopped in to my local AT&T store to check my upgrade status. Unfortunately I am not eligible to upgrade until next May, unless I want to pay an early termination fee (ETF) of $250. They don't even pro-rate their ETF anymore, according to the sales rep.
I'm really on the fence about this. Upgrading would be great, but paying $650 plus taxes, plus the the ~$30 ish upgrade fee makes my bum feel a bit sore. Overall I'm perfectly happy with my 4S, but I've always enjoyed upgrading and taking part in the latest Apple has to offer. This might be the first year where I'll hold off.
I also though about how many sales Apple is going to lose this year compared to previous years, as users are locked into their ~18-20 months between upgrade contracts. I'd imagine that less than 10% of users are really going to spring for the extra money and upgrade early, potentially leaving tons of iPhones on store shelves for those uninitiated into the Apple culture. This actually makes me worry about the Apple stock price too, as I'm heavily invested right now. I'm starting to think that the market is becoming saturated, and with customers unwilling to pay for huge ETF's to upgrade, this may end up being the first quarter that Apple fails to meet street profit expectations.
So what do you think? Will you be uograding for an extra $250?
- 09-13-2012, 02:40 PM #2
- 09-13-2012, 03:13 PM #3
Yes, I'm paying the early upgrade fee of $250 with At&t. I sold my 4S today for $350. So that took care of the $250 early upgrade fee plus an extra $100 in my pocket, so I'll be spending out of pocket the same amount as if I was eligible for the full upgrade discount. For example $199 16GB i5+$250 early upgrade fee=$450 and only $100 I have to spend out of pocket using the $350 I just got for my 4S.
Last edited by E Pow; 09-13-2012 at 03:15 PM.
- 09-13-2012, 03:22 PM #4
What rep told you they don't prorate the ETF anymore? That sounds like crap to me. If you bought it last October your ETF by now should be $240. Well, once your billing cycle ends. If it wasn't prorated anymore then your ETF wouldn't have gone down.
- 09-13-2012, 03:27 PM #5
- 09-13-2012, 03:41 PM #6
Last edited by cardfan; 09-13-2012 at 03:44 PM.
- 09-13-2012, 03:55 PM #7
- 09-13-2012, 03:59 PM #8
- 09-13-2012, 04:16 PM #9
- 09-13-2012, 04:20 PM #10
- 09-13-2012, 04:21 PM #11
I've been an AT&T customer since the first iPhone, and have always upgraded on subsequent launch days and always qualified. Now they're saying that we're no longer qualified for early upgrades because of their new 20-month upgrade plans they switched to last year. So basically, we have to pay the ETF or wait.
- 09-13-2012, 04:26 PM #13
- 09-13-2012, 04:27 PM #14
Okay, I just logged into my AT&T account online and this is the exact quote for upgrade availability.
"Great news! You qualify for an early iPhone upgrade with a new 2-year commitment.
Full upgrade available: May 07, 2013"
So does that mean that I can upgrade without paying an ETF or not?
- 09-13-2012, 04:37 PM #16
- 09-13-2012, 04:47 PM #17
What AT&T is telling you is that on May 7 2013 you get a new phone at upgrade price. Until then, you qualify for a new phone at upgrade price PLUS $250 (the early upgrade fee).
They are shaking you down, basically.
In the interest of clarity, there are TWO separate fees that are somehow being confused.
The Early Termination Fee (ETF) is now $375 for smart phones, and this fee does get prorated in that it reduces by a set amount each month (I think it's $20/month). This is to offset any loss the provider incurs in subsidizing the cost of your equipment that you got when you signed on (or renewed). I don't like these fees, but they are necessary to keep people from getting new phones and canceling their accounts and leaving AT&T in the hole.
The Early Upgrade Fee (EUF) is $250 and it applies when you want to upgrade after a certain period after signing up (or renewing), but before the 21 month mark when they estimate that they have fully recovered their subsidization of your original equipment. IMHO, THIS is a money grab... unfortunately, due to the nature of some people, it, too, has become necessary.
Last edited by Fausty82; 09-13-2012 at 04:56 PM.
- 09-13-2012, 04:55 PM #19
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- 09-13-2012, 05:09 PM #24
- 09-13-2012, 05:28 PM #25
But I am paying $299 (32GB) each year for a phone and then they roll down. When there are more than one upgrade available, Mom gets her upgrade whenever she wants it (if one is available). For the kids, they rotate through the ranks... so the youngest gets a shot at a new phone on occasion... still sucks that AT&T has seen fit to screw us over.