Angry iPhone owners blast AT&T over upgrade pricing
Thousands sign Twitter petition, want carrier to retreat from $200 surcharge on iPhone 3G S
Computerworld - iPhone users angry over AT&T's pricing policy for the new iPhone 3G S have taken their campaign to Twitter, where more than 4,400 have added their names to an instant petition.
They're mad as hell about AT&T's plan to charge them an additional $200 to upgrade to the iPhone 3G S if they haven't fulfilled most or all of their two-year contract with the carrier. "AT&T should give existing customers the same rate for the new iPhone 3G S that they do for new customers," the Twitter petition reads. "New customers or not, another 2-year contract is being made."
Apple's and AT&T's subsidized prices for the iPhone 3G S, which will launch on Friday, June 19, are $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB device. Those prices, however, apply only to new customers to AT&T, or to existing customers who are judged eligible for the lower-priced upgrade.
Meanwhile, people who already own an iPhone or have an existing AT&T contract, and are judged by AT&T as ineligible for another subsidized phone must fork over $399 for the 16GB, $599 for the 32GB.
AT&T doesn't reveal the criteria it uses to peg existing customers as eligible or ineligible, but Computerworld staffers who own iPhones have been told that they must run through as few as 12 months, and as many as 20 months, of their 24-month contracts before they'll qualify for the $199 and $299 prices.
That's made AT&T customers mad enough to sign the Twitter petition at a rate of about 250 an hour as of mid-day Wednesday. The petition was first posted yesterday.
They're also venting in other online venues. "This is all a slap to our face!" ranted a user identified as "irishlad1977" on a well-trafficked AT&T support forum thread labeled "No Subsidized Price For Loyal iPhone Users."
"Cry foul, all disappointed iPhone users!" added "tsfroggy" on the same thread.
"Why are we being punished for buying Apple products?" asked "Darksithscorpius" in a post to an Apple support forum. "I love the product, but the way that they let AT&T dictate how their customers are treated is terrible. Charging us the extra $200 for being loyal customers is flat out wrong!"
The company's policy, however, is standard for the wireless industry in the U.S., which ties subsidized phone prices to the completion of long-term contract commitments. That fact was quickly pointed out by others unsympathetic to the complainers.
"You do have a cheaper option once you live up to your side of the bargain," said "DWC1" on the AT&T forum. "If you want to upgrade early then you will have to pay full price with no subsidy discount. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your predicament."
AT&T did not respond to a request for comment about its pricing practices, or what it thought of the Twitter petition and the online postings by iPhone owners.
A similar Twitter-based petition for customers of O2, the U.K.'s exclusive carrier for the iPhone, had nearly 4,100 signatures by mid-day Wednesday.
The hubbub over pricing isn't the only negative press that AT&T's received since Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G S on Monday. The company has also come under fire for its slow moves to support MMS and its lack of a tethering plan to let customers connect laptops to the Internet via the iPhone. Other mobile carriers will offer both MSS and tethering when the iPhone 3G S debuts next week.
Apple iPhone 3G S
- iPhone surcharge protest underscores carriers' loss of control
- AT&T has 48 hours to answer iPhone pricing complaints, says crisis expert
- Angry iPhone owners blast AT&T over upgrade pricing
- What do Snow Leopard, iPhone 3G S and its new OS mean for business?
- David Coursey: iPhone is all about the apps
- Analysis: Why is AT&T late on MMS, tethering for new iPhone?
- iPhone 3G S still not enterprise-ready, analysts say
- iPhone 3G S vs Palm Pre: The battle begins
- Apple unveils faster iPhone 3G S, slates June 19 launch
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!