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Summary:

Given my views on AT&T’s network and my recent breakup with my iPhone, I have watched the release of the new iPhone 3G S with mild amusement. Many on our team are looking to upgrade and, like many of their fellow current iPhone owners, have been […]

intro-iphone-speed-20090608.jpg.jpegGiven my views on AT&T’s network and my recent breakup with my iPhone, I have watched the release of the new iPhone 3G S with mild amusement. Many on our team are looking to upgrade and, like many of their fellow current iPhone owners, have been complaining about the AT&T $200 surcharge for upgrading to the recently announced iPhone 3G S. The unsubsidized price of the new iPhone 3G S is $599/$699, depending on the total storage space of the device. Ronald Lewis, author of a soon-to-be-released book called “Stick it to the man,” has figured out a way to beat the subsidy.

While the world was slamming AT&T over their miscalculated move, I sold my 16GB iPhone 3G and reserved my 32GB iPhone 3G S for $299. View the slideshow that confirms my pricing. Know what’s funny? I’ve only fulfilled 11 months of my AT&T contract.

His technique is my favorite way of getting what I want: being nice and polite to the salespeople. He says if you reinforce the point (politely) that you are a longtime loyal customer, AT&T is likely to cut you a deal. I think Ronald’s approach is good, though I have a tough time believing that Ma Bell will be nice to each one of its customers. And if it does indeed reward its longtime customers with a surcharge waiver, then I will tip my hat to it. I have not independently tested Ronald’s approach, so don’t start hating me if it doesn’t work. If it works, then thank Ronald.

Also, did anyone else see the humor in Ronald “sticking it to the man” by being nice? I, for one, advise my good friends to get a phone that runs on a network that is the exact opposite of a “fewer bars in more places network.” But if you still want an AT&T-iPhone combo, well, have a swell time yelling in the wind. To be fair, AT&T says it is hard at work improving its network.

  1. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to give this a shot. Though I have to wonder if he had better luck because he did this “months ago”, perhaps before ATT got its story straight.

    I tried something similar this week only to be told by an uninformed CSR that I was eligible for what turned out to be ATT’s one-time early upgrade (with $75 fee). A rep in store and then on the phone later both corrected me–it’s not available for iPhone upgrades–but I didn’t push very hard.

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  2. thanks for the article. i, too, am looking to upgrade my blackberry bold to the new 3GS, BUT according to the ATT website, I can’t upgrade until November of 2009. This reminded me of what I did November last year. Why? Remember what came out at that time; the BlackBerry Bold. According the ATT and it’s “rules”, I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade until December 2008. I called customer care in November, and asked them if it would be any way possible to allow me to upgrade to the new Bold one month early. Without hesitation, they “made a note” in my account that allowed me to do that. So I hurriedly went to my closest ATT store, and told them my situation. They looked up my account, and I walked out with a new Bold in my hand. Even though I’m still 5 months away from an upgrade (according to ATT’s rules), I am still going to make the call to customer care and see if they will allow to do the aforementioned. I don’t see why not. I mean, I’m going to be signing a 2-year contract. Right?

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  3. Your iPhone “breakup” was in February. I would not call that recent.

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  4. Your iPhone “breakup” was in February. I would not call that recent.

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  5. It amazes me at all the whining about AT&T charging an extra $200 for people who didn’t fulfill their contract. Apparently you people think that it is AT&T or the governments job to subsidize you for your entire life. You signed the contract how about being an adult and living up to its terms. Heck, AT&T is being pretty nice about the whole thing by not charging you the full unsubsidized price if you are still under contract. Perhaps you need to be kept from signing contracts anymore as they seem to be meaningless to you.

    PS – AT&T ALWAYS allows upgrades at least 3 months before the contract ends – it is nothing you have to fight for.

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    1. Yes but if the subsidy price is $199/299 why are people getting charged 599/699 without a subsidy? The subsidy is typically $200 not $400. Cheaper to break the contract remaining on your phone and just get a new line.

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  6. Nice view shared. I am still deciding whether to get the iphone 3g s. I think 3G S is cool. :)

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  7. Have to second ‘Remo’s’ comment.

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  8. It just amazes me that so many people have absolutely no concept of what they sign when they sign a 2 year contract. You are promising to pay, the monthly rate that you agreed upon, 24 times. It’s a contract that cannot be broken unless both parties agree to the breakup terms. If you and AT$T cannot agree, the old contract remains in force until it expires.

    If you don’t like it, remember that the next time you sign a contract.

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  9. Just for the record,

    Here in LA, my Sprint service was horrible and billing was horrible. ATT reception and iPhone have been very good here. No regrets at all switching to iPhone.

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  10. I am not arguing that ATT owes me anything at all. I am fully aware that I am in contract and understand the way phone prices are subsidized. But I also have little good faith in either ATT or Verizon, based on how both have treated me as a customer in the past. So if I can get a concession out of ATT towards an early iPhone upgrade, great, and–bonus for ATT–I’d have some goodwill restored towards them. If not, I’ll abide my contract and either pay the mid-level upgrade price or wait a year until my contract runs out and switch to Verizon when they have the iPhone3Gs2. I bet ATT would prefer that the latter option never happens, which is why there’s a small chance they’ll work with me now to get me into a new 2-year contract with a new 3gs.

    ATT owes me nothing here, but it never hurts to ask; they just might value retaining a 3+ year customer.

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