iPhone upgrade: AT&T bends over backwards

Chicago (IL) – If you just can’t sit still anymore and desperately want an iPhone 3G S now, but you AT&T subscription just does not allow you a cheap upgrade, there is good news. AT&T today said that some customers will be able to upgrade a few months early. And Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank.

We often criticize AT&T for its questionable approach to deliver services expected in today’s world at reasonable prices, but we do feel bad for an announcement released by the company this morning. Apparently, the public pressure on offering the fancy new iPhone 3G S for the price new customers pay crossed a certain threshold and forced the company to alter its upgrade policy.
Typically, you have to wait until your 2-year service contract is nearly over, or has crossed at least the 22-month mark, before you can buy that new phone at the advertised priced. For many iPhone and iPhone 3G owners that meant that they would have to pay a much higher price: While the new customer prices were $199 and $299 for the 16 GB and 32 GB versions, respectively, those who are still under contract would have to pay $399 or $499.
This writer still believes that if you have to complain about the extra cost, in this case $200, you probably cannot afford such a phone and its $90+ per month service contract (including taxes and fees) anyway, but it was clear that those who are shelling out thousands of dollars for their iPhone service charges over the two-year period aren’t happy with the higher price. So, AT&T altered its policy and said that those iPhone customers who are eligible for an upgrade in July, August and September will be able to upgrade as early as June 18.  
While it won’t make everyone happy, this announcement should be enough to calm down angry iPhone owners.

Of course, it is clear that AT&T is taking the hit here by subsidizing a new phone early. Consumers, at least those who cannot wait to upgrade, can score a small victory, but there is no doubt that the real winner is Apple, which can accelerate its iPhone revenue stream from AT&T.

I wonder if AT&T would do the same for me and allow an early upgrade from my old Blackberry?