Mobile // Mobile Devices
03:16 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

AT&T Discusses 3G iPhone Upgrade Policy

Current iPhone users are automatically eligible to buy the 3G iPhone, but potential new users might have to prove they are worthy.

AT&T on Tuesday gave a list of criteria for upgrading to Apple's 3G iPhone that goes on sale July 11.

The exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone in the United States said customers using the smartphone today are automatically eligible for an upgrade to the new iPhone at the subsidized price of $199 for the 8-GB model and $299 for 16-GB version, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told InformationWeek. As in all upgrades at the subsidized price, customers have to sign a new two-year contract no matter where they are in their current contract.

If a person bought an iPhone on or after May 27, then they get to upgrade at no additional charge, and get a refund for the difference between the price of the old iPhone and the subsidized 3G model, minus a 10% restocking fee.

For AT&T customers using something other than an iPhone, the upgrade process is trickier. In order to be eligible for the subsidized price, customers have to first meet AT&T's credit criteria. Siegel declined to give details, saying that people are judged on an individual basis. "It really varies from person to person," Siegel said. "There's a whole lot of variables, and I would hate to give specific criteria."

Payment history is certainly one factor, but customers will have to call AT&T, go to one of its stores, or check online to know for sure whether they're creditworthy, as defined by AT&T. Also weighing into the decision is how long the person has left on the current contract. Again, that's also a slippery slope, since it's tied to the person's credit standing. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach," Siegel said.

People who are ineligible for the subsidized price can certainly buy an iPhone for the "unsubsidized price," Siegel said. What that is, however, has yet to be determined. AT&T will release that price sometime before the iPhone goes on sale.

One thing for certain, the new iPhone will require a minimum $30-a-month data plan, versus $20 for the original model, for the length of the two-year contract. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy has posted a general list of criteria for AT&T cell phone upgrades.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the 3G iPhone June 9 at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Unlike the original iPhone, the new model supports carriers' faster 3G, or third generation, data networks. The 3G iPhone will be available in 22 countries, versus six for the original, when it ships. Apple plans to make the smartphone available in 70 countries by the end of the year.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.