Apple responds to customer complaints over iPhone 3G S upgrade pricing

Hot on the heels of complaints that AT&T was screwing over loyal iPhone users via their upgrade plan for iPhone 3G owners looking to get a new iPhone 3G S comes news that AT&T has caved under the mounting pressure.

Hot on the heels of complaints that AT&T was screwing over loyal iPhone users via their upgrade plan for iPhone 3G owners looking to get a new iPhone 3G S comes news that AT&T has caved under the mounting pressure.When AT&T announced their upgrade rates for the new iPhone 3G S, iPhone 3G owners felt slighted. While new AT&T customers and those with expiring contracts were eligible to purchase 16MB and 32MB models of the new iPhone 3G S for $199 and $299 respectively, iPhone 3G owners could only upgrade for $399 or $499. The explanation behind that was that iPhone 3G owners have only fulfilled 1 year of their 2 year contract with AT&T. The logic went that AT&T didn't want to subsidize 2 iPhones for users who were only going to be under contract with AT&T for potentially 3 years instead of 4.While that type of upgrade plan is common (many Palm Pre fans have experienced the same roadblock), iPhone 3G owners felt like AT&T was giving them the cold shoulder. From their perspective, they pay a hefty fee to AT&T every month, with many of them jumping carriers just to get an iPhone in the first place. The logic went that if there were ever a group of users AT&T should want to placate it would be iPhone users who, more often than not, are quick to upgrade to the latest and greatest device, adding even more money to AT&T's bottom line in the process.In light of those complaints, AT&T made a surprising announcement today whereby iPhone 3G owners who purchased a device sometime between July '08 and September '08 will also be eligible for the $199 and $299 upgrade.

All of that said, we’ve been listening to our customers. And since many of our iPhone 3G customers are early adopters and literally weeks shy of being upgrade eligible due to iPhone 3G S launching 11 months after iPhone 3G, we’re extending the window of upgrade eligibility for a limited time.

I think this is a brilliant, if not necessary, move on AT&T's part. Their change of heart should lessen the waves of complaints as it takes into consideration and appeases the early adopters who most likely have some of the highest monthly bills relative to other smartphone owners. With the iPhone's exclusive contract to AT&T rumored to expire in 2010, AT&T should be doing everything it can to prevent its current users from having reasons to jump ship once Apple inevitably inks a deal with a rival carrier.  Now all they need to do is add support for MMS and data-tethering.

Lastly, AT&T also released the following YouTube video that explains the new upgrade eligibility requirements in addition to serving as an FAQ for users who pre-ordered their iPhone 3G S from AT&T.

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