AT&T Raises Eyebrows by Raising Early Termination Fees. Is Verizon The Culprit?
While there is little definitive supporting evidence to validate the claim asserted by many this weekend, it appears that some folks are convinced that AT&T's announcement of an escalated early contract termination fee means that the iPhone is coming to Verizon and this is how AT&T will prevent a massive exodus to the rival carrier.
Since the iPhone was unveiled in 2007 along with an exclusive carrier deal through AT&T, millions have waited in anticipation - mostly on the backs of rumors - for the handset to finally come to other carriers. Now, as Apple readies its next gen iPhone, AT&T is raising eyebrows by hiking the early-termination fee for smart phones from $175 to $325, effective June 1st.
Some clearly believe the move is a preemptive strike against AT&T customers who might consider jumping ship "if" the iPhone comes to Verizon (or elsewhere) in the coming months. Of course, given the increased competition in the marketplace and the booming business of the smartphone industry even beyond the iPhone's market share, an equally cogent argument could be made that AT&T is simply protecting itself from added competition, not merely the threat of a Verizon iPhone.
AT&T isn't saying much about their incentive for the sudden, drastic spike, except that they're looking to play "fair." That is, the carrier is similarly reducing termination fees for its more basic mobile phones. "The idea is, and we think that it's fair approach, that if you spend less on a device, your early-termination fee should be less," said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel. "If you spend more, your early-termination fee should be more."