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  • 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."
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Raises Eyebrows by Raising Early Termination Fees. Is Verizon The Culprit? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. 12jmartinez's Avatar
      12jmartinez -
      there were some stupid employees at my local att which had no idea on contracts n stuff so when i had an iphone 3g but the phone itself sucked so i didnt want it after a few months so that lady just cancelled the contract and i never paid a dime to cancel it
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      If you don't want to pay the higher ETF fees then don't sign the contract. You can go month to month avoiding it. There is no sense in complaining about it because no one is forcing you to sign the TOS.
    1. 1shuttle1's Avatar
      1shuttle1 -
      Verizon should just split the termination fee and then spread the difference out over a year in your bill. That way they would pay off AT&T's early termination fee. And then you would pay your half over a year to Verizon and it would not seem like a big expense at once. That is what AT&T is hoping for. It sucks that they keep customers by upping termination fees instead of giving the best service. And why not lower ETF of regular phones to $100 and keep ETF at $175 for smart phones. Why does fair have to mean higher prices on smart phones and not just lower on cheaper phones.
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      AT&T has been so
      good to me... I truley do not understand all of
      these complaints about their coverage/customer service....... I was unemployed for about 3-4 months, during this time I obviously could not pay my $100 a month service for my iPhone. Eventually my service was turned off, and I owed AT&T around $300. I called them to see if there was a way to put my account on hold, and pay them once I started working again. AT&T did much more than that for me, not only did they credit my account the full $300, they also turned my service back on instantly!! After that I found work, and have been a happy, loyal AT&T customer ever since!! How's that for customer service!
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Just to throw my $.02 in here: personally I would never go back to the Cingular network. I had so many dropped calls it was ridiculous. I haven't had ONE dropped call on Verizon.

      That being said, I just can't see a mass exodus for Verizon. If you get good call quality where you are there's no reason to switch. And one thing to remember, which someone else in this thread mentioned, Verizon gimps their phones; removes some features for no good reason. My Palm Pre's aGPS is non-existent on my phone, which means it takes longer for a GPS lock, and 3rd party apps don't have working GPS at all unless you launch a Verizon program first. It's infuriating.

      Expect no less gimpage from the iPhone on Verizon. Verizon will pull that operating system apart and rebuild it in their Fascist ways.

      Gawd I hate cell-phone companies. The really bend you over and give it to you.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      THE REASON we complain about ATT service is to hopefully make it better.
      If you don't complain, nobody knows that there is a problem.

      Many people don't know that ATT doesn't have a clue about how the iphone works!
      I know this first hand, because I had problems with my 3G and then had problems with my 3GS. ATT made me take the iphone to Apple for replacement even though I purchased at ATT! Now that is convenient, isn't it ?!

      We can all speculate about the reasons that ATT raised the ETF, but the fact is they did.
      Follow the money!
    1. XFaega's Avatar
      XFaega -
      This is my $0.02. Any one that says they never had a dropped call are full of it. I don't care what network you are on but we all have had a dropped calls.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      I have never had a dropped call, but sometimes my phone doesn't dial out even with a full blown signal. I have to hang up and dial again and it goes through. I can't hear the person on the other end, but they can hear me until I have redialed.
    1. Pitbull2o08's Avatar
      Pitbull2o08 -
      you know what would be sweet...

      Verizon offered a deal to PAY the future customer the amount of their existing service provider's early termination fee. That would be soooo salty! lol
    1. sharrack's Avatar
      sharrack -
      Much of the like and dislike of AT&T is strictly due to your geographical location.............east coast....At&t rules the roost .
      Come to the southwest and Verizon is the king of good reception.
      Everyone I know with an iphone would jump ship in a second to get Verizons WAAAAAAAY better coverage in Arizona.
      A no brainer out here where AT&T calls drop all the time and their
      coverage is nowhere near as wide as Verizon's.

      My take always.......NEVER buy the first of anything and wait for
      all the reviews before taking the dive.
      I've got no problem waiting 6 months after a verizon phone comes out to jump ship. It will give me plenty of time to see how the new verizon phone works and to hear all the complaints.

      Still though.....all the phone companies are freaking sleazy pirates!
      Kenny S>
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      I'm in Cali... Southern and northern. Great coverage practically everywhere, few dead spots driving on I5... But that's it.
    1. dupontdata's Avatar
      dupontdata -
      The increased ETF fee is not the problem, it's how ETFs and subsidies are handled. My suggestions for being fair on the issue which I think should be forced on all carriers. Some of these may already be in place:
      * Allow all phones to be purchased with or without a subsidy.
      * Clearly show the ETF when on a new contract
      * ETF should be reduced per month equal to the length of the contract. If you have $350 ETF with a 24 month contract, the amount of the ETF should go down $14.58/month which at 24 months would make it down to 0. Carriers make their money back to you equally per month (on average assuming you don't have overages), so they should reduce the "loan" equally each month.
      * On each bill, show the portion of your bill that covers the subsidy. It may just be the ETF/# of months from above. After your subsidy period is over, your bill should drop by the amount of the monthly subsidy until you buy another subsidized phone.
      * If you bring a phone to a carrier or otherwise purchase a phone without a subsidy, you should be able to purchase a lower rate plan since you would not be paying the subsidy back to the carrier. T-Mobile does offer such no-contract plans that have lower rates.

      These would seem like simple, logical requirements that are fair to everyone and provide transparency of the reductions in purchase price of the phone initially, the monthly payment you pay as a result of the subsidy. This will offer consumers an option to choose if it makes sense to finance their new phone through the carrier or not.
    1. chemalito's Avatar
      chemalito -
      Am I the only one thinking that 10 million CDMA iPhones cannot be only for Verizon, but for the only "4G" network un USA aka Sprint?????? I mean, iPhone 4G on the only 4G Network, does that sound posible??? Or I am crazy?
    1. extremzocker's Avatar
      extremzocker -
      Quote Originally Posted by chemalito View Post
      Am I the only one thinking that 10 million CDMA iPhones cannot be only for Verizon, but for the only "4G" network un USA aka Sprint?????? I mean, iPhone 4G on the only 4G Network, does that sound posible??? Or I am crazy?
      nope, it wont be exclusive for either... Apple wont make something that cannot be sold in the rest of europe.
    1. Zehlek's Avatar
      Zehlek -
      I wonder if T-Mobile will ever get it
    1. 1shuttle1's Avatar
      1shuttle1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dupontdata View Post
      The increased ETF fee is not the problem, it's how ETFs and subsidies are handled. My suggestions for being fair on the issue which I think should be forced on all carriers. Some of these may already be in place:
      * Allow all phones to be purchased with or without a subsidy.
      * Clearly show the ETF when on a new contract
      * ETF should be reduced per month equal to the length of the contract. If you have $350 ETF with a 24 month contract, the amount of the ETF should go down $14.58/month which at 24 months would make it down to 0. Carriers make their money back to you equally per month (on average assuming you don't have overages), so they should reduce the "loan" equally each month.
      * On each bill, show the portion of your bill that covers the subsidy. It may just be the ETF/# of months from above. After your subsidy period is over, your bill should drop by the amount of the monthly subsidy until you buy another subsidized phone.
      * If you bring a phone to a carrier or otherwise purchase a phone without a subsidy, you should be able to purchase a lower rate plan since you would not be paying the subsidy back to the carrier. T-Mobile does offer such no-contract plans that have lower rates.

      These would seem like simple, logical requirements that are fair to everyone and provide transparency of the reductions in purchase price of the phone initially, the monthly payment you pay as a result of the subsidy. This will offer consumers an option to choose if it makes sense to finance their new phone through the carrier or not.
      Makes perfect sense which is why the phone company's don't use this approach. Again they want to keep you but setting the bar two high for the average person to change. Not by making the service better.
    1. Dayvidpriddy's Avatar
      Dayvidpriddy -
      I probably shouldn't be posting this but what the hell...

      Whenever I want to get out of my cell phone contract with WHOEVER, I find out where their service sucks (1-2 bars) and if I have a friend/relative etc who lives in that immediate location I get a change of address card from the DMV that makes it look like I have moved, change cell companies/get my ETF waived and go on about life lol.

      Trust me it works everytime! I have a lot of family who live in very rural areas where cell service is unheard of, I never have a problem! After the change I just simply call DMV back up and say "ooops I won't be moving afterall...cancel that new addy!"
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      Only reason they're raising it is the update the ETF with smartphones in mind. Back when the ETF was made/placed, all phones were just dumbphones and $175 for breaking a contract made up for that phone. But then phones got more expensive yet the ETF remained the same, causing a loophole in which you could save money by simply breaking the contract.

      In fact, a lot of people took advantage of this with the iPhone. What they failed to realize is that everytime someone did this AT&T lost about $200, which is unfair.

      Also, the ETF is reduced by $5 I believe for every month of service you go through so it does go down.

      All considered, this is a needed change that won't affect anyone. Only people that this will affect are people trying to cheat the system.
    1. zozodouce's Avatar
      zozodouce -
      Quote Originally Posted by wolverinemarky View Post
      sigh dont matter to me i am staying with AT&T have had it since cingular also and havent had any probs so I could care less about the ETF, and i do hope verizon gets the iphone that way all these whiners can go whine to verizon and bring their customer service down and their bandwidth to a crawl lol
      I fell the same way about these crying babies,with verizon network you can't talk and use the Internet at the same time and to me that's just garbage and AT&T network is faster than verizon so I'm going to stay with AT&T I don't have any problems with them in my area.
    1. srchino's Avatar
      srchino -
      I wonder how much would APPLE pay for an ETF with AT&T 5 year exclusivity