May 11th 2010
By Mike Flaminio
Some iPhone customers under contract may become eligible early for a subsidized iPhone upgrade, according to reports.
Mobile Crunch is reporting that it appears AT&T might be changing the upgrade status for some iPhone customers. The site reports that a few individual have seen their upgrade status changed from November 2010 to June 21. We checked around and at least ours family plan remains unchanged from last summer's purchase. AT&T seems to have a complex method of deciding upgrade eligibility based on the subscriber's rate plans. Generally it seems depending on the individual contract, customers may be eligible to upgrade anywhere from 12 to 24 months from the contract start. Obviously the more money you spend at AT&T, the sooner the company recoups it's handset subsidy.
Last year there was considerable angst over the subsidy upgrades for the iPhone 3GS. The original iPhone had no subsidy and carried no upgrade terms, so when users purchased an iPhone 3G they could get a subsidy whenever they decided to purchase. In the minds of consumers this set a precedence of yearly fully subsidy and many people were upset when they found they were not eligible. This could potentially be a move to help avoid a repeat of this scenario while at the same time locking customers into two more years at AT&T.
Apple' WWDC is slated for June 7th, which is widely expected to include the iPhone launch. Also AT&T has blocked off June for employee vacations, which the company has done in the past for the iPhone launches. If this pans out and isn't just unrelated it would seem yet another star aligning for the iPhone launch in June.
Early adopters, rejoice: AT&T begins rolling back upgrade eligibility dates for the next iPhone