AT&T Forcing iPhone Pre-Paid Customers Into Two-Year Contracts

AT&T has decided that iPhone owners who are on pre-paid GoPhone plans aren’t good for the bottom line, so they’re pulling the plug on the service. Well, sort of: Erica Sadun was told that if she didn’t go on a two-year contract with AT&T, her service quality would be degraded.

“This is a recommendation,” the technical support person told me. “If you decide not to go, it’s okay but we’re informing customers that service will not be up to par.”

I asked if they were deliberately cutting out GoPhone customers from full Internet access (and mind you, I asked this in several ways, at least three or four times), and was told ‘Yes.’ “This will affect logging onto the Internet and using your data services.”

UPDATE: TUAW has updated the post after getting a response from AT&T:

The prepaid crackdown for iPhone applies to only some prepaid plans. PayAsYouGo GoPhone customers will be affected but not PickYourPlan GoPhone customers, who will be safe from service degradation. Brad Mays of AT&T tells TUAW that they are briefing their reps to better convey the distinction to customers.

“AT&T signals an abrupt end for some prepaid iPhone plans” [TUAW] (Thanks to Daniel and Brian!)