New iPhone, New 2-Year AT&T Contract

Some iPhone users are being told that they have to sign up for a new 2-year contract if they upgrade from the 8gb iPhone to the 16gb iPhone. Even though Apple’s website and AT&T’s internal official policy says this is not the case, some AT&T reps are insisting that customers have to extend their contract. Fortunately, they are completely misinformed. You just get your new iPhone, update your account through iTunes, and boom, you’re good to go, no contract extension.

Some 16GB iPhone upgraders forced to sign 2-year contract extensions [iPhone Atlas]
16 GB iPhone [Apple Discussions]
(Photo: Vince Brown (attila))


Edit Your Comment

  1. ConnerC says:

    I’m not sure how you can get “snookered”, the contract is handled off site (via iTunes), not at the AT&T location anyhow.

  2. humphrmi says:

    When I bought my iPhone, I didn’t sign up for a contract at the AT&T store at all. I took it home and activated it. If this is a problem at the AT&T stores, then a relatively painless solution is, take it home, dock it, and activate it via iTunes. Has anyone already tried this?

  3. FessLove says:

    The reps dont ever extend contracts with an iPhone, only phones that are activated in store. That is done through iTunes. There is literally NO POSSIBLE WAY a rep would do that. The contract is automatically applied when the customer goes through the setup process on iTunes. If your account is not supposed to resign the contract when activating, it will not do it. This is merely a miscommunication, that can not possibly cause a new contract that is not due.

  4. FessLove says:

    btw, great job of checking into your stories consumerist. This seems to be happening WAY too often on this site lately……

  5. pitawg says:

    @FESSLOVE: after the stories regarding quotas of CSRs, and the dual account openings, this is a very important story indeed. You say there is no way it could happen, and I see hidden dual accounts showing up on credit reports from starving agents creating new accounts instead of altering existing accounts.

    Ignore the deny’er and confirm everything with AT&T. That or suffer.

  6. humphrmi says:

    @humphrmi: Well I guess I should have read the linked article. At least one guy says he took his iPhone home, and “both iTunes and AT&T told me that I needed to extend my contract” (or some such – don’t have the exact words here.)

    I can’t imagine that iTunes works correctly for some people and not others. The linked article may not be Consumerist’s fault, but it does look a bit, uh, iffy.

  7. Empire says:

    @fesslove: RTFA. In other news, both iTunes and AT&T reps are apparently capable of doing the impossible, which is kind of cool.

  8. banmojo says:

    I can’t believe so many people are buying the 16gb iphone when the version 2 is due out in just a few months!!

  9. jeblis says:

    I don’t know why everyone complains about the contract. $400-500 dollar phone the you’ll likely use for two years anyway.

  10. ROTFLOL or ROTFLMAO Either way.

    When will people learn. DO NOT ADAPT EARLY. Do NOT BE THE FIRST KID ON THE BLOCK WITH THE NEW TOY. They will drop the price. They will improve the hardware. They will eventually end their stupid contract with AT&T and allow you to have an unlocked IPhone, or at least locked to some other provider, like TMob.

    I see hipsters with IPhones and I look and I laugh. I say, thanks for suffering while I save my money, enjoy my old Sony Phone and wait until I can have exactly what I want. They say, “I’m not suffering.” I say, “Did you get your $100 credit when they cut the price by $200 under what you paid?” Now, I can say, “Did you get reupped with AT&T when you traded in for the 16GB?” Ah, the laughs.

    It’s like Giants over Patriots schadenfreude all over again.

  11. Random_Tangent says:

    @PotKettleBlack: You sound like you lead a terribly fulfilling life.

  12. Antediluvian says:

    @PotKettleBlack: You’re right about almost all that stuff, but the funny thing is, you’re still wrong even then.

    I’m not suffering — honest, and I’m certainly not a hipster. I did, however, buy knowing full-well that there will be a better version at some point, possibly in a year, and there will be price drops.

    Why do you assume that I made this purchase blindly? Anyone over the age of 6 knows Apple regularly refreshes their product lines and usually drops the price on lower-end models at the same time.

    I balanced those facts against the cost and time, and I decided that I would get enough enjoyment out of the device for the n months prior to a new version that I should purchase it now.

    I don’t see any benefit in T-Mobile over AT&T for my purposes (I’d have preferred to stay with Verizon for coverage in New England, but there will not be a CDMA iPhone for several years, if ever), and it will be _5_ years — 5 years, again — before the exclusive contract with AT&T ends. Sure, there will be upgrades and price drops during that time. You’re welcome to wait and laugh your ass off on the floor while I’m enjoying my phone.

    Do you ACTUALLY enjoy your phone? Honestly? Because I genuinely enjoy using mine. You’ll have to get your schadenfreude somewhere else, bucko.

  13. Buran says:

    @banmojo: Please provide a link to an official source with definite info. I doubt you have inside info that we don’t. Of course there will be a new version at some point, but “in a few months” is just speculation.

  14. deadlizard says:

    The iPhone in the picture is not an Apple/AT&T sanctioned. Too many applications.

  15. CMU_Bueller says:

    @banmojo: Please point us to this enlightening link you seem to have.

  16. Buran says:

    @PotKettleBlack: Except, they aren’t getting contracts renewed, or if something goes wrong they just need to call in and get the mistake fixed, as the official line is that you do NOT fulfill a new contract.

    If you never buy anything because a new version will come out someday, you have to live like the stereotypical Amish dude, because EVERYTHING is like that. Some people want the use of the widget now and will upgrade when they want to. I’m one of those people who want a 3G iphone that I can install custom software on without hacks. But I have an iphone now, because I get the use out of the phone now, get to upgrade when the SDK comes out and add custom apps to it, and what’s stopping me from getting the upgrade and reselling the phone at that point when the new one arrives? I’m happy with my purchase and the phone is MUCH better than the low-quality-OS, no-video-driver, always-bogging-down AT&T Tilt I had before. Plus I am now on a service plan that costs $20 less per month.

    What’s not to like?

  17. Buran says:

    @deadlizard: It’s not illegal to modify your phone. It’s not even illegal to unlock it to work with a carrier other than AT&T, as per current DMCA exception. I haven’t modified my phone because you can’t with 1.1.3 and because the SDK is coming soon in any case so I won’t have to wait long for the IM client I need to make the phone do everything I want it to do; anything more than that becomes a bonus.

  18. bobfederal says:

    On another note, I spoke with an AT&T region manager in Southern California recently and told him I was thinking about the iPhone. He told me to get one before March because AT&T will be making major changes in their rates. He claims they lose money on every phone and didn’t realize how much the users would be taking advantage of the unlimited services.

  19. GearheadGeek says:

    @Antediluvian: Y’know, I have to say I do actually enjoy my phone. It’s not even a smartphone. I’ve tried to want one, but when I’m not working I don’t want the bulk of a smartphone (and I’m not all that impressed with the performance of tiny smartphones like the Q.

    I have a Sprint phone with fast EVDO, and I can tether my Palm via bluetooth when I need network services for that, and don’t have to carry it with me when I don’t need its functionality. Being on Sprint instead of Verizon means my phone runs Java and I can download and install J2ME applications.

    The iPhone is pretty, I’ll grant you. Just don’t kid yourself that no one likes his phone who doesn’t have an iPhone.

  20. GearheadGeek says:

    @bobfederal: Now if that’s true, THERE is a good cause for schadenfreude… AT&T getting their network hammered by all those evil iPhone users with the temerity to actually use their unlimited data plan. Surf away iPhone users, surf away!

  21. Buran says:

    @bobfederal: I doubt they didn’t know. And it’s not like unlimited plans haven’t been around for a long time. It’d also be really bad publicity (and shooting themselves and Apple in the foot) for them to revoke their unlimited data plan — it’d kill the simplicity aspect of the phone. So this one seems like speculation on the guy’s part to me. It could happen, but it doesn’t seem like a smart move.

  22. Antediluvian says:

    @GearheadGeek: (enjoying non-iPhones):
    I made the comment specifically in response to @PotKettleBlack‘s comment of “I see hipsters with IPhones and I look and I laugh. I say, thanks for suffering while I save my money, enjoy my old Sony Phone and wait until I can have exactly what I want.”

    I’ve no doubt that there are plenty of phones that are enjoyable. I enjoy my iPhone. It’s probable that someone else who owns one doesn’t enjoy it too. That said too, there are things I’d change about the iPhone, but it’s fun and useful — to me, and that’s really all that counts, right? :-)

  23. uricmu says:

    The iPhone is useful for certain things. It has the best compatibility with standard websites that I’ve seen on any phone (even though it has no flash). I’ve been able to use it to go into complex web forms such as intricate web mails, status checks, and so on while being far away from Wi-fi.

    That being said, not sure why anyone would pay much to upgrade from 8GB to 16GB. It’s not like either can have your entire music collection anyway, just go with an hard drive ipod if you need so much.

  24. Scuba Steve says:

    Not “misinformed”.. some CSRs are lying thieves. They will say and do anything to get a contract with four things working against you:

    1. They never write anything down.
    2. They do write stuff down, but lie and say they didn’t.
    3. You’ll probably never remember them since they can lie to you about who they are.
    4. The Turnover rate is so high that no one is willing to hold CSRs accountable for anything on a large scale.

  25. Curse_of_NursePornstein says:

    I dropped my iPhone while getting out of a cab; when it became apparent that it was MIA, I returned to the street to find it roadkill. I purchased a replacement, at which point the guy at the Apple Store told me to activate the phone as I would normally do a first phone. I belatedly realized that this might be a) incorrect and b)problematic and costly, so I called AT&T– only to be told that I had re-upped, so to speak, by initiating a second contract. They cancelled the first one, of course.

    I was peeved, I’ll admit. That said, I still love the phone and have not regretted buying one, even two, for a second. It’s perfect for me and has become an irreplaceable part of my daily life.

  26. bernsno says:

    wow… so people are buying a second one? People who already bought one, are buying a second phone for the extra storage. What do they do with the first?
    Apparently I need a new job.

  27. Curse_of_NursePornstein says:

    @Curse_of_NursePornstein: Moral of the story: swap out SIM cards.

  28. Buran says:

    @uricmu: I could. My collection is 11.something GB. I’m still debating whether to see if my local store will allow me to exchange my phone and just pay the price difference.

  29. ConnertheCat says:


    You actually can run homebrew apps on 1.1.3 Buran – trust me on that one. *plays games on phone* ;)