The Only Way To Avoid Paying A Fee For iPhone Upgrade Is To Pay Full Price

iphone666Earlier this week, we looked at the various offers being thrown out by the four major wireless carriers in their attempts to attract people switching to the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. What was left out of that discussion — and which seems to be catching a number of customers by surprise today — is that some of them must pay a fee to upgrade.

For example, over in the AT&T forums, numerous customers are complaining that they have to pay a $40 fee to upgrade to the new iPhone, even if they are out of contract and willing to sign up for another two years. That brings the total for the phone up to $239 for the least expensive version of the phone (assuming you aren’t trading in your old phone).

The only way to escape this fee is to switch to the AT&T Next program, which requires the customer to pay the full price (starting at $649) spread out in installments over up to two years.

Customers are complaining — and not without good reason — and some are saying they will switch to another provider.

If they do switch to Verizon, they could take advantage of the $200 gift card offer that can be used to pay for the phone, but everything we’ve seen shows that you’ll still be hit with Verizon’s “activation” fee on top of the price of the phone. Additionally, the only way to get that $200 offer is to trade in an older iPhone. Sorry, Android users.

Current Verizon customers are in the same boat as AT&T customers — if you want to get the phone at the $199 price (without trading in your old device) you’ll have to pay an upgrade fee in addition to the cost of the phone. AT&T is offering competitive trade-in pricing for your old phones, but customers who switch will have to pay the activation fee.

The only way to avoid an activation fee from Sprint is to pay full price for the device via Sprint’s Easy Pay system. That is also the only way to get Sprint’s new $50/month unlimited data plan for iPhones.

And T-Mobile no longer offers data plans that include subsidized phones, so anyone switching to T-Mo will have to pay the full sticker price for the phone. Though it has also said it will match all competitors’ trade-in offers, so this is a way to knock a couple hundred dollars off the total you pay.

So if you want to pay the $199 price for a phone at any of the major national carriers, you’re probably going to have to pay either an upgrade or activation fee on top of that. None of this is new or specific to the iPhone 6 models; it’s just been pushed into spotlight because of the popularity of this launch.

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