Did you get fully subsidized iPhone 4 price even with AT&T contract 6+ months from completion?

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!In AT&T’s June 7, 2010 press release, AT&T Mobility’s CEO Ralph de la Vega, stated, “We know that people are eager to get iPhone 4, which is why we moved up the upgrade eligibility date for current iPhone customers by up to six months.”

Six months.

So, then why did we get fully subsidized pricing on our iPhone 4’s when we are Day One iPhone 3GS buyers (not to mention Day One iPhone and iPhone 3G buyers)?

We paid $299 for each of our iPhone 4 32GB models, yet we bought our iPhone 3GS models less than 12 months ago. And, last June 19th, we paid dearly for the privilege.

Was the $299 price we got during our iPhone 4 pre-orders a computer error? Will we be charged another $200 per unit on June 24th? Or did we get it because we paid the full (unsubsidized) price for our iPhone 3GS units last June?

Has anyone else pre-ordered iPhone 4 models at the fully-subsidized prices ($199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB models) who was also more than 6 months from the end of their 24-month AT&T Mobility contracts?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe Architect” for proposing these questions.]


  1. Bought 2 3GS iPhones 1st day, but only 1 eligible now (family plan). Goes by how much you pay per month, how many months, your standing, etc.

    Bought 2 years AppleCare on each iPhone 3GS, don’t know if Apple will transfer 2nd year to iPhone4. Not that it’s possible to order one now …

    Just 1 iPhone4 sort of screws up the FaceTime bennie.

  2. I bought my 3GS for $150 from the refurbished section on at&t;’s website. All I did was wait a few months after it came out. Bought my kids the 3g for $50 ea refurbished too. They looked and smelled brand new, only difference was they were not in the fancy retail box, came with new cables and headphones. They have performed flawlessly. Apple refurbished gear is top notch, they make it like new.

    So I think I am going to wait awhile on iPhone 4, I paid full retail for the original when it came out, and vowed never again to do that..Now that the 3Gs is only $99, I think I will upgrade my kids though, but if I can find refurbs for $50 you bet I’m jumping on that.

    Explore your option people there are inexpensive ways to upgrade your kit..

  3. @rob nailed it. Luckily the first comment knew the answer. Even thought it is a 2 year contract, AT&T;makes you eligible for upgrade pricing after 18 months. This is to keep customers from even getting close to letting their contracts expire. They do this for all of their phones, not just smart phones and iPhones (smarter phones).

    So, yes, if you bought your 3GS in June 2009, you would normally be eligible for upgrade pricing of November 2010.

    Since AT&T;wants to lock in as many lucrative iPhone customers as possible before they lose the exclusive later this year, they bumped up all those upgrade dates.

    I have no problems with AT&T;’s coverage, or service, so this is great for me!

  4. I bought a 3G on day 1…but because I had changed phone numbers several times in the mean time my contract had been renewed and I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade until 6/9/2011. That was, until I went into the AT&T;store and pleaded my case that I hadn’t changed hardware in 2+ years, only phone numbers.

    They allowed me an early upgrade with no extra cost. Expecting my iPhone 4 on my doorstep June 24!

  5. Hmmm, it sounds like we are in the same boat: family plans. They are definitely making it up as they see fit. Her account is definitely the primary holder with mine being the second phone. Therefore, her account is the bulk of the cost with mine being the “share the minutes and pay the data plan only” phone.

    I am willing to bet they are treating family plans differently as the payback is sort of “shared” making the subsidization period longer. Even stranger is our spouses have different eligibility dates even though they were both purchased on day one? Would be nice if they explained the rules for upgrades instead of getting people riled up with inconsistencies.

  6. I was also an early 3GS purchaser, as well as 3G and Original, plus 3G iPad. I too was surprised to find that AT&T;was offering me the subsidized upgrade fee, charging me only $18 additional They said it was because I was such a “valued customer.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my order in on Tuesday. I’ll be interested to see what MDN is actually charged when the new phone arrives. I’d guess that you will get the subsidized price.

  7. AT&T;obviously did this because they’re losing their exclusivity soon, possibly as early as this year. I was only 10 months into my iPhone 3GS contract (which was my very first iPhone, by the way), meaning that I still had 14 months left on my contract! 14 months left!! Yet I got the 100% fully subsidized price for the iPhone 4.

  8. I bought a 32GB 3GS on Day 1 for $299, I am not elgible for an upgrade until February 21st with no no explanation from AT&T;. I ordered a 32 GB iPhone 4 for $499 and will work on the pricing with AT&T;in the meantime.

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