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Heads Up: AT&T Raising ETF to $325 for Smartphones

In a move all too similar to Verizon around the release of the Motorola Droid, AT&T will be upping the early termination fee for its smartphone devices effective June 1st. The new fee will be $325, with $10 knocked off for each month you manage to stay in-contract. Pundits are already questioning whether the move indicates the fear of early cancellations from iPhone users when the next generation of the device is announced, citing the centuries old rumors that Verizon or some other carrier may pick up the handset.

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While AT&T doesn’t currently host the large variety of Android devices that other carriers offer, there are a few heading their way in the near future, and we are assuming this news applies to those handsets as well. Looks like $325 and up is going to be the new norm if you want to cut ties with your carrier before your contract expires, so unless you are made of money or don’t buy your phone on contract, if you’re picking up a phone on AT&T anytime soon make sure its a good one.

[via GigaOM]




  • Android Newb

    AT&T is worried that people are going to leave the Iphone to get an Android w/ Froyo. The Flash is ultimately what’s gonna kill the Iphone.

  • JohnW

    Yep. HTC EVO goes live June 4th too. They are locking folks in on June 1st. They know what’s going to happen. AT&T folks…if you want out, GO NOW! (and be phoneless for three days). The bombshells at Google I/O have felled a powerful blow to the future of Apple-powered devices. Not too mention; all but swearing-off Flash wasn’t a good move. Google TV coupled with Android is going to be a biggy.

  • wintersg3

    At least they lower it as time goes on. Verizon keeps theirs at $350 right up to the last day.

  • GODCYPH

    The new ETF would only affect customers signing new contracts from this point forward. Existing customers, iPhone or otherwise, are exempt from this new fee as the contract they signed contains the previous fee.

    Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Google was the first to charge a $350 ETF with the Nexus One, so thanks goes to Google, I guess. LOLZ

  • JoshUng

    I think the biggest factor is that Verizon got away with it, so why not AT&T too?

    Also, I thought Verizon did knock $10 off a month too. I remember because if you cancelled with a week left on the contract, besides be kind of dumb, you’d still owe a $110 ETF.

  • GODCYPH

    Actually, I just looked it up, and Verizon was the first (Oct 9, 2009), about 4 months before Google.

    Thanks Big Red!

  • Jojie M.

    They’re scared of the highly anticipated launch of the HTC EVO in 2 weeks!!!

  • DannyB

    > if you’re picking up a phone on AT&T anytime soon
    > make sure its a good one.
    .
    HA HA HA HA HA HA I see what you did there.
    .
    I’m waiting for AT&T to show their Android phones. I don’t have high hopes. But I would be happy to be proven wrong. I’m anticipating switching carriers. I’ve been out of contract for awhile, but I have five lines on my plan. I would end up with 4 on AT&T and 1 on something less annoying. Gee, can you tell I’m frustrated?

  • Matt H

    I’m right there with you, DannyB. I’ve seen rumors about the HTC Desire, the HTC Legend, and the Dell Streak all coming to AT&T this summer, but if I don’t have a good offering by late June, I’m moving my whole family to Verizon. C’mon, At&T, get with the program.

  • digitalicecream

    I hear that the cost of your plan is going to drop, from a reliable source. I think they are trying to be more competitive and attempt to keep their contracts, I also heard something different. The Iphone may stay exclusive and the higher ETF’s are designed to keep folks from bailing out and making huge profits on ebay. Go figure.

  • digitalicecream

    @Android Newb; Flash is not going to kill the iphone. I’m sorry but thats just not going to happen, just take into account how many iphones are out there world wide. The idea that Flash would kill the iphone is silly. HTML5 may kill Flash, and that may be what Apple is counting on. Google will be prepped for it if, and when, it does. The other thing you need to take into account is that the iphone may consider taking Flash 10.1 if the bugs and security issues are worked out. Don’t count iPhone out yet, instead be grateful that Apple has spurred Google to be so creative and inventive. In the end, we the consumers will win.

  • ari-free

    HTML5 isn’t going to kill flash. You have to remember that all the casual users that iphone is supposed to appeal to actually like all the little flash games, animated cursors, facebook apps etc.

  • dave

    I doubt the price rise is because of Froyo because this new price will only apply to people taking out new contracts now.

  • C

    They’re talking about contracts signed on June 1st or later, not prior contracts. Your contract with At&t will stand.

  • digitalicecream

    @Ari. Are you saying that iPhone’s games are Flash based?

  • cj

    verizon’s does start at 350, but goes down the same 10 a month.

  • *rizzo

    WOOT. glad i got outta a&tt. best of all no contracts.

  • craig

    Is this going to change current customers on AT&T or just the new ones?

  • Tom Martin

    Verizon allows upgrades five months early if you stay with Verizon.

    I bought my Droid in November 2009 with a 24 month plan. I can buy a new Droid (the Droid Super Incredible? with Android 3.1 :))in June 2011 without ETF.

  • The_Omega_Man

    Soooo, does that mean that potential next gen. iPhone buyers face this at&t ETF now???

    Can you even buy and iPhone , subsidized through at&t? (Asks a Verizon customer, who has been so for more years than I can remember)

  • 3g_user

    I haven’t been under contract for 6 years. I would rather pay more for a phone unlocked than be enslaved to any provider (whether it be AT&T, Verizon, etc).

  • digitalicecream

    @Craig, This affects new customers only and those who renew their contract (say to get a iphone 4 subsidized). So if you are in current contract and you have no intention of renewing your contract then you’re safe. If you are out of contract you are obviously safe. But you may also see a lower monthly bill or pricing plan on their packages, so I’m told.

  • digitalicecream

    @3g_user, how often do you change carriers? I have just switched to Verizon after being with ATT for 11 years. For me, subsidize away. I got my motodroid for $9, my Droid Inc for $130 and my LG for free. $140 for three phones and I finally have signal at home. I’m not leaving Verizon anytime soon.

  • going_home

    Thats why I will be buying my next phone outright and not extending the contract.
    :D

  • Christian

    Call AT&T now… ask for a copy of your contract. I just got mine, it says that my ETF is $175. There is no text in the document that says it’s subject to change without notice. If they choose to charge me more, I’m planning on dangling this in front of their face.

  • http://www.androidmsg.com Androidmsg

    This price is very attractive

  • iphonedroppedforevo

    like some of you guys were saying if you are in contract the day before june 1st you will still have a 200$ etf fee, im going to gladly pay that to get me and my wife hands on the htc evo… besides i will be saving about 80 bucks a month off my bill