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AT&T to Boost ETF to $325

Article Comments  99  

May 21, 2010, 1:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper
updated May 21, 2010, 4:02 PM

Today the Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T is going to follow Verizon Wireless' footsteps by nearly doubling its early termination fees. Starting June 1, smartphones and laptops will carry a fee of $325 (up from $175). The smartphone ETF will fall by $10 for each month a customer stays in his/her contract. Feature phones will come with an ETF of $150 (down from $175). The feature phone ETF will fall by $4 for each month a customer stays in his/her contract. The changes will only apply to new contracts signed June 1 or later, and won't apply to existing contracts. AT&T calls the changes a "fair approach." The changes go into effect weeks before the next version of the iPhone is expected to go on sale. AT&T insisted the fee has "nothing to do with the iPhone or any other device."

more info at Wall Street Journal »



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This forum is closed.


May 22, 2010, 5:08 PM

No one is mentioning...

No one is mentionging the fact they dropped the ETF on feature phones.

Why do people think the ETF should be the same on some cheap phone as a smartphone? Smartphones get subsidized far more then dumbphones. Of course smartphones have requesite data plans, but that's reflected in the fact that the smartphone ETF drops faster then dumphone ETF.

I don't work for AT&T, don't even have an AT&T phone, but I don't think you have to be to grasp the logic of this. /shrug.
While they did drop the ETF on dumbphones, at $4 a month prorated, the customer is still on the hook for over $50 through the last day of the 24th month of their contract. On smartphones, it's even worse now since they didn't raise the prorating. Canc...

May 21, 2010, 2:38 PM

This is a load of crap

Quite frankly, if you're going to charge me a $325.00 ETF to recoup on a device handset, sell me the damn phone unlocked from the start.
Bingo! US carriers suck ass when it comes to locking GSM phones to specific carriers. Europe, Asia, and other regios do not and it gives customers the flexibility not to be bound by a ball and chain to a ****ty carrier once they find out the service i...
This is the ATT Business Plan. Watch what Verizon does, then follow suit.
bluecoyote said:
Quite frankly, if you're going to charge me a $325.00 ETF to recoup on a device handset, sell me the damn phone unlocked from the start.

Now you can't return your iPhone. Pity.
There is a way around this. You just have to purchase the phone at full retail and sign a No Commitment Agreement. Of course, that does mean paying $499, $599, or $699 for an iPhone; $500 for a Blackberry Bold 9000:$450 for a Motorola Backflip; or $52...

Most carriers would be more than happy to sell you the device outright, and sign you up with a no-contract (or minimal contract, i.e. 1-month) to get it fired up on the network.

Here's a crazy idea... pony up the money to pay for what the ...
I am pleasantly surprised that you remain consistent (for the first time that I can recall) in criticizing AT&T just as you did Verizon for the increased ETF. I shall do the same. AT&T has every right to charge the ETF. The phone CAN be purchased a...
All phones should be sold unlocked.

As for pricing, I'm okay with a device being sold at full retail cost (from a carrier or direct from the manufacturer, or through intermediaries), but I can understand subsidized, contracted device purchases when...

May 23, 2010, 12:42 PM

This is An Attempt To Stave Off The Upcoming Mass Exodus ...

... of subscribers when the Verizon version of the iPhone comes out.
Wouldn't offering better rate plans (think Sprint) prevent this?
DMZ said:
... of subscribers when the Verizon version of the iPhone comes out.

Is this definitely going to happen? Will verizon get an iphone of its own to sell? I thought they were not getting an iphone, if they coul...
This post is misinformed.

Verizon has been "getting the iPhone in a few months" for 2 1/2 years. The likelihood of VZW landing iPhone any time soon (like, before their LTE network is bug-free and available nationwide) is small, at best.


May 21, 2010, 2:05 PM

This kind of does make sense for GSM carriers.

Seeing as how it is much easier to buy a ATT phone, break the contract, and sell the phone elsewhere for a potential profit(referring to a GSM global market).

In comparison, CDMA phones are usually locked to the specific carriers, unless you go to metroPCS. But again, the phone is now locked on to their system.

Now I realize there are people that have the skill to be able to unlock and hack equipment and things of that nature. I wasn't referring to those people at all. If you have the know how, more power to you I suppose. Smile
Its bullcrap either way, gsm or cdma, I bitched when VZW did it and the same with AT&T. The real truth to this, is AT&T is planning on giving those with iphones and early upgrade if on for a year (or something along those lines). So they lock them i...
Eventually (and probably thru FCC regulation), carriers will be required to any and all models of phones to be compatible with their networks, provided they are of the same network type (GSM or CDMA). This way, customers would be able to purchase a ph...
working man

May 22, 2010, 3:11 PM

nothing but greed!

Just like Verizon it's all about the money. Nuff said. Long live US Cellular!
Why would a company be in business if they aren't there to make money? I'm sure US Cellular is running at a loss every quarter, and they're looking for ways to lose even more in the future, right?
Nothing wrong with greed. It's easy to castigate the haves when one is a have not. Become a CEO of major corp and THEN get back to me when you start giving away the farm.

May 22, 2010, 9:15 AM

I honestly don't mind it.

Most of you guys do realize that the handsets are purchased at full price from manufacturers right? It's not a "buy in bulk for $10 a phone and mark up to $100" kind of thing.

This isn't bad, considering that a BB device for example has an average cost from manuf. of around $500, some are higher. The PDA devices all have a lowest cost of around $299 for crap devices like the Nokia Surge, so on *most* devices, an ETF of $375 is still losing money even having the ETF paid out. It's just not as much.
The ETF could be a million dollars and it wouldn't matter as long as one honor one's contract.

May 23, 2010, 8:21 AM

AT&T The Unoriginal

AT&T isn't reporting a higher "churn" rate so what's really the purpose other than exploiting consumers? If they are worried about consumers breaking contracts raise that ETF but give customers the opportunity to purchase the handsets (iPhone) at full price.

This is clearly attempt to follow the industry leader (Verizon) and grab more profits. AT&T is so unoriginal and follows everything Verizon does. They will never be number 1 as long as they rely on corporate strategies of other companies namely Verizon.

Shame on you AT&T!

Verizon starts offering an unlimited, AT&T follows

Verizon targets AT&T in ads, AT&T follows

Verizon decides to exploits it's customers via ETF hikes, AT&T follows
Shame on AT&T indeed!!
You may want to check your temperature. Something is giving you a loss of short term memory.

Until January, 2009, Verizon had been #2 for years. In fact, their margin of leadership (the "distance" between them and the nearest competitor - AT&T) has...
flip mode

May 22, 2010, 11:21 PM


could it be? someone has run a foul at at&t? Eh?

May 21, 2010, 2:33 PM

I call BS

"The changes go into effect weeks before the next version of the iPhone is expected to go on sale. AT&T insisted the fee has "nothing to do with the iPhone or any other device."

I guarantee it has everything to do with this, lol.
No it doesn't. ATT said so. It's right there in the statement they made. Very Happy
AT&T has been itching to pull the trigger on this since Verizon did the same thing. They simply waited to see if the government would get involved and if there be a backlash against the fee (which there has not been here at VZW).

Good for them bei...
I'm wondering what took them so long? I guess they were waiting to see what the fallout would be after Verizon announced their $250 Advanced Device ETF. I said it then that if I were them I would have raised it on the iphone at least the next day af...

May 21, 2010, 2:48 PM

Fine for the iPhone...not for the others...

I agree with doing that for the iPhone. AT&T discounts that by $400. And lord knows folks like to buy the iPhone, sell it on eBay and claim it was lost or stolen. It will put a BIG hamper on folks who do that pretty often.

But seriously, all the other phones get a discount of $150 our of the store and at the most, a mail in of $100. So we are at $250 of total savings. How can AT&T charge the extra $75?
Actually, some other Smartphone devices are actually sold under cost even if you buy them outright. The additional revenue generated by the data plans offset the additional cost.

For instance, most stores will sell a Blackberry Bold 9700 for around...

May 21, 2010, 2:44 PM

Go prepaid!!!!

While there aren't a lot of smartphones out there on the prepaid market, and the coverage is not QUITE as good (but plenty good for me), why anyone would not consider prepaid is beyond me. The phone is a little more expensive at the start, but the monthly costs are so much better. And, you can change over to a new phone anytime you want without penalty.

I just switched to the Boost Mobile $50 plan (and it is just $50 dollars...no fees, taxes, etc...they are all built in). It uses the Sprint native network, and while not as comprehensive as Verizon, works beautifully for me. NEVER a dropped call...NEVER call quality issues.

Contracts and fees are so ridiculous. Go prepaid and save yourself the haggle.
Do you know what "Haggle" means?
Let me know when boost gets the IPHONE!!
The big draw on postpaid service isn't even the service necessarily (although it is, in some cases), but it's the devices that are offered.

Generally, devices that are marketed as prepaid devices are crap. Well, that may not be fair, but they are g...
iDont Care

May 21, 2010, 2:45 PM

Monkey see, monkey do

Anyone surprised they followed Big Red? No, I didn't think so. Rolling Eyes
He said if Verizon can get awayh with it, then ATT will follow suit.
Which is smart business. Let someone else make mistakes, learn from them and reap the benefits. As usual, people are turning this around and making it seem like VZW and AT&T are somehow screwing their customers, which is the farthest thing from the tr...

May 21, 2010, 3:44 PM

pretty sure verizon will get the iPhone

at&t is scared the a bunch of current iphone users and new iphone users will jump ship for vzw. The subsidy is huge on those phones the only way to protect it is with a huge term fee.
the etf wont change for those currently in contract because it would be a material change to the customers existing contract where the etf would be waived for us changing the terms.. The ETF is supposed to be disclosed in the recap with a customer wh...
AT&T and Apple Exclusivity deal isn't up till 2012... yes... then they will... I assume... Rolling Eyes

May 22, 2010, 5:28 PM

Called it!

It look a little longer than I thought but it was coming no matter what.

May 21, 2010, 6:17 PM

I don't get the complaining....

You know before hand the terms, if you don't like it, don't sign the contract!!

It's called making a choice. No one forces you to go with a certain company or plan.
Shocked i did not know we could choose I thought only company out there is AT&T
I agree with you 100% The only thing this new ETF does is prevent the company from losing money. If you don't like it, don't sign the contract!
Very true. Also, ATT gives you 30 days to return the equipment and cancel service without having to pay the ETF. If you do not like the equipment, return it during that period and get rid of the service.

There are only 2 types of people that the i...

May 21, 2010, 3:00 PM

incorrect info.

laptop cards(usb) and the like, will have the 150.00 etf. but netbooks will have the 325.00

i think the new etf have something to do with the new iphone but not entirely. if a company is losing money with fraudulent activity, they put in place procedures to stop it. this being one.

imo american wireless carriers need to go pre paid and have consumers buy phones from manufacturer. that way a provider can be just that. cellular service provider.
TOTALLY AGREED! That would make it to where the providers would have to allow any phone that uses their technology to use their systems, which is GREAT for the consumer ... but probably would wind up losing the carrier money with kickbacks and whatno...

May 22, 2010, 12:00 AM

AT&T are the Same Company...

Twisted Evil Can you people see this..........anyways it dont matter to me because im not gonna get another contract. Just buy the phones outright. Nokia N8 Baby! then 3 months later somethin better will come out. Evil or Very Mad

May 21, 2010, 2:33 PM

Not Surprised...

...In fact, I think we all expected this.
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