AT&T isn't allowing iPhone 4 users under contract to upgrade to the iPhone 4S at subsidized pricing announced by Apple yesterday. The company has previously adjusted upgrade eligibility dates to coincide with new hardware launches, such as when iPhone 3GS users moved to the iPhone 4 in 2010.
Online reports claim that AT&T reps are being told to tell customers that Apple is to blame for this. I decided to give AT&T a call and find out for myself.
As an iPhone 4 early adopter, I'm not eligible for an upgrade until February 2012. The chatty AT&T rep I spoke to confirmed that I wasn't eligible as I already knew. I asked if AT&T planned to change the upgrade eligibility date as they did with past launches so current iPhone 4 users could upgrade at the subsidized pricing.
The rep said there are currently no plans, but they had been receiving information in all day and I was urged to check back on Monday. Furthermore, the AT&T rep told me that "everyone there" expected an iPhone 5, perhaps hinting that a moderate upgrade wasn't enough for AT&T to bend the rules again.
I further questioned the rep about the 18 month upgrade eligibility rule. He said it used to be based on how much your month bill was but that policy had since been changed due to unfair use on family plans. Now there is a uniform 18 month policy in place.
The operator said I was the 32 caller he took today. Of the 32, three were related to billing issues and one was for tech support. The remaining 28 calls were all regarding the iPhone 4S.