Renewing AT&T wireless contract early for new iPhone
July 8, 2010 12:38 AM   Subscribe

How can someone negotiate with AT&T to purchase the newest iPhone at the reduced price ($199) even though the contract isn't up until next March?

Hoping to buy my girlfriend the new iPhone, but her contract isn't up for over 7 months.

Here's honest talking points so far:
1. She's been a loyal AT&T wireless customer for a decade.
2. She's always gone with the bargain basement phones when renewing.
3. She's stuck with AT&T wireless even though the service is poor at her home (one, if any bars), in spite of living in Hollywood.
4. Verizon is allowing its customers to renew with a new phone up to 6 months before their contracts expire.

I don't know if #3 offers the best leverage, as she is thinking of cancelling her home land line and just using a cell phone... but would need to terminate her contract with AT&T early so she'd be able to use her new cell phone at home.

Alas, unsure if anyone has had luck negotiating this sort of thing with AT&T, or has inside knowledge of receiving the iPhone at the reduced cost....
posted by Unsomnambulist to Technology (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You are generally eligible for an upgrade long before your contract expires. You should make sure she isn't already eligible (she can find out online by logging in to her account, or by calling AT&T). AT&T already moved the eligibility dates for a lot of customers back several months so that they could qualify for the iPhone 4, so it should be pretty easy to negotiate.
posted by helios at 12:48 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Helios is correct. I'm just over a year into a two year agreement on a Blackberry Bold and I already qualify for a discount.
posted by gjc at 4:11 AM on July 8, 2010

I wasn't even a year into my contract and I qualified.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:32 AM on July 8, 2010

I think you have a pretty good shot at it, especially if you're willing to politely ask to speak to a supervisor. This is the kind of thing that can often get resolved with an escalation. That being said, don't be a jerk if they can't give you the reduced price. With the hot phones, sometimes the dictate comes down from On High that only qualified customers will get the cheapie price.

You should be aware that YOU will probably not have much luck with this, unless you are an authorized user on her account. They take account security pretty seriously. So if you were planning to do this on the sly and have it be a surprise, that may not be an option.
posted by ErikaB at 5:36 AM on July 8, 2010

Dial *639# to see if she is eligible.
posted by kimdog at 6:29 AM on July 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

Totally dial the number - I'm a year into my contract as of this August and I qualify.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:17 AM on July 8, 2010

I just dialed that number and found out I'm eligible, even though I've only had this iphone for 7 months! They really just want you to always be buying new phones. I would have to pay an $18 "upgrade fee" though.
posted by lunasol at 7:25 AM on July 8, 2010

not sure if this is true for existing ATT customers who don't currently own an iPhone. ATT is extremely lenient with this if you are already an iPhone customer. Not sure the OP's girlfriend is - which makes this a different ballgame.
posted by cusecase at 7:45 AM on July 8, 2010

I just went online, clicked, and purchased. It'll be here in a week or two. Current customer, contract not up until March 2011 (i.e. moved up by 10 months).
posted by fixedgear at 12:11 PM on July 8, 2010

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