AT&T Extends Price Protections to New iPhone 3GS Buyers

AT&T is extending the umbrella for upgrades to more existing iPhone customers. The company announced that recent buyers of the iPhone 3GS would be able to get an iPhone 4 without the early termination fee (ETF).

Anyone who purchased an iPhone 3GS has two choices. If their purchase was made between May 7 and May 14, they can pre-order an iPhone 4 before June 14 and only pay the difference in cost between what they paid for the 3GS and what the iPhone 4 will sell for. If they bought a phone between May 7 and May 21, then they have until June 21 to pre-order the phone.

Alternatively, those 3GS owners can seek a credit between what they paid and what will be charged. AT&T (NYSE: T) has reduced the pricing of both the 16GB and 32GB 3GS models to $149 and $199, respectively, from their prior prices of $199 and $299, respectively.

Also, those who bought the 8GB iPhone 3GS won't be able to participate since there is not an 8GB iPhone 4 model.

These deals are being offered as a special one-time iPhone Price Protection policy for customers that purchased their iPhones within the 30 days of the June 7 announcement and subsequent price reduction of the 3GS. An AT&T spokesperson said this is "standard policy" of price protection.

The iPhone comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, and AT&T is extending its price protection policy as well, since such a policy normally does not apply to the iPhone. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) does not discount the iPhone anywhere, selling it for the same price in every outlet it's in, so price protection really is not necessary for this line of phones.

This deal comes on top of the one Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced at the company's recent Worldwide Developer Conference. Jobs said any existing iPhone customer whose contract was up some time in 2010 would qualify for an immediate upgrade without having to pay an early-termination fee.

This meant someone with a contract running out at the end of the year won't have to wait for it to end, or pay the ETF. That's good news, since AT&T recently jacked its ETFs sky high. Effective June 1, 2010, the ETF for smartphone customers went from $175 to $325, scaling down with each passing month of the contract.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, Apple, AT&T, iPhone 3G S, pricing