AT&T Increased Early Smartphone Upgrade Fee. What Happens When the iPhone 5 is Released?

There’s a curious relationship between a mobile carrier’s customer, the phone a customer buys, the subsidy for that phone, and the mobile carrier’s valuation of that subsidy. The end result is that phone companies would prefer you never buy a new phone unless they can increase your monthly phone bill through that action. And, even then, they would prefer you not buy a new phone more often than once every two years.

AT&T Wireless confirmed informatin about their revised smartphone upgrade pricing to BGR this week.

AT&T confirms early upgrade price changes for iPhone 4, other smartphones

Customers who fall under one of the two following circumstances will be charged an additional $150 when upgrading to a new smartphone:

1. Customers who are not yet eligible for a subsidized upgrade because they are still within an existing two-year contract
2. Customers who are eligible for a subsidized upgrade but do not want a contract committment

What will happen to iPhone 4 owners who bought their phone last summer when the iPhone 5 is released, presumably, later this year?

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