AT&T early upgrade (contract not quite over) without penalty?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nagromme, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. nagromme, Sep 19, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014

    nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I wanted to avoid the $250 early-upgrade fee, yet order a new iPhone (on a new 2-year contract, not AT&T Next) WITHOUT waiting until my current contract is up (in 10 days).

    What's the truth about this?

    A) AT&T SOMETIMES will do this. When I called AT&T (611), they said Yes--no problem, since I have less than 30 days to go (in fact, only 10 days). They were very organized and helpful... but they accidentally disconnected me before telling me how to proceed.

    B) AT&T NEVER lets people start a new contract early without penalty. When I called AT&T back, I talked to 2 people who firmly said this.


    C) AT&T will do this but only wthin the SAME CALENDAR MONTH. That's what AT&T has told me most recently. She said that IF my contract ended Sep. 29, I could have done a penalty-free early upgrade as early as Sep. 1. But, because my contract ends Sep. 30, I cannot: it would mean moving my upgrade date from an October day (10/1) to a late-September day, which is impossible. (What?!?)

    Which is true?

    Has anyone gotten an early upgrade (to a contract, not AT&T Next)? How can this be achieved? Can AT&T do something in their system that would allow me to order from and not see the $250 penalty?


    EDIT: Here's the first thought I had, which has already been answered below (No):

    Will AT&T let you buy iPhone 6 BEFORE contract up, and simply ADD another 2 years' commitment after the end of my current contract? (I know you can't simply "bail" on the current contract.)

    If so, can you still order through Apple and this extension will just happen automatically, or what's the procedure?

    Of course I'll call AT&T, but I want to be pre-armed with info. Thanks in advance!
  2. SetHutBlue42 macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2014
    Nope - you have to do AT&T Next if you want an early upgrade.
  3. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Thanks. They're not getting me that way! I'll hold out until October.

    (It sounds like a good option they could offer: they'd still spend and receive the same money: 1 phone per 2 year contract. They'd have to limit it of course--you couldn't do it again and again or you'd never reach the end!)
  4. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    If your current iPhone user then they should allow you to upgrade about a month early. That's how it was when my father had AT&T. Verizon, that's a different story unfortunately but this year they did bump it up for some reason.

    Btw, it shouldn't add 2 years, it should just replace your current contract.
  5. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Thanks--good point--I guess I did hear about people doing that. You can't order through Apple in that case, right? You have to order through AT&T?

    (I wouldn't trust if AT&T told me a delivery date--it might be safer to just wait.)
  6. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    Apple checks with AT&T to see if you are eligible, so if AT&T allows you to upgrade early, you can order with Apple as well.
  7. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Awesome. Thanks!

    Maybe AT&T's not doing that currently (I only have 2-3 weeks to go and it says not eligible) but I will keep checking!
  8. mnsportsgeek macrumors 68000

    Feb 24, 2009
    Add a new line with a new number. Buy iPhone on contract.

    When your current contract ends, swap the numbers between lines.

    Cancel old line.
  9. ronm99 macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2012
    You can try calling them up ... you might be able to encourage them :)
  10. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
  11. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I called AT&T and heard conflicting reports on this. Is it still true?

    (I updated my question above.)
  12. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    It was a few years ago. Now we're all on Verizon so I really couldn't tell you. Sorry.
  13. dasams macrumors member


    May 6, 2011
    I think ATT Next is the way to go and that's what I did. Here's why.

    My wife and I share 10 gb on the family plan and we pay $100 plus $15 each for our iPhones. Total is $130 plus all the little stuff. The access fee has been discounted from $40 but that discount has expired. You can't get the discount any more on a phone under contract as the $25 difference goes toward paying it off.

    So I moved to Next and got ownership of my 1 yr old iPhone 5S (32 GB worth ~ $300). Wife's is iP5 and the 2 yr contract just ended. Our new fee structure is $100 + $15 + $15. Her phone qualifies for the $25 discount on the access fee ($40) since it's paid off. I have an 64 GB iP6 that costs $37 a month and I also get the $25 discount via Next. So I'm paying a $12 premium ($15 + $37 vs $40) for the right to get a new phone next year. And I didn't pay the $40 activation fee or the $199 upfront cost (which I would get back when I sold the phone).
  14. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Thanks--I know it can work out differently with multi-person plans. (I'm just one individual.) Next was ALMOST worth it for me, but not. (I don't intend to get a new iPhone before my next 2 years are up.)

    The 2-year cost for me would be $50 higher on Next vs. a regular contract. Now, if I waited another 4 months after the 2 years, Next would pay for itself—it's $15/month cheaper at that point—but I doubt I'll wait a full 4 months to get the 2016 iPhone. More like 0 or 1 month. And I can always switch plans (or even carriers?) if I do want to keep this phone more than 2 years. New options may emerge.
  15. KingFudd macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    I called AT&T to pay my ETF of $165 so I could upgrade to 6+. I chose cancellation department because I didn't know which department to talk to. I told the rep my intentions from the beginning and he offered to renew my contract 8 months early which was really surprising. So no etf. I even turned on my recorder because I thought it was really strange he let me do that. It was not the next plan because I paid $400+ tax. Only thing is that I have to wait about a month. I'm alright with that.
  16. bronzini macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2009
    Yeah, us single party lines get housed on some of these deals. If I change my plan, i might lose unlimited data, so not touching a thing.
  17. Floydpink, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014

    Floydpink macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2012
    Orlando Florida
    I just switched to Tmo after 14 years with ATT due to their hardball tactics and couldn't be happier.

    Coverage is great and I feel so liberated from those thugs.

    I was up on Oct 18 and asked to have it pushed up so I could preorder the 6 and they wouldn't budge.

    I gave up unlimited data, but never went over 2gigs a month and now share 10gigs on a 4 person account and Pandora and other streaming music doesn't count towards data usage, which was where a good chunk of my usage comes from.

    Knocked about $60 bucks off my bill each month
  18. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002

    I'm only 10 days away, and said (quite honestly) that I was looking at changing carriers--and they politely told me "see ya!" It was the highest manager a person can speak to at AT&T, supposedly.

    Sadly, there is no clear better deal for my needs: T-Mobile is equal in cost, and has no overage fees, but lacks coverage where I go. Verizon has BETTER coverage, but much higher individual pricing (I don't need mass amounts of data). So I doubt I'll leave AT&T... yet.
  19. ScottJ macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    I received an early upgrade from AT&T on Saturday by calling the Retentions Department and asking for an early standard upgrade. I was due for a regular standard upgrade in 34 days. Once I got connected to the Retentions Department, all I had to do was to request the early upgrade; I didn't have to threaten to cancel or anything negative.

    The only hitch is that to get an early upgrade, you have to order the upgrade through AT&T through the Retentions Department. That means a loooong wait for delivery, longer if you want a 6 Plus. At the time I ordered, estimated shipping time was 14 to 21 business days. (For me, this means I could possibly get the phone a couple of weeks to a couple of days early...)

    To get to the AT&T Retentions Department, call their regular customer service number. Once you get to the main menu, you'll be presented with five options; select 5 (Account Information, etc.). At the next menu, select 5 (cancel service), and you'll be connected to the Retentions Department.

    At 10 days for a regular upgrade, I'd probably wait it out and order from Apple for in-store pickup the same day.
  20. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Retention--thanks for the tip. But I probably will wait, as you say!
  21. ssl0408 macrumors 65816

    Sep 22, 2013
    New York
    I was offered subsidy pricing as well by calling the retentions department but the truck was that they wanted me to order through them and not APPLE. They're backordered by at least 5 weeks so I said no way.
  22. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    I got an early upgrade - by a YEAR.

    How? Easy, walked in the ATT store on Friday, after about a 45 minute wait. got a new phone on NEXT. Pricing was WAY cheaper than the 2 year contract was.

    Again, my 5s is not due for an upgrade.
  23. spacemnspiff macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    I just called ATT 611 and customer relations. They were allowing me to upgrade early, my contract doesnt end til Nov 19th 2014. The only hitch was I had to order it through ATT retentions, they cannnot change account to reflect early upgrade so you can order it from any retailer.
    I wanted to either buy it from Apple store and get a credit for the iPhone 5 or thru Radioshack ($50 itunes card).

    What I forgot to ask was delivery dates for iPhone 6 64Gb and iPhone 6+ 64Gb grey.
  24. iosuser, Sep 23, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014

    iosuser macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2012
    That's not an early upgrade. You'll be paying for it spread out over 20mos or whatever you chose.

    My second line got a 13mos early upgrade :eek: My own line has been up since this past July, so I called up AT&T the Thursday before the iPhone 6 preorder began. Started with the usual BS, ends with we'll waived your activation fee. I accepted.

    Then, because I had nothing better to do at the time, I asked about my second line that got 5s upgrade last October. I just said the user of that line is thinking about taking advantage of Sprint's "iPhone for life" and their paying our ETF. Starts with the expected knock on Sprint's service, I countered with it's a good trade off for "iPhone for life" and Sprint paying for our ETF. Rep put me on hold for less than two minutes, got approval for full upgrade.

    So I got her 16GB iPhone 6, $214 with tax, plan remains the same with grandfathered unlimited data. Just had to renew contract, after being only 11 months into the last upgrade.

    It's not fair is it. I paid my dues, completed my contract since July, and all I get is waived upgrade fee lol.

    BTW the phone had to be ordered directly from the retention department after the iPhone is released. Only they have the authority to order you a phone at full subsidized price before finishing your contract.
  25. justthinking macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2014
    I was in similar situation as you, I have 2 lines that were out of contract for over a year which I used to pre-order 2 iPhone 6
    When I call to ask about waive the upgrade fee, I was only able to get one of the upgrade fee waived
    HOWEVER, I was able to get a 3rd iPhone 6 on another line that is under contract until November 2015 for the standard upgrade price!
    They initially offered me early upgrade price of $449, I ask if they could do better and 5 minutes later the CSR told me her supervisor approved and I can renew now for 2 yrs and get the iPhone 6 for $199!!

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