Why does ATT make it so hard to buy a full price phone?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 21, 2010
so one of my lines was upgrade eligible, but since I had a credit card that gives me a $650 rebate off any full price smartphone purchase, I naturally want to upgrade my line at full price. So I try to order a new phone at full price on the website, but as soon as I log in, I'm only given the option to buy at the contract price or next installments. I tried calling in and several reps claimed that since I'm eligible for an upgrade, I cannot upgrade full price. I then asked the rep to make the line not eligible for upgrades, so I could force a full price upgrade but the reps keep insisting that I can only upgrade and not buy full price. Finally, I managed to get an agent who knew how to process a full price "upgrade", since it's not rally an upgrade, but a different process. So why can't they just take my money, give me my phone, and let us be done with the transaction? Isn't this the simplest way to sell a phone?


macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2010
Something must be wrong with your account because I have the options of contract (2 years), Next, or full price.


macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
The real issue is ATT and they trying to push their "NEXT" installment program. Why? It's simple:

Business 101.

ATT needs to ramp up their NEXT installment agreements because they want to show investors 50-70% of their customers are on NEXT. Why? Simple: To investors, consumers on NEXT are more likely to be regular paying consumers because consumers rarely pay installment plans off early. It gives investors insight to how many stable "contracts (financing)" att has.

If ATT had say 70% of people "off contract with NO financing" this would scare off investors because investors know there is not guaranteed monthly revenue from customers. But people with installment plans will likely stay with ATT for the duration of their "installments"

Yes I own ATT and Verizon stock. People need to understand the business and how investors see a company.

It's one of the reason Verizon was the first major carrier to drop reporting PER line monthly revenue. Because PER line monthly revenue was going down since most consumers were on family plans 4-5 lines with DRIVES down monthly per line revenue. AKA first line: $100, second line $10, third line $10 and so on. The more lines, the less monthly per line revenue. That's why Verizon changed reporting to PER ACCOUNT revenue. Sounds complicated, but it's not. Its just a different way to report "growth" when there really isn't much room for "Growth" in the cellular industry.


macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
No, the rebate was only good for buying full price from ATT, otherwise, would've purchased unlocked from apple for the additional bands.
U probably got that Citibank AT&T access card than with the $95 annual fee.

Anyways easiest solution would be to go to AT&T retail store to buy it full price.


macrumors member
Sep 9, 2009
So I try to order a new phone at full price on the website, but as soon as I log in, I'm only given the option to buy at the contract price or next installments.
Just curious, did you go directly to the website and log in or use the special link provided by the Citi At&t Access Card? I haven't used my credit yet (waiting on new iPhone 6s), but they sent me a unique phone offer link.
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