AT&T To Pro-Rate Cancellation Fees - Wait-a-Thon

Sauron-Prorate

AT&T is doing the right thing (never mind that this most was likely something that they were forced into). Namely, they're going to pro-rate the cancellation fee that you have to pay if you leave your 1 or 2 year plan early:

Starting on May 25, AT&T's new and renewing wireless customers who enter into one- or two-year service agreements will no longer be required to pay a single, flat early termination fee. Instead, that fee, which is $175, will be progressively lowered by $5 during each month, every month, for the term of the contract - [Mobiledia]

Good news, although it doesn't apply to those of us who are already on a contract with them -- just new contracts. They had announced this back in October, but now we know when it will actually start. Good on you, AT&T.

This here be a Wait-a-Thon post, comment for a chance to win a $100 iTunes Gift Card! Speaking of Wait-a-Thon, we missed a couple of weeks there because yours-truly was discombobulated by covering the CTIA conference for our sister site, WMExperts. Let me therefore congratulate two winners: nickbw and DaffyHercules!

So we have AT&T promising to be more "open," we have the iPhone changing how they handle activation and rate plans generally, and now we have them offering a more reasonable cancellation fee if you need to get out. What else would you like to see AT&T change?

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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There are 18 comments. Add yours.

Rene Ritchie says:

I missed Mouth-Of-Sauron-AT&T!

Bad Ash says:

This is nice and all but I doubt I'll be leaving AT&T anytime soon. All cell carriers should have it set up that way.

Dyvim says:

Since I already have a plan, this won't affect me for almost another 2 years. Oh well. I'd like to see AT&T expand their 3G coverage and in general up actual real-life data speeds.

WatersWest says:

It would be better if it were a perfect pro-rate schedule. For example, on a 2-year contract, it should be reduced by approximately $7.30 per month ($175 / 24 = $7.29). Although they obviously have an interest in not making it TOO easy to get out. More importantly, they should up the # of texts in the standard iPhone plan. (300??).

tschertz01 says:

Wouldn't it be nice if us existing customers got some of these new features from time to time. It really doesn't pay to be an existing customer.

blackmoose says:

Eventually, competition will benefit the customer, but you know these companies will screw you until they can't. And it usually takes a company like Apple with foresight to force companies to change for the better. Come on companies, just give us a good product and cut it with the screws and gimmicks.

Nickbw says:

Woot :)
Ugh this is an excellant idea for attracting new customers which i believe is their intention so thus not applying for existing customers. Which totatly blows, but unless your playing to cancel your account anyways it shouldn't matter to much

topolina says:

Nice :)
That was a drawback to me of getting an iPhone- having to switch carriers... every little bit helps!

NPR_aficionado says:

While At&t seems to be leading in handsets (ok basically the iPhone), they seem to be playing catchup in plans. Came out with unlimited only after Verizon launched it (but they did move fast) and now the prorated cancellation fees. Why are they not leading in plan innovations as well as handsets?

genrefin says:

This is great and all carriers should adopt this idea. I remember way back when, I mistakenly thought my plan was over and canceled it - ended up having to pay the full early termination fee even though my plan was over in like a week.

Boleone says:

I'd like to see a better package deal out of AT&T. I have AT&T residential service and recently signed up for their Uverse package (cable and cable internet). They still haven't managed to upgrade to cable phone service yet in my area although I was assured "it's coming", so I still get two separate bills every month. If I have all AT&T services (landline, cable, internet and wireless) wouldn't it be nice to get a huge break for combining all those services? I'd switch my wireless to AT&T if they did that.

DaffyHercules says:

Can't go wrong with change. This is great and gives people more choices when just starting out. Unfortunately, I'm not, but soon the kids will be looking for their own plans. You've got to start somewhere after all and possibly something good will come out of it for those that are already established.

George Webb says:

Let's see, we grant them a controlled monopoly of our airwaves. They add termination fees of $175 for each line when we add kids for $9.95 although the phones even though they don't tell us that when we get the phone. The kids phones are usually much lower end, and not nearly as subsidized. And then they expect cheering when they are forces to offer a less than flat depreciation schedule for the phones? Time for Congress to act. If you get laid off, your health insurance triples for $500 a month to $1,500 a month with Cobra. And oh by the way, your phone company is going to hit you with another $525 for cancelling even if you are in the last couple months of your contract for current customers. And charge you for the last month's usage even if you cancel on the first day of the month. They are so generous! They are only proposing this to get protection from pending lawsuits.

George Webb says:

The previous post assumes a single parent with two kids with phones (3 x $175 = $525). Cobra is a joke, and these types of phone company policies are a slap in the face to people already in a tough situation. Disgraceful.

Piotr says:

Here's what you do to get a 16gb iphone 3G without 2 year contract. Sign up for ATT, buy the discounted 16gb iphone for $299, pay $70 for the first months service and then on the 30th day cancel your account for $170. You end up paying around $570 (including all taxes)as opposed to the $750 (with taxes) you would pay for the 16GB iphone bought without contract. And the kicker is that your $570 price tag already includes 1 month of service. You can also sell that 16GB iphone on eBay for around $800-$850, or well over $1000 if you manage to unlock it. Not a bad profit.

Rod Nix says:

There are always some m...ckers that wanna get your freedom away. AT&T and Apple remind me North Korean regime.
Avoid such crap. eBay those iPhonies....

Hertha Lautman says:

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