Not to be outdone by Verizon, who raised their fee for early termination of a cellphone agreement to $350 last fall, AT and T has announced that, effective next week, on June 1, the early termination fee (ETF) for AT and T smartphones and AT and T provisioned netbooks will be $325.00.
Put another way, that means that if you cancel your cell phone service before your contract runs out, AT&T will charge you a cool $325.00, although that amount is reduced by $10.00 for each month you keep the service on. And, says AT&T, if you don’t get a fancy smartphone, and get only a basic phone, your early termination fee with AT&T will be ‘only’ $150.00.
Why so darned much? According to AT&T, the spiffy new $325.00 early termination fee allows AT&T to “offer you the industry’s leading wireless handsets below their full retail price when you sign a two-year service agreement.”
Of course, if you choose to purchase one of those phones instead at full retail price, it is possible to get service without the two-year commitment, and, therefore, without risking incurring the early termination fee.
You can also purchase such a phone used (say off Craigslist or eBay) and, again, not incur the 2-year contract or the early termination fee.
But if you plan on walking into an AT&T store, say, to buy the new iPhone, and if you want to pay less than full retail price, plan on agreeing to the $325.00 early termination fee.