AT&T Makes It Harder to Bail on iPhones

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Not only does AT&T (Stock Quote: T) want to keep its exclusive rights to the iPhone, it’s taking steps to make sure you don’t get rid of yours. The phone company announced that, beginning June 1, it will increase its early termination fees for smartphone users.

“For customers who enter into new two-year service agreements in connection with the purchase of our more advanced, higher end devices, including netbooks and smartphones, the (early termination fee) will increase to $325, and be reduced by $10 for each month that you remain with us as a customer during the balance of your two-year service agreement,” the company said in a press release.

This is a $150 increase from AT&T’s previous early termination fee of $175. The rate increase is similar to one implemented by Verizon Wireless, which upped its early termination fee from $175 to $350 in November 2009.

On the upside, AT&T also announced that it will lower it early termination fees for customers who buy basic and quick messaging phones from $175 to $150. This fee will decrease $4 every month purchasers remain an AT&T subscriber during their two-year contract.

Current AT&T subscribers will not be affected by the fee changes; neither will anyone who purchases an AT&T phone before June 1. The new iPhone 4G, notably, is expected to be released in July.

Who will win the battle of the bill – smart phones or traditional cell phones? Consumers are making their choice and it might surprise you.

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