If you were planning to upgrade from your current AT&T device to a shiny new smartphone a little early, I hope you've been saving your pennies. Rumors have been flying that AT&T has more than doubled their smartphone early upgrade fee from $75 to $200, and now the carrier has confirmed it. For an example, the BlackBerry Torch costs $199.99 with a regular two-year contract. If you want to upgrade earlier than your scheduled date, though, you'll be charged a whopping $399.99. At that point, you're only $100 away from the cost of an off-contract Torch, which costs $499.99. The fee increase, which actually went into effect October 3rd, does not affect the iPhone 4 or any non-smartphone device.
This price hike by AT&T is kind of surprising, and I have a feeling that it'll deter more than a few customers from upgrading earlier than scheduled. There may even be a few that jump ship to another carrier. Now that AT&T has increased their early upgrade fee, and both they and Verizon have upped their smartphone ETFs, it's getting increasingly expensive to be a wireless customer with the top two carriers in the nation. How many of you have switched to a new carrier because of high costs?