Are You Being Held Hostage by the iPhone and AT&T?

What do you do when your iPhone breaks down with some month to go in the contract? Do you upgrade to the new iPhone 3G s? Or would you rather go with another provider? AT&T has some serious connectivity and network problems, so think before you lock yourself in for another 2 years.

Buying the iPhone, what a joy

A little less than 2 years I gave my wife an iPhone as a present. It was not really her birthday, but she was interested in getting an iPhone. Since I was to, but I have a Blackberry from my work, I bought the iPhone for her so I could play with it as well. With the iPhone came a 2 year contract, with data plan and SMS bundle.

Apple iPhone 3G s

My wife is not the type who is installing all kinds of applications on her phone. She is just using the iPhone to make calls, send SMS and receive, send emails and the camera has been used almost everyday. Never dropped, and always a solid case around the iPhone.

The iPhone has been a joy in our lives. It’s a great piece of technology, with which you can make pictures while you are on the road and send quite easily to everybody in your address book quite easily. Until a couple of days ago…

The iPhone breaks down

A couple of days ago suddenly the phone started to act strange. The real problem seems to be the battery, which won’t charge anymore. This could be a real problem if you use the iPhone everyday.

iPhone breaks down after too many battery charges Just recently, a couple of weeks ago, my wife needed to get a new battery for her Macbook. The same problem as the iPhone, the battery was not loading anymore. When taking the Macbook to the Genius bar, they told me she needed a new battery. Apparently you can only recharge the battery 300 times. This battery was already charged 512 times. We got a new battery and the Macbook is working like before.

Now that the iPhone is showing the same kind of behavior as the Macbook, I suggested we would have to take the phone to the Genius bar, and see if we could have it fixed.  Swapping the battery in the iPhone should not take that long, and it would mean she could use it again. Think again…

In the Apple store, the folks told us it would not even be worth it to make an appointment with the Genius bar. They simply told us the apple folks would not even take the effort fixing the 1.5 year old iPhone.

Now what…? With a little more than 4 months on a 2 year iPhone contract, my wife cannot even make a single phone call. The only advise the Apple store managers could give us, is to buy a new iPhone.

Buy a new iPhone with 2 year contract?

Buying a new iPhone was a short consideration for both my wife and myself. The new iPhone 3G s is supposed to be an even better piece of technology. Faster, slimmer and with more capabilities when it comes to applications. However, buying a new iPhone would also mean we would have to extend the contract for an additional 2 years. Locked up for another 2 years to the poor service of AT&T.

2 year new AT&T contract with the Apple iPhone

The 2 years is not the only thing which would change. The amount we would have to pay in the new contract would rise with $15,- per month. Ten dollars for the data plan, and if you would like to have a SMS bundle, another five dollars. But wait a minute, I used to have a SMS bundle, why would we pay more for another SMS bundle? Right, you already get it, we were getting framed… Because why do I suddenly have to pay $10 more for the data plan? And why are there $18 one time AT&T upgrade fees applied?

We cancelled to buy the new iPhone, and wanted to think about it before we commit to another two years of dropped calls or bad reception by AT&T. However, now two weeks later, we still don’t know what to do. I guess we will go back voluntarily as a hostage to the Apple iPhone and AT&T.

I seriously thought about a law suit to both Apple and AT&T. How can they require you to close a contract for two years, while the hardware does not even last for the contract period of the two years. But then again, what is the likelihood of winning this? I don’t want to spend my time and energy in all this negativity.

Probably we will buy a new iPhone and upgrade to the new contract for another two years. As long as my corporate line is on AT&T, my wife and I actually call each other for free.

Comments

  1. Interesting to see that here in NL you have exactly the same plot: bad network (t-mobile), no service and no way to get out of the contract if you want to keep using an iphone.

  2. Rob Ellis says:

    I sympathize with your story, and yes, AT&T kinda sucks – but whoever told you that Apple wouldn’t replace your battery? Apple has a battery replacement program since day one – $79 for a brand new battery that they install. It takes three days and that’s that.

    The new battery even comes with a 12 month warranty.

    Had you sprung for that, you would have saves $200 over the cost of the $10 per month increase and the additional $5 per month sms charge over that new 2 year contract.

  3. Dennis says:

    @Rob Ellis,
    I hope you’ll be able to do just that.
    But when we asked in the Apple store, they simply told us Apple was not going to replace the battery.

    After all, my wife is very happy with the new generation iPhone, which makes perfect little video’s.
    I enjoy these too as she sends these to me by email.

    Still, it’s ridiculous you can throw away your old iPhone if the battery doesn’t work anymore.