AT&T back to screwing its customers fulltime

So, we all know that Apple will be releasing the next version of the iPhone sometime this summer which usually means that a whole bunch of people are going to want to upgrade when that happens. The unfortunate part of that deal is that they end up having to pay some sort of early termination fee for their existing iPhone. Now as much as that sucks and really speaks badly of AT&T it seemed to be a price people were willing to pay.

Well that may change – drastically.

Word is, via the Wall Street Journal, that AT&T is going to jack up the price you will have to pay for that early termination (ETF) to an almost ridiculous price.

AT&T Inc. (T) plans to raise the fee it charges customers trying to get out of their smartphone wireless contracts early, a move that comes amid expectations that the carrier will lose exclusivity on the iPhone over the next year.

The Dallas telecommunications provider will raise its early termination fees to $325 from $175 on contracts signed for smartphones, as well as cellular-connected netbooks. But for contracts on feature or messaging phones, AT&T will drop the fee by $25 to $150. The changes, which don’t apply to current customers, take effect for new and renewing customers on June 1.

Victor Godinez at the Dallas Morning News Technology Blog has gotten confirmation from AT&T on this.

UPDATE: I just spoke with AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel, and he confirmed the numbers in the Journal report.

“The idea is, and we think that it’s fair approach, that if you spend less on a device, your early termination fee should be less,” he said. “If you spend more, your early termination fee should be more.”

He said the decision to implement the higher fee was unrelated to the iPhone or any other single phone.

I wonder if anyone truly believe that crap.