WTF ETF’s are a carriers first line of discouraging customers from cancelling their contracts. Verizon was the first to raise their ETF’s through the roof to $350 and they received a FCC investigation over the subject. It seems like that has quieted down with no hard feelings so now AT&T wants to jump on the bandwagon.
The Wall Street Journal (Paid subscription) got the details on the proposed raise. AT&T will be raising their smartphone ETF from $175 to $325 while non-smartphones will actually see their ETF drop to $150. This only applies to new contracts so current contracts are safe.
So what do you think of the increase? What really irks me about ETF’s is that carriers claim they are meant to help them recoup the subsidies they provide on devices. The problem is that the subsidy is nowhere near $350. For example, If you pick up the new BlackBerry Bold 9700 for the current price on AT&T’s website you pay $199.99. Add the $350 subsidy fee to that and you have $550 paid for a $450 retail price phone. The math just doesn’t add up. Especially since carriers are not paying retail…