AT&T is reportedly increasing the unsubsidized price for several of its smartphones by $100 or more, according to Engadget. The supposed reason for the price hike — up to $150 in some cases — is that the service provider needed to ensure that its new $200 early upgrade fee (for existing subscribers who want a new handset before their contract is up) doesn’t make upgrades more expensive than commitment-free purchases. In other words, AT&T is rumored to be balancing out prior price increases by raising prices in other areas too. Yeah, seriously.
The particular handsets said to be getting more expensive are the Palm Pre Plus ($300 to $400) and Pixi Plus ($230 to $380), HTC Aria ($330 to $430), Sony Ericsson Vivaz ($280 to $430), and Motorola Backflip ($250 to $350). Apparently pricing will remain unchanged for devices like the Samsung Captivate (a.k.a. Galaxy S), but only because the subsidized cost plus $200 would be cheaper than or equal to the unsubsidized, retail cost. While we can see the logic here, it still leaves a dirty, corporate taste in our mouths.