While the basics have stayed the same for a while -- $200 for an annual iPhone sweetened by a slowly descending overall plan price -- carriers like AT&T of course have a lot of maneuvering to do in the periphery to make sure they're still getting their margins. Hefty ETFs
have of course been the most egregious element of this, and now AT&T is bumping its smartphone early upgrade exception price from $75 to $200, which means if you lost or smashed your iPhone and decided to go Torch instead (we don't know why, it's AT&T's suggestion), that Torch would cost you $400 instead of the $500 unsubsidized price or the $275 tag you could've gotten away with a week ago. This new price only applies only to smartphones, and only non-Apple ones at that, and of course there's always the potential for flex based on how long you've been a customer and how far you are into your contract. So yeah, we doubt this will impact most users, but it's a nice bit of sand in the eye for a select, unlucky few.