Mobile phone carriers have always had early upgrade pricing. In other words, if you purchase a phone with a two-year contract but want to get a newer model after a year, you generally pay a surcharge to do so.
Over the weekend, AT&T quietly raised its early upgrade pricing by US$50 across the board. In a memo to store employees outed on Android Central, iPhone early upgrade pricing jumped from $249 to $299 for an 8 GB iPhone 3GS, from $399 to $449 for a 16 GB iPhone 4, and from $499 to $549 for a 32 GB iPhone 4.
AT&T isn't just picking on iPhones, though -- the increase is for all smartphones. For no commitment and one year commitment pricing, iPhones are exempt from AT&T's pricing gun. No commitment pricing for other smartphones will go up $50, while making a one year commitment to another smartphone will cost a whopping $150 more. iPhone prices for no commitment or one year commitments remain the same, giving Apple's device a bit of a price advantage over competing (i.e., Android) smartphones on short commitment deals.