Digitalsimulacra writes: "With only 7 days left now until the release of Apple's iPhone, I find myself torn between being excited about the arrival of what may be the first cell phone to actually do what it claims to since the Motorola MicroTAC, and dreading to extend my contract with AT&T for another two years.
I once put an AT&T Wireless cell phone in a drawer for six months and signed up with T-Mobile to avoid both having to deal with AT&T's awful customer service and having to pay the early-cancellation fee. Now I find Cingular becoming the AT&T of old in more than just name. The customer service is awful, my phone drops 80% of all the calls I receive, and the prices are ridiculous.
Now comes the news that even though AT&T is not subsidizing the ($599) cost of the iPhone, they intend to enforce their early-cancellation fee ($175 most places, but a pro-rated $240 in Florida and some other states). Normally the reasoning behind the early termination fee is that the phones are sold at a discount (usually at least $100 off the retail price) as an incentive to sign a long term contract. So why would there be an early termination fee on a phone that will only be sold for full price? I can guess that it's because while a lot of people will want the iPhone itself, they will hate having to deal with AT&T's lackluster service and high prices. Without the cancellation fee, they might find a way to unlock the phone and take it to a different provider, or at least cell it on eBay to some unsuspecting shopper.
The whole experience has me questioning whether I even need a cell phone at all. I'm sure the iPhone is great, and probably worth the $599. I just don't think I want to sell my soul to AT&T to get one."