AT&T is jacking up early termination fees for smartphone contracts to $325 for new customers starting next month, reports the Wall Street Journal. The nearly two-fold increase comes amid two developments (purely coincidence, says the company): First, Apple's new iPhone is expected out in June, and that could mean millions of new subscribers for AT&T, which has an exclusivity contract.
Second, Apple is expected to scrap that exclusive contract at the end of the year, meaning that iPhone users who are tired of AT&T's network jams and want to switch to a different service can pay through the nose for the privilege. The fee increase, which also covers netbooks, won't affect existing contracts. It's a "fair approach," says a company spokesman.