While giving his keynote address at WWDC yesterday, Steve Jobs mentioned that AT&T will relax its contract requirements for those wanting the new iPhone.
“Any existing iPhone customer eligible for an upgrade between today and the end of this year will be eligible for our best pricing for iPhone 4, $199 and $299, with a two-year term commitment,” AT&T said in a statement issued shortly after Jobs left the WWDC stage.
Not long after the news broke, AT&T’s website crashed. The account management section became completely unreachable, presumably due to a rush of customers trying to check their eligibility. For several hours the site returned a variety of error messages from “Maintenance in Progress” to “No backend server available for connection: timed out after 100 seconds or idempotent set to OFF.” Service resumed several hours later.
One could speculate that AT&T decided to relax the upgrade rules in an effort to lessen the sting its earlier announcement regarding the end of unlimited data plans caused. Apparently they feel that discontinuing unlimited data will solve their network issues, but it seems much more likely that once Verizon starts offering the iPhone AT&T customers will leave in droves.