For reasons I can no longer fathom, when I last purchased a handy I stuck myself with a two-year contract with Cingular. So I was understandably excited when I learned of a thing called "upgrading". What's this, I can upgrade my handy before my contract expires? Great! I actually marked down the date I was eligible for an upgrade on my Outlook Tasks.
Silly me, I'd erroneously assumed that "upgrading" was a special feature Cingular offered to current customers to entice them to remain in the fold. Well, upgrade day arrived and I went to a local outlet only to have my hopes and expectations crushed. Turns out that upgrading is not so special.
Sure, I could get a new phone before my current contract expires--except that I'd need to have a new contract. It was naive of me to expect otherwise, I guess, but hope springs eternal. Oh yeah, and the price I'd pay--with contract--is exactly the same price I'd pay if I had been a completely new customer. So, as I said... not so special. What's the advantage of upgrading? I'd get a new phone, save about $18 dollars on an activation fee... and get stuck with another contract.
I see this as just another example of big business milking their consumer herd until dessication. Rather than reward customers for staying, they encourage them to extend their contract. This is not establishing customer loyalty... it's nothing but a cruel facsimile. It's more like establishing indentured consumers. Caveat Emptor.