Upgrade Lumia 900 to Lumia 920? ATT gets it right, if you ask…

Here is my quick Lumia 900 story. I walked into an ATT store in April this year to kill some time while waiting for some take out next door (Sticky Fingers, that place is awesome!). While walking around I noticed the Nokia Lumia 900 device, the first Windows Phone I had ever seen in person, seriously! I had heard some buzz about the device online, saw some advertisements, and decided to take a look at it. First impressions, the OS was much faster than my iPhone4, I thought the People Hub made sense, the Nokia Maps and Local Scout were nice features. It even had MS office integrated to work with SkyDrive (OneNote! iPhone app had corrupted some notes). I thought the email layout was much better. I did a little research on the net later that night, and decided to purchase next day and let my kids play games on my iPhone.

During the next several weeks buzz started to stir up about Windows Phone 8 (WP8). At first I didn’t pay much attention. I figured my Lumia 900 is only a few weeks old, shouldn’t be a problem. As more and more information started to funnel out through tech sites, blogs, and wpcentral, it started becoming more clear that I may have bought a phone that, while great in its own right, would be in a dead platform in six short months from release.

Eventually it came out that, no my Lumia would not be able to upgrade to WP8. There would be all new hardware for WP8, including a new Nokia Lumia 920 with wireless charging, a better camera, a new OS, and for the same price I paid 6 months ago. Oh and by the way, you aren’t eligible for a phone upgrade for another 14 months. If I just would have waited! But alas I didn’t know. I still enjoyed the Lumia 900, but it soured me a bit that I couldn’t upgrade and take advantage of the new features.

On Friday, the new Nokia Lumia 920 went on sale. Today I decided to call up ATT, ask politely for an upgrade, and see what happens. I had nothing to lose, right? I’m very glad I did, here is how my call went.

I dialed 611, went through the prompts to get to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). I told her that I wanted to buy the Lumia 920 at upgrade pricing, I explained not knowing about the OS going EOL, how I bought the phone in the spring, and expressed politely my disappointment in not being able to upgrade until NEXT November. She empathized with me, explaining she had sold this phone in stores and that they didn’t even know the Lumia 900’s wouldn’t get WP8. She put me on a hold to consult a manager. About five minutes later, she told me that unfortunately the only way I could get an upgrade was to add a line at $9.99/mo. Obviously I didn’t want to do this. I again emphasized my point, I didn’t want anything for free, I wanted to pay ATT for a new device and renew my contract for two more years, and requested to speak to a manager.

The CSR obliged and I was forwarded to a Customer Service Manager immediately. The manager explained to me that this was not ATT’s fault. Nokia and Microsoft made this decision and this it was not ATT’s issue and was sorry about my situation. He was exactly right. ATT did not make this decision and was not at fault. Their only responsibility is to ensure that I have cell service for my voice and data (whether the higher-ups at ATT had knowledge of this is irrelevant as customer service and sales most likely did not) I acknowledged his point and restated to him politely my points. I explained again having a phone with that short of lifespan after purchase was a bummer. I also mentioned my longstanding relationship with ATT and that all I wanted to do purchase new hardware and extend my contract with ATT. I also said in a nice way that surely this wasn’t that big of a deal for a company ATT’s size, but the unsubsidized price of $600+ versus $99 is a HUGE deal for a married guy with small children.

I was asked to hold while this was discussed with another manager, when he came back I again was told I could add a line for $9.99, but also get a $240 instant rebate to cover that cost. Before I could decline the offer, he got word from a different manager that he could approve this for me. I would have to purchase the phone through customer care center, which is fine by me.

To sum up (TLDR) with a 30 minute call to Customer Service I was able to get upgrade pricing, all while not being rude, and with the help of some great reps they agreed that the customer is right. A rarity in today’s world. I omitted their names for privacy in this post, but again a great customer service experience. Good enough for me to take time to write a post and let others know about this.

I think ATT should offer upgrades for existing Lumia 900 customers if they ask. They will extend contracts for customers for two more years, get the extra activation fee charge, and make customers happy, which will translate into social and word of mouth positive image. Something the oft-battered company can use more of.

The only caveat to this story is I have to wait for the phone to be available. At the time of this writing all of the Lumia 920’s are sold out. But I have a contact and my account is notated, so when they are in stock, all I have to do is contact them and I’ll get my phone shipped to me, $99 + $36 upgrade fee on the next bill. I’ll update this article if anything changes and/or when I get my Lumia 920. Going with Cyan this time to break the all black smartphone cycle I’ve been in for years.

So to all the other Lumia 900 owners that enjoy their phone and want to upgrade, take the chance and give customer service a call. Who knows, with a polite attitude and the right reps, you too can upgrade your phone and find that the customer is still always right…

UPDATE: Emailed my rep, saying people are getting their phones in stores. He called me immediately, walked me through the purchase process. My Lumia 920 Cyan is on order, currently showing as back order, but will ship with priority shipping ASAP. Wireless mat will indeed come, shipping at a later date.

UPDATE2: Phone ordered Sunday 11/11, called Wednesday 11/14 to check status said it would ship out later that night. Called back Thursday 11/15 as no status change still not shipped. Rep told me that phone is now backordered and that a company memo was released on Wednesday, the rep I spoke to should have know this (grrrrr). I made it known I was unhappy (politely) and asked to have the activation fee waived and if she felt extra happy, to price match Walmart $49 for the phone. The Rep was able to get my activation fee waived, so now TCO $99 + tax and my time. Will update when the phone ships.

Final Update: Phone shipping notification received Monday 11/19 and arrived today 11/20. Setup was quick and painless. I may do a review after using it for a few weeks. First impressions, amazing screen, very fast a fluid, using it within 15 minutes of it arriving.

 

  • Alex

    Just tried this, basically for the same reasons. The initial customer care representative was very nice and helpful, but the manager I spoke with was pretty forceful, and made me feel like a bad person for wanting to upgrade before NEXT November! Ugh.

    • Gabriel

      Try again Alex! Many people like myself and several others on WPCentral have been successful. Just keep talking and try to get them to empathize with you. You are the customer, and you are right. Good luck.

  • Alan

    I was on the phone with ATT because my child lost her phone and we were trying to locate it. After the rep helped with that (we found the phone) he asked if there was anything else he could help me with. I told him that I had a Lumia 900 from the first day but that I would really like the new 920 and that I had heard people getting it for the $99 upgrade. I told him that I realised it was a stretch but I would be glad to extend my contract if he could get that deal. I told him upfront I could not really afford to pay more than that but would really thankful if he would check. Without even trying to offer anything higher he said he thought he could do that. He got some information and asked color (yellow) and went to get the override. When he came back on he told me he had good news. He gave me the phone for free with no upgrade fee! I was stunned. I followed everyone’s advise and was very nice and he responded in kind. I wondered if him being on the service side of things as opposed to sales gave him more leway or if all reps catch all types of calls. Any one know?

    • Gabriel

      I thought I got a good deal, nice one! Your voice must have some sort of amazing charisma, you should ask your boss for a raise see what happens :) From all the accounts I have read, it always depends on the rep and is luck of the draw. I’d be interested to hear when you receive your phone. The backorder on the yellow models is the biggest delay so I’ve read. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Alan

    Actually, I have a bit of a sore throat right now. May still have to try for a raise though ;-) The site says processing (it was saying backordered till late yesterday but I am not sure if there is a difference). I will let you know when it comes in though. I can’t complain if it takes a little while to get here. I will want to buy a wireless charger (I felt I had gotten a great deal already and didn’t want to push for a free one) but I thought I would wait to see what other Qi devices are available. I like the stand so I may get one of those. The cool thing for us is this will allow our whole family to be on Windows phones. My wife, oldest daughter and I already had Lumia 900s but the younger is on a feature phone. She will now get my 900. Being able to share Live calendars is a blessing. Glad they waived your fee – Enjoy your phone!

    • Alan

      My phone showed up today (ordered the 14th of Nov.)

      • Gabriel

        Going back through my blog posts, just curious how you are getting on with the 920. For me it’s still going quite well.

        • Alan

          No problems and with all apps Nokia is pumping out I am very happy with the landscape now.

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  • Chris

    People complain about ATT, but I find their customer service to be top notch. I’ve never tried to get an early upgrade, as I tend to buy my phones unlocked so that I can use cheaper data plans. However, they have always entirely removed any large ($200+) overage that I’ve ever made the mistake of incurring whenever I’ve called. The early overages were back in the early 2000s and the most recent overage was due to data costs while roaming.

  • netbob

    I upgraded from an old iphone 3gs to a 920 and loved it. There were a couple of things I was used to from an OS standpoint but I could live with it. Long story short, I had to return the phone (better half was less than thrilled – long story. :-( )
    But of course now I am glad I did as the 928 just came out. Anyone upgrade from 920′s to the 928?

    • Gabriel

      Sorry to hear you returned it, I went from a iPhone 4 > L900 > L920. There are some minor “app gaps” but I am very happy with WP8, especially People Hub, messaging, and Email is much better on WP8 than it was on iPhone at least in the way I use it.

      As far as going from L920 to L928, probably not many cases of that as it would require switching carriers? L920 ATT exclusive still in US, L928 Verizon.


      Gabe