You may want to do some research into connectivity in your region before signing a new AT&T contract.

AT&T announced today it is raising early termination fees (or ETFs) for smartphones, including the iPhone, on June 1. The increase is only for new customers and those who renew their contracts.

In the letter to their loyal customers, AT&T gives a few reasons for the increase. “At AT&T, we work hard every day to provide you with a great wireless experience at competitive prices. One of the ways we do this is to offer you the industry’s leading wireless handsets below their full retail price when you sign a 2-year agreement.”

Customers who enter into new two-year service agreements and purchase a smartphone or netbook will see an ETF of $325. Each month you remain an AT&T customer, the fee will be reduced $10. After the two-year agreement, the ETF will no longer apply.

Part of being a consumer is making an informed decision. If you’re looking to get a specific carrier-exclusive phone, check out the service complaints and do some research into whether there are widespread problems with the service in your area. I know from personal experience the locations within downtown Seattle that I can not be on an important call on the AT&T network, as it is ALWAYS dropped.

Hop onto Twitter, do a search like, “AT&T Seattle” or “Verizon San Francisco” and read about the problems. One or two complaints could be an anomaly, but if a larger portion of the population say the same thing, you may want to re-think that purchase.