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AT&T extends upgrade period to two years

updated 06:31 pm EDT, Sun June 9, 2013

AT&T lengthens upgrades to 24 months

AT&T is following in the footsteps of its chief rival by lengthening the period customers must remain on contract before they can upgrade their devices. An anonymous source tipped Engadget to the carrier's decision, which will limit customers to upgrading their devices only when they've reached the full duration of their contracts. Prior to the policy shift, the upgrade period was 20 months.

The leaked internal memo describing the shift gives little in the way of rationale behind it. Customers will still have the option to purchase devices at their full retail price at any time. The change affects new customers and existing customers whose current wireless agreement expires on or after March 1, 2014. The memo also notes that all upgrades must be within the same device category.

Corporate Responsible Users with contractual upgrade terms will not be impacted by the new policy. The contract change will affect all devices on AT&T.

The carrier's decision comes just two months after Verizon did the same. Verizon noted at the time that the change aligned the "upgrade date with the contract end date and is consistent with how the majority of customers purchase new phones today."

By Electronista Staff
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  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Bad business IMO. Reducing consumer value simply to suit corporate greed is not a good thing in the long run.

    AT&T got broken up once for antitrust reasons, and this kind of behavior gives regulators incentive to do it again. However odds are the evolving tech world will slap the service provider oligopoly long before paid-off government gets the balls to do so.

    The Verizons, AT&Ts, etc. of the world have been scr*wing customers for long enough; they deserve to fall to a new paradigm.

  1. joe7911

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-05-12

    At a time that AT&T should be modifying their plans instead getting more aggressive, I don't see that as smart business. I was thinking of changing to T-Mobile before this since they have no contract and lower prices. Now this about makes my decision and Pushes me to make the change. Same for many I have spoken to. No contract, lower prices makes up for maybe temporally weaker signals in some places. But Believe me its temporally. They are improving network fast. I loved AT&T and they allowed me to upgrade once a year but now 2 years, 2 year contract, prices makes it a deal barker.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-29-99

    "OK team, how can we possibly tick off customers even more - we threw lousy reception at them, the whole byzantine support didn't really work, we've got the neverending supply of haughty customer service reps, I'm afraid we might be out of arrows here, minions. Yes, Wilkins? What? You say you have an idea that could be the magic bean for our most loyal returning customers? Well speak up, man!"

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