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."