While T-Mobile is busy working to rid its customers of contracts through its “uncarrier efforts”, Verizon recently extended the period of time that its customers have to wait to upgrade phones, going from 20 months to 24 months. Now AT&T is following suit, with the new 24 month limit applying to any new customer or any current customer that has a contract ending March 2014 or later.
Is this move that surprising? Not really. Contracts are already for 24 months, so it somewhat makes sense to keep the upgrade cycle in line with the contract length. Additionally, once Verizon did it – we pretty much knew that AT&T couldn’t be far behind.
Waiting an additional four months for a subsidized phone is annoying, and we sympathize with AT&T customers that liked getting new phones as soon as possible. What are your alternatives? AT&T points out that you don’t have to wait the full 24 months to get a partial discount on the full retail price of a new phone or tablet. AT&T also mentions its trade-in program, buying outright at full retail, bringing your device or sharing an upgrade with another person on your account.
Obviously there is also the option of jumping ship when your contract expires, turning instead to T-Mobile’s payment plan system or perhaps a prepaid carrier like Straight Talk.
What do you think of the new extended 24 month upgrade cycle, a big deal or not?