AT&T is following the contract upgrades cues of Verizon Wireless. If you recall, back in April, Verizon announced a similar policy change. Prior to the change both AT&T and Verizon allowed users to upgrade before the end of a 24 month contract. But alas, you can no longer upgrade early (up to 4 months) to the latest mobile device at the subsidized price.
The new policy states customers may replace phones after 24 months, or can pay full price for an upgrade at any time. This policy change appears to be consistent across the industry.
We reached out to AT&T and indeed the upgrade policy has been changed to align it with contract dates.
The change is effective Sunday, June 9 and applicable to new and existing contracts ending after March 1, 2014. So there is plenty of time for some users to get in an early upgrade.
Maybe this change will impact the device manufacturing industry a bit too, maybe Samsung won’t find a need to come out with 10 new phones each week. Eh, probably not.
Personally, I never understood the policy of “early” upgrades, it was like a secret only tech savvy people and cell phone salespeople knew about. While most customers likely weren’t aware of an “early” upgrade policy and are likely not going to be affected but this change; eh hem, my parents! I’m sure many TechnoBuffalo fans are going to feel a little bummed when having to wait a little longer to buy a shiny new device at the discounted price.