AT&T on Sunday extended their hardware upgrade cycle to a 24 month qualification period. Effective June 9, 2013, anyone with a contract that ends on or after March 1, 2014 is affected and the policy applies to all devices sold by the telecom.
The new 24-month period applies to all new customers moving forward with the exception of Corporate Responsible Users – their contract upgrade terms won’t change. Previously, AT&T customers were required to wait only 20 months in order to qualify for a full subsidy.
In a blog post on the matter, AT&T said the changes will align device upgrade eligibility with their standard two-year wireless agreement.
It was only a matter of time before AT&T extended the wait time for a full upgrade, however, as Verizon announced a similar move back in April. What’s more, the telecom offered virtually the same explanation for doing so – saying the change would better align with the terms of a typical two-year agreement. With Verizon, the changes affected anyone with a contract that ended on or after January 2014.
Both carriers allow customers to share upgrades on their account so long as they are within the same device category. For example, a user can upgrade a phone to another phone or a tablet to another tablet but not a phone to a tablet.
AT&T says that after six months of a two-year contract, customers qualify for a partial discount off the full retail price. Alternately, users can elect to purchase a phone at full price anytime or bring a GSM-compatible handset from another carrier and use it at their leisure.