AT&T follows Verizon with 24-month upgrade timeline



Unfortunately, another carrier has done away with its early upgrade cycles. AT&T has followed in the footsteps of Verizon and has extended the upgrade period to 24 months. This aligns with the carrier’s standard two-year wireless contract length. Like Verizon, AT&T is setting a pretty fair cut-off date for those who are due early upgrades ahead of a certain time. That date is March 2014, meaning you’ll be subject to the new upgrade cycle if your current agreement expires during that month and any month thereafter.

It’s another unfortunate move in a string of sour ones from the nation’s biggest carriers. We’ve seen loyalty programs dissipate into nothingness, ETF fees bloated beyond belief, the death of unlimited data, and more all within a few short years. Those on Sprint and T-Mobile have had it the easiest to date, though with the way things have been going I wouldn’t assume anyone is safe for much longer.

I should note that AT&T does still offer an early upgrade incentive for those who are at least six months into their contracts. You’ll be able to get a sizable discount off the full retail price of the phone if you extend your contract by another two years. The discounts won’t typically be as much as the subsidized two-year contract prices, but it’s better than nothing if you find yourself jonesing for a new phone.

Let us know if these new changes are affecting you, and be sure to express your distaste (or, in the oddest of cases, satisfaction) for these latest changes in the comments section below.

[via AT&T]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. that’s why i have two lines one year apart so upgrade every year the wife gets my old phone i get the new one

    1. U selfish, selfish man

      1. hey they are happy with that most times unless your device is super way better

      2. That depends, what if the other person has no interest in phones besides actually using it as a phone for calls? Do they really need the newest phone out there?

    2. I hope your wife only has sex with you once a year….oh wait.:P

  2. It’s almost like Verizon and AT+T are collaborating…

    1. Ma who?

    2. Noooooooo. That would never happen. Collusion between the two largest wireless carriers in the country? Pfft. /sarcasm

  3. doesn’t impact me….my wife likes to stay with a single phone for a long time and i always have something of the latest device from work b/c i help test it for our IT department (S3 for now).

    in general….F-U AT&T

  4. Another example of a carrier that just doesn’t get it. The only way to truly differentiate yourself as a carrier is by offering more of what your customers want, not less. The entire world is moving to the beat of using more data, not less. Customers are seeing a great selection of phones from every carrier so it’s down to choice and customer service. This change is one of the best things that could happen for T-mobile. The dollar will walk and it’s walking in droves away from Verizon and the like. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T you lose. In 5 years they will be shaking their heads with dumb looks on their faces, “I don’t understand. What happened to our customer base?” they think they are immune but I assure you, they most definitely are not. Stupid.

    1. While I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly, the problem is that people have been predicting doom for big corporations that are seemingly screwing over their customer base for the longest time. In this case, we’ve heard for years how Tmobile, Sprint, etc are going to suck up all these disgruntled customers and then Att and Vzw are going to shrink drastically… yet here we are and not only are they not shrinking, they are still dictating the market. And we continue to lose.

      1. Yeah sadly I gotta agree. I really thought AT&T loosing the iphone exclusivity would of cost them alot of customers and things would improve but here we are, 3 years later or so and things have only gotten worse since

      2. I would jump ship from Verizon to Tmobile in a heartbeat if their network was remotely close to the expansiveness and density of Verizon’s.

        Looking at Tmobile’s coverage map (same goes for sprint and to some extent att),if you zoom in to a detailed view of data coverage, there is really very little 3/4g if you’re not in a big city/town. Not good if you travel. They don’t even have the interstates covered.

        So much 2g on that map it hurts my eyes…

        1. When I go north of Las Vegas on I15, I lose signal completely.

      3. It really just depends on how much people are willing to take till they walk. I have stuck it out for a few years, but I hit my limit. When my contact is up in January I’m leaving for T-mobile.

    2. Until Sprint or T-Mobile can offer a network like Verizon…the customers will keep eating what Verizon feeds.

      1. Ding, we have a winner. I would love nothing better then to tell VZW where to go but I can’t get service at work except on VZW :/

  5. F*ck them the evil empires…..

  6. i noticed in walmart that tmoble has a no contract phones for 30 a month and 5 gb of full speed data…

    1. Tmoble lets you upgrade at any time you just have to pay off your device

    2. That’s the plan I have my Galaxy Note 2 on. Best. Plan. Ever.

  7. Just means I’ll have to get my upgrades directly from Google now, oh wait I already have! I’ll also be jumping ship to Tmobile in March of 2014, since I’m using an unlocked phone and their are no advantages to owning your own phone on any carrier except Tmobile

    1. what is the advantage of owning it on T-Mobile? Contract up in Feb. ’14 and trying to keep my unltd data (so probably buying phone outright).

      1. T-mobile costs less

      2. Well from pricing it, I can get what I have now for $50 less a month. Before the uncarrier plans they even took $30 a month off your bill if you didn’t upgrade and kept your phone. Really the uncarrier plans are about the same as before except instead of paying more for a phone, you get a flat payment plan option on a new phone and instead of early termination fees you only owe what you have left on your phone. But they’ve always been cheaper if you already own your phone. This is in sharp contrast to other carriers where even if you fulfill your 2 years and don’t upgrade, you still pay the same regardless. At&t and Verizon are priced so that you might as well upgrade, because you aren’t saving any money either way.

  8. AT&T can kiss my A$&$. T-Mobile ftw

    1. I’ve hat AT&T before and can’t see myself going back, for verizon all I see is people complaining about the new phones and updates but I’ve never even considered them and don’t plan on it.

  9. It has affected me also my upgrade got pushed to june 2014 im switching over to tmobile even if the service isnt as good I wont be getting screwed even though I have been with them since the BB curve came to the states

  10. Crappity crap crap. My Jan 1st, 2014 upgrade is now pushed to June 29th, 2014, which would make the Note 3 I was planning on upgrading to pretty stale…

    I’m probably switching to T-Mobile in April 2014 as a result of this. There’s no incentive to renew my 24 month AT&T contract when I can’t upgrade to a new subsidized phone 4 months early.

    1. This isn’t starting until March 2014 so I think you’re good.

      1. It starts for peoples’ contracts end after then, which mine does. I logged in and it shows the new June upgrade date same as contract end date.

        1. how can they chage a “Contract” mid term…. is a contract not a legal and binding agreement? i’d fight that, doesn’t sound to legal to me…

          1. Technically, there is a clause that states that the contract can change at anytime with a 30 day notice…soo……..Meh.:(

          2. and the user can cancel the contract without paying ETF…right?

    2. Not sure why it would make sense as T-Mobile no longer subsidize phones. If you want to BYOD you may do better buying an unlocked Nexus 4 directly from Google and go with straight talk or some other MVNOs. You will save more than going with T-Mobile. If you want subsidized phones, AT&T is still the best among the 3. They are able to downgrade the benefits because Spring and Verizon are more expensive.

  11. there’s always early upgrade pricing on AT&T after 6 months…

    1. They increased the price of their early upgrade pricing a few months ago. Not even worth it.

  12. Meh, I don’t care… Ill be buying new devices and selling the old ones… Rinse and repeat, same thing I did on sprint, it will be the same while with AT&T

  13. I don’t understand the people that comment about jumping to T-Mobile when stuff like this happens.
    So, with T-Mobile you have to either buy your phone outright or finance it for no interest.
    If you finance it.. it’s not really cheaper.
    The coverage is orders of magnitude less.

    If you finance it… your definitely getting far less for your money.

    All because you can’t get a cheap phone every 20 months instead of 24?
    I don’t like the big 2 as much as the next guy but really guys…

    1. I don’t think you understand how the plans work. With a monthly phone payment Tmobile is still drastically cheaper than the big two plus you get unlimited data.

      Secondly the down payment on devices is A LOT cheaper than the two year contract prices on phones. You can ‘upgrade’ more frequently on Tmobile because its just a matter of paying balance owed plus your new down payment and then your installment plan just resets for another 24 months. So you could theoretically pay a few hundred bucks out of pocket each year for the latest phone on Tmobile that you would have to wait two years to get that put of pocket pricing on AT&T

  14. Eh, I’m going off contract anyways so eff it. One phone on T-Mobile prepaid already and putting another on Straight Talk. Anyone have experience with Straight Talk?

    1. i got $70/month unlimited everything with no throttle of lte or 4g, i got 2 more lines and only pay total of $150 for all three lines with my 15% discount brings it to $128. if you go with your walmart t-mobile $30 for 5gigs of fast data, unlimited text, with 100 minutes, you can google voice and save on talk time, but add $45 for straight talk they WILL throthle or cancel your data after 2gigs. and i hear that getting an ATT straight talk sim is hard to get.
      oh and i left verizon grandafathered ALTEL unlimited text, web for $40 bucks for each line, but for a total of 3 lines i was paying like $250. main line was like $100 plus i had each line insured.

      1. $45 for the Straight Talk up to 2GB is fine with me. I already do the $30 a month T-Mobile plan for one phone so I’d like to do AT&T Straight Talk for the other in case I don’t have a signal.

  15. 3 lines. I can upgrade every year. Besides that… next phone will he off contract (Nexus 5).

  16. Man this fucking sucks. so glad I left AT&T last month and now enjoying my unlimied HPSA+ 4g SIM CARD PREPAID and my UNLOCKED XPERIA PHONE

  17. Mark, we aren’t just on T-Mobile for upgrade cycles. I’m on T-Mobile for unlimited data. I’ve used 80gb’s in a month. Try pricing out those overages on Verizon or at&t.

    1. I think this is directed at me if not sorry :x
      I agree with you on the overages.

      Problem is… T-Mobile does not cover our metro fully and forget about travel which I do. I actually don’t know a single person that would benefit saving $10 or $20 a month going to T-Mobile.

      If It works for you, I say go for it.
      The problem is that it does not work for a lot of people, contrary to what they want you to believe.
      If they cover my area with at least HSPA instead of pockets of HSPA then I will become a customer. Right now I am forced to be a Big Red or Deathstar customer.

  18. Im upset about this, but I just resigned a contract with them in November. So while I am upset who knows what will be happening when my time to renew comes up. I have no other complains with them besides this, I get good service and Im happy with my monthly payments.

  19. I gotta agree with Mark… switching to T-Mobile isn’t always an option for some people. I can say this because I have T-Mobile. I spent a lot of time on the road this month and it sure would have been nice to have coverage. Especially when you want to make sure you’re still on the right highway, ya know?

  20. If they choose to do this the companies like samsung, LG, HTC and etc should put new phones out every two years.

  21. Aww man I got my S4 on an early upgrade!! lol. I’m upset but breathing a sigh of relief.

  22. Verizon is the MOST dependable service when traveling cross country in the U.S. period! I have used Sprint, T-Mo, AT&T & Straight Walk and finally settled with VZW. The other providers constantly in and out and only have data far below half the trip. Verizon had data over 95% and the majority was 4G.

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