Two months ago, Verizon announced that it wouldn’t allow customers to upgrade their iPhones early after twenty months anymore. It was a pretty hostile move: the subsidy you’ve paid for your iPhone has been paid off after twenty months, so Verizon was effectively saying that their new policy was to bleed you dry for an additional four months, no exceptions.
When we wrote about Verizon’s move, we said “And what Verizon tends to do, AT&T can usually be expected to follow. How long until AT&T ends 20 month eligibility for early upgrades too?”
The answer, as it turns out, is a little under two months.
Yup, that’s right: AT&T has just stretched out their upgrade period to a full twenty four months.
Say the suits:
Today, we’re announcing a 24-month upgrade policy across all of AT&T’s wireless products and services. This aligns device upgrade eligibility with our standard two-year wireless agreement and it applies to any customer whose agreement expires in March 2014 or later.
So if your iPhone contract expires after March 2014? Except to wait the full length of your two year contract to get a new device, or pay an early termination fee.
I shouldn’t be surprised — American mobile carriers know they have us over a barrel, and a company like AT&T isn’t going to simply watch Verizon give us one without taking a turn themselves — but this is just so hostile towards existing subscribers. That little bit of leeway in upgrading your device cost carriers nothing, and made their customers feel better about their carrier. Now they’re just throwing that good will away.