Take note, AT&T customers, because your carrier today announced a major change to its upgrade policy. Over on its official AT&T Consumer Blog, the big blue operator has revealed that its extending its upgrade policy from 20 months to 24 months. The policy applies to any customer whose contract is scheduled to end in March 2014 or later, meaning that new AT&T customers and those that've signed up within the past few months are included.
AT&T also notes in the blog post that its subscribers have other options when it comes to buying new hardware. Customers are able to share an upgrade with another person on their account, so long as its an upgrade within the same device category (like tablet to tablet). Upon completing six months of their commitment, subscribers can also use an early upgrade to get a discount on the full retail price of a new product when signing a new two-year contract. Other options include trading in hardware for discounts on new products, buying devices at full retail or bringing a GSM-compatible phone onto AT&T.
Verizon made a similar policy change earlier this year, meaning that the number one and two U.S. carriers now have upgrade policies in which their customers must wait out the full term of their two-year commitment before getting a subsidy on a new device. That's kind of a bummer for folks that like to upgrade to a discounted phone as soon as they can, but today's news isn't a huge shock considering that we often see the mirror policies between AT&T and Verizon. As both carriers have noted in their announcements of these policy changes, customers can get a device whenever they'd like by buying full retail, so frequent upgraders may want to start saving some cash for a new device soon after using a subsidy. How often do you upgrade to a new smartphone?