Last month AT&T added a monthly $0.61 administrative fee to wireless bills and now they are updating their policy so that subscribers will have to wait a full 24 months before becoming eligible for a handset upgrade at the lowest subsidized price. This will enable AT&T to collect 4 to 6 months of handset subsidies before offering a new phone to a customer.
AT&T said that this new policy will apply to any customer whose agreement expires in March 2014 or later. This means that it applies to AT&T subscribers that signed a two year contract during or after March 2012.
Early upgrades are still possible after six months into a contract and you will qualify for a partial discount off of the full retail price, according to GigaOM. You will have to sign another two year contract at that point though.
AT&T is not the only major telecommunications company that now requires 24 months for an upgrade. Verizon made the same change back in April 2013.
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