At&t Increases Phone Subsidy Period on Contract From 20 months to 2 years

| June 9, 2013 | 21 Replies

In a blog post today At&t announced that the new upgrade cycle for phones bought on contract will now become 24 months instead of the current 20; adding an extra 4 months of contract lock down. At&t was one of the first carriers to welcome Nokia back to the US with the lumia 900, 920 and 820 all as exclusives; (however recently Verizon has become the #1 WP8 carrier in the US); so this is likely to affect many future upgrades (and piss a fair bit of you off).


That new limit applies both to new customers and to anyone whose contract ends in March 2014 or later — meaning most people currently on a contract will get one more 20-month upgrade before the change takes effect

Once again I’m thankful that I buy my own phones straight-up and take them wherever I want; land of the free eh? (but then again at least it’s not Verizon)




Category: At&t, Lumia, Nokia, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, my name's Ali- Currently a fifth (and final) year Dental Student from Chicago; studying in Jordan. I love all sorts of gadgets almost as much as I love my cookies! Be sure to follow my Twitter handle @AliQudsi and Subcribe to my Youtube for the latest videos - no pressure. Thanks.
  • Viipottaja

    I guess this is AT&T response to T Mobile’s challenge to the status quo,and the overall growing trend of more people buying phones off-contract (but still,carrier locked)! 😛

    seriously speaking, I gather this means they are trying to lower the cost of subsidizing e.g. the iPhone. In the best case scenario the may offer more phones for free or close to free with new contracts.

  • xconomicron


    I have an upgrade available, but I was waiting for the EOS…

    • xconomicron

      oh ok nevermind…I read the source.

      *affects anyone who’s contract ends March 2014 or later.

      -whew, I almost just pissed my pants as I didn’t want to spend 700$ on the EOS when it came out. -like I did with the 808.

      • twig

        I’ll sell you my 808 so that way you will have 82MP. Sounds like a plan or a scam, either one. I want that white 925. 😊

        • xconomicron

          Lol- naw it’s cool. I don’t use my 808 as a daily driver…as I’m still sticking with the Titan for that.

          The two toned white 925? Eww…how bout the black one?

      • Viipottaja

        Btw, just FYI I managed to “whine” my 900 to 920 upgrade price down from iirc $350 to $99 by chatting with online reps (including supervisors).

        • xconomicron

          How far along were you before you had an upgrade available?

          If you were only a few months off…yea, AT&T will do that sometimes, as my brother just upgraded because he was only 2 months off from his actual upgrade.

          Anyway, it’s always a hassle though with that. And it’s not guaranteed it will work. Unless you continuously try to call a new rep each time.

        • sunnyvale

          I’m curious as how your conversation went with those online reps.

  • prashant

    Nokia will crosr 10 percent global market share if this pace continues.

    • Viipottaja

      Hold on, what’s the link between the story and your comment?

      • sunnyvale

        I assume prashant is making a prediction and sharing that data with us. It doesn’t necessarily need to be related to the displayed article.

  • prashant

    just trst ms if earlier they had done with windows beating mac’s then in phone’s also they will beat both ios and android by 2015.

    • Viipottaja

      Not going to happen with,regards to Android. iPhone maybe.

    • Viipottaja

      IPhone maybe, Androids no way.

      • Fred

        It’s a dangerous prediction Viipottaja. Microsoft is a tough opponent. For example:
        – In 1985 people like you said: “MS Excel will NEVER beat Lotus 1-2-3!”… it took a long time but they did
        – In 2001 people like you said: “Xbox will NEVER beat PS!”… it took a long time but they did
        And now…
        – In 2013 people like you say: “WP will NEVER beat Android!”… be careful 🙂 it will take a long time but maybe they will (anyway, it would be very good for Nokia)

      • Bhairav Pardiwala

        with their new 1.2 teraflop scalable low power chip (rumoured)
        ESPECIALLY android

  • JGrove303

    Extending the subsidized period. Does that mean lower down payment, more of the phone cost subsidized, or less payment toward subsidiary each month?

    • xconomicron

      You would think the costs would be lower…but unfortunately nothing will change with subsidized costs. Does Verizon and ATT do financing for their phones? I thought that was T-Mobile?

      • JGrove303

        No. But you do have to go through a credit check to start a new line of service. Dont score high enough, $500 deposit, for each new line, that you’ll get back in a year.

        Then you pay the contract price, which I’d $0-$$350 on a smartphone, then pay the state sales tax on the Off Contract price of the phone. Ex: Lumia 920 was $100 with 2 year agreement, tax was on $449.99.

        NOW, you pay for the monthly service charge, which varies on features, minutes text and mandatory data, but is guaranteed that you will spent no less than $60 a month on up to $120 a month.

  • Grazy

    All networks are doing this now! 2 years is too long. Once my contract is up I’m going to Pay Monthly with Tesco here in the UK. They use O2 so service wil be good. And prices can be as cheap as £7.50 a month and that gives you 500GB of data, 300 minutes and unlimited texts. Enough for me! I will then just buy the phone out right giving me the freedom to update when i want! 🙂 and it will work out pretty cheap i reckon!

    7.50×12=90 plus say 450 for a phone so = £540 for a years contract! over two years that would only be 630! 🙂

  • JPDVM2014

    It was only a matter of time. IIRC, I believe Verizon did this a while ago? As soon as my contract is up, I’m going to pre-paid. I don’t need LTE that bad.