AT&T, Verizon Modify Their Early Handset Upgrade Programs
As the companies continue to play catch up with T-Mobile's disruptive efforts, both AT&T and Verizon have announced slight changes to their early handset upgrade programs, which ditch subsidies in exchange for monthly financing charges. In a statement
, AT&T notes that customers on a two-year contract as of January 18 can sign up for their early handset upgrade program six months into their contract, an offer made to existing customers that indicates they're eager to prevent these users from switching to T-Mobile.
As we noted when AT&T's Next was unveiled last summer
, users originally had to wait twelve months before they could join the program, at which point they could trade in their handset without having to pay off the remainder owed.
Also reacting to T-Mobile is Verizon, who has announced they too are modifying their early handset upgrade program, named Edge. According to Verizon
, Edge users now can upgrade after just thirty days (down from six months), though you'll still have to pay off at least half of the device.
It's worth reminding readers that cellular executives are on record admitting they jacked up the prices of services and data to counter the impact they take from subsidizing devices. Eliminating those subsidies without lowering service rates actually means you're not only paying more for service, you're effectively paying for your handsets twice (AT&T's new Value Share
plans promise savings, but primarily only for higher data allotment plans).
It's unclear just how many users want to spend life on AT&T and Verizon's very costly bleeding edge, or if either effort will do much to counter T-Mobile's aggressive price disruption.