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Nothing says major press event like a buried change “company y” hopes will go unnoticed. This is exactly what AT&T tried (and mostly failed) this past weekend with the internal announcement of some changes to their upgrade period. In the buzz leading up to Apple’s big press event, perhaps AT&T hoped these changes would go unnoticed by the world at large…instead chalk up one more reason not to be a AT&T customer and one more reason to enjoy T-Mobile’s Simple Choice and UNcarrier industry outlook. The bottom line is new AT&T contract subscribers, and those existing whose terms finish in March 2014 or later will now be forced to wait 24 months instead of the traditional 20 months to upgrade. Four months may not sound like a lot, but when you consider how quickly smartphones change these days, four months sounds like eternity.
The news broke on Engadget this past Sunday with the change going into action the same day. The memo itself doesn’t offer any context or explanation for the change, just one more reminder why even with all my complaining about T-Mobile’s marketing, their lenient (lenient when compared to the rest of the national carriers) outlook with the inception of Simple Choice plans should offer them plenty of marketing fodder. There will be plenty of disenchanted customers upset about this change and it’s almost like throwing T-Mobile a perfect marketing pitch. I hope they jump on yet another opportunity to show AT&T customers there’s a better wireless world out there.