If you’re one of the many AT&T customers who have gotten used to paying a “low” amount to upgrade your smartphone every 2 years or so, you may be in for a shock in the coming years. As an AT&T smartphone customer myself, I know I always look forward to the time when I can upgrade my phone and get something new. Unfortunately, it looks like the relatively low prices on smartphone upgrades are going to be going out the window in the near future. Good or bad news? Only time will tell. Apparently AT&T has some other incentive ideas up their sleeve. AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, recently spoke about these upcoming changes while in New York City. Specifically regarding the smartphone upgrades, Stephenson had this to say:

“When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network…But as you approach 90 percent penetration, you move into maintenance mode. That means more device upgrades. And the model has to change. You can’t afford to subsidize devices like that.”

Expect To Pay More For AT&T Smartphones In The Future

Will AT&T Be Alone In These Changes?

AT&T is currently seeing smartphone penetration rates at 75%, and they’d like some people to hang on to their devices for more than 2 years. As CNET reports, they’ve even recently began to offer customers who are eligible for upgrades a $15 discount on their bill each month if they keep their old phones. This begs the question – how long should you keep your smartphone? Is it really all that outdated after 18 months or even 2 years?

AT&T’s news also makes one wonder if they will just be the first smartphone carrier to make these changes. Just how long will it be before Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile follow suit and change their upgrade policies?

Of course you can still upgrade your phone after 2 years – you’ll just pay a higher amount than you would’ve in the past. No one’s not going to take your money if you decide you want a new smartphone.

[Image via phandroid]

SOURCE: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57615114-94/at-t-chief-we-cant-keep-doing-big-subsidies-on-phones/