We have learned that AT&T’s long affair with the 2-year phone contracts continues to wind down. According to an internal document sent to employees, as new and existing customers will only be able to get new smartphones by paying the full price upfront or in installments over time. Set to make effect on January 8th, 2016. So you have to better act fast if you really want to lock yourself down for a few more years.
This move is made prfectly and applies to all of AT&T’s phones. Once the new year rolls around, even flip phones and non-smartphones with keyboards (what AT&T likes to call “Quick Messaging Devices”) must be bought outright or with an installment plan. Smartwatch wearables like Samsung Gear S2 and tablets, which are sold with two-year contracts will also be carrying the same state is unknown at the moment, but it’s also possible that AT&T may keep multi-year contracts around for larger corporate accounts. Statement from ATT says that the changes are being made for the sake of “alighning… service offerings with customer and industry trends”.
While the smaller, scrappier carriers such as T-Mobile have already bailed on the multi-year contract model, whereas AT&T has been a bit slower to act. In June 2015, the United States-based mobile carrier stopped offering contracts for smartphones to customers through local dealers and partner retailers like Best Buy and Apple. Payment plans like AT&T Next were the future. Verizon has also stopped pushing two-year contracts a few months later, and people who had those contracts could keep them and still get subsidized phones if they wanted. An option that won’t be available to AT&T customers.