Back in June, AT&T exec Ralph de la Vega said that contracts were fading away, and AT&T stopped offering two-year commitments at retailers like Apple and Best Buy. And starting next month, they’ll be gone from AT&T proper, too.
AT&T has confirmed that on January 8, it will do away with two-year contracts. That means that customers will only be able to buy phones at full retail price or on AT&T Next, its monthly payment program. That’ll apply to smartphones as well as Basic flip phones and keyboard-equipped Quick Messaging Devices, a leaked document shows. However, contracts will still be available to business customers, and a Droid-Life source indicates that contracts will still be available on wearables, tablets, and Internet of Things devices as well.
Interestingly, the docs leaked by Engadget show that AT&T will not allow existing customers to buy a device on-contract after January 8. When Verizon abolished contracts earlier this year, it quickly pointed out that existing on-contract customers could still upgrade to a subsidized device if they want to. With AT&T, though, every customer will have to pay full price or get a monthly installment plan.
T-Mobile stopped offering contracts with new phones a while ago, and earlier this year, Verizon did the same. AT&T has been placing a lot of focus on Next and its installment plans lately, and so it makes sense that it will also soon get rid of its contracts. The move is likely to be a disappointment to some, but it means that AT&T can stop subsidizing phones and instead get customers on installment plans that’ll see customers paying for the full price of a handset with monthly installments, locking them into AT&T for 18 to 30 months.
Are any of you still on a two-year contract?