AT&T will end two-year contracts for their cell phone carrier service starting next year.
SAN FRANCISCO — AT&T, the only major U.S. carrier that still offers two-year contracts to subsidize new smartphone purchases, will soon stop offering the contracts.
Starting Jan. 8, AT&T customers will only be able to get new phones, even flip phones or so-called “dumb” phones, by paying the full price or paying in installments over time.
The new policy does not apply to business customers who have a qualified wireless service agreement, AT&T says.
“With $0 down for well-qualified customers, the ability to upgrade early and down payment options available with even lower monthly installments, our customers are overwhelmingly choosing AT&T Next,” AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said in an emailed statement. “Starting January 8, AT&T Next will be the primary way to get a new smartphone at AT&T.”
Engadget first reported the change Wednesday.
Once the norm, two-year contracts have been phased out in the mobile industry in favor of selling devices at full price to consumers, typically through monthly installments over two years, or offering cheaper monthly plans without a contract.
Verizon and Sprint announced in August they would no longer sell contracts. T-Mobile got rid of contracts more than two years ago.
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