AT&T will be putting a stop to its 2 year contract service that enables users to buy subsidized smartphones.
New customers, starting January 8th, will not be able to sign up for 2 year contracts. Instead, they can opt to pay the full price of the smartphone upfront, or pay the sum in installments.
This will be applicable to all mobile phones that AT&T sells, including basic phones and flip phones. Also ‘Quick Messaging Devices’, those phones with a full QWERTY keyboard.
If you were planning on buying the new iPhone on a 2 year contract from AT&T, you’ll have to look elsewhere. T-Mobile and Verizon have also stopped with the 2 year contract plans.
Buying a smartphone on a 2 year contract is actually beneficial for the customer, as the smartphone will be heavily subsidized. A 16GB iPhone 6s with a 2 year contract from AT&T only costs $199, which is good.
Although, by doing this, you’re tied to the carrier and have to a fixed monthly charge for the plan you choose.
Here’s the internal memo that was sent to AT&T employees earlier today;
Effective January 8, 2016, AT&T will launch a pricing simplification effort for device purchase options and pricing plans across all channels.
Simplify Device Purchase Options
– AT&T Next and no-commitment (full-retail price) will become the only smartphone purchase options available for new and existing Consumer, standard Individual Responsibility Users (IRU).
– AT&T will introduce installment plans for Quick Messaging devices (QMD) and Basic devices. Installment plans and no-commitment (full-retail price) will become the only purchase option for new and existing Consumer, standard Individual Responsibility Users (IRU).
And here’s an FAQ that was sent along with the memo, for those who have any questions;
Can existing customer upgrade from a two-year agreement upgrade to a new two-year agreement after January 8, 2016?
No. Existing customers can choose to purchase a new smartphone on AT&T Next or pay no-commitment price. Existing customers who want to purchase a new QMD or Basic phone can choose to purchase on an installment plan or pay no-commitment.
Will two-year agreements still be available for employees on EMO accounts?
No. Employees on EMO accounts wishing to add or upgrade their Smartphone, QMD, or Basic device can choose to purchase a new device on AT&T Next/installment plan or pay the no-commitment price.
Can a new customer purchase a smartphone, QMD, or Basic phone on a two year agreement after January 8, 2016?
No. New customers can choose to purchase a smartphone on AT&T Next or pay no-commitment. New customers who want to purchase a QMD or Basic phone can choose an installment plan or pay no commitment.
Can Custom IRU and CRU (with FAN) customers purchase a new smartphone/QMD/Basic device on a two year agreement?
Yes. CRU accounts on a FAN agreement may purchase a smartphone on a new two-year agreement from AT&T Retail and Authorized Retail.
What do you have to say about this move by AT&T? Are you willing to buy your next smartphone from the carrier by using either AT&T Next or paying the full amount?