AT&T is set to be the next US wireless carrier to do away with 2-year smartphone contracts and subsidized prices for phones.
Starting January 8th, if you want to buy a smartphone from AT&T you’ll pay full price for it, either by paying for the phone up front or by paying for your phone with a monthly installment plan.
Does that mean AT&T is going entirely contract-free? Not exactly. Instead the company will be pushing the AT&T Next plan which allows customers to upgrade to a new phone once a year, even if their older phone hasn’t yet been paid off.
Still, the new move will give customers more flexibility in switching phones or service plans on their own schedule rather than that of their wireless carrier.
Engadget first reported the news earlier today, based on leaked documents, and AT&T has confirmed to The Verge that the planned change will take effect in January. According to Droid Life, the elimination of 2-year contracts only applies to phones though. AT&T is said to be keeping that option for tablets, wearables, mobile hotspots, and other products.