AT&T Bids Farewell To Two-Year Smartphone Contracts On January 8th

If you’re one of the few that still purchases brand new smartphones with a two-year contract, America’s second largest wireless carrier is about to strip that option away from you. Starting January 8th, AT&T customers will have to purchase a new phone using NEXT or eat the entire cost of the device upfront.

This move is not unprecedented; earlier this year, AT&T stopped offering two-year contracts via its third-party resellers (a la Best Buy) and only offered them through its company-owned retail stores and online. This latest move further aligns AT&T’s corporate policy of killing two-year phone contracts for good.

It should be noted that this policy doesn’t just apply to smartphones; it also applies to old-school “dumb” flip-phones. There is one exception to this “death to two-year contracts” sentiment that is running through the wireless industry. Engadget reports that large corporate customers will still be able to secure two-year contracts for phone purchases. 

ATT Store

Once word of the looming January announcement leaked, AT&T issued the following statement: 

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. Starting January 8, AT&T Next will be the primary way to get a new smartphone at AT&T. This does not apply to business customers under a qualified wireless service agreement. 

With that being said, two-year contracts will still be available for tablets, wearables, mobile hotspots, and IoT devices.