AT&T Drops the Two-Year Contract
As long as most AT&T customers have been AT&T customers, they have been slaves to the two-year contract. Unable to break this contract without high fees or other consequences, the two-year contract has both its benefits and its downsides, but in 2016, whether you’re a fan or a foe, the standard, traditional two-year term will be terminated.
In the usual contract, customers paid one specific charge for a new phone, and a charge for service. You could renew your contract after the two years were up and procure a new device (for a fee) but reneging on the contract was never an option. Being locked into a contract has been a point of contention for many smartphone users for years, so the news of AT&T dropping the contract is news that many smartphone owners are happy to hear. So what changes are coming to AT&T’s users?
The new phone plan is called AT&T Next. This plan may or may not be an upgrade from the standard two-year contract, but it does have its upside for users on a budget who still wish to upgrade to the latest phones, including the new iPhone. On the Next plan, users can pay a small monthly fee to eventually own their phone. Somewhat like a renting or leasing plan, the Next plan lets users “pay out” the cost of their phones instead of having to come up with an upfront payment for the entire price of the device. You can either trade in your phone for a newer model after you’ve made a set number of payments, or you can pay the phone off in full and keep it.
This sounds a little unusual, making payments for a phone, but in all actuality, it may save customers some money in the long run when it comes to fees and other costs for buying a device. Data and voice plans will likely remain the same, but users who opt for the Next plan will find that the cost of their phone and phone service are bundled into one price.
For users who wish to still purchase a phone outright and do things in a more traditional way, there is still the option to do that. However, the two-year contract is still going to be eliminated. If you’re currently in the midst of an old plan, you can upgrade when it’s time for you to get a new device and try out the Next plan to see if it’s a better deal for you. Of course, it’s always wise to add phone insurance to any device, because you never know what could happen and it’s only a small monthly fee for AT&T customers!
So, what do you think of most mobile companies, including Verizon and T-Mobile, doing away with long term contracts in favor of short term, installation plans instead? Will you be switching to AT&T Next or a similar plan?