Whether you call it subsidy withdrawal or something else, AT&T is winding down on most 2-year phone contracts by January 8, 2016 and customers who desire a new phone might have to pay for it upfront or over time in installments - Engadget reports.
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Employees were notified this morning of the new plan, and this means new and existing customers have the option of paying in full or in installments for new phones. For anyone that wants to retain his contract for two more years, the time to act is now because from January 8, the new policy will take full effect.
All AT&T phones are affected by this latest development, and this means flip phones and basic phones with conventional keyboards – AT&T calls it “Quick Messaging Devices” – must be paid for upfront or on installments.
How this affects Samsung Gear 2 and tablets among other wearables remain unclear, because these are sold on 2-year contracts and company promotion is still ongoing on them. It is also not clear how this latest policy affects large corporations with company accounts with AT&T, but it is speculated the communication company might retain multi-year contracts for these corporations.
Since June 2015, partner retailers and local dealers no longer provide contracts to smartphone buyers; but those who go straight to AT&T stores to request for contract extension and buyers of basic phones may still have this option open to them.
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Verizon took a cue from this and also stopped offering 2-year contracts to its customers around September. However, customers with custom IRU and CRU with FAN agreement can still buy smartphones on a 2-year plan if they visit AT&T retail and authorized retail outlets.