Additional contract rumors have yet again surfaced for AT&T. For the second straight day, a swirling buzz has been created around the future of contracts. Earlier this morning, news broke regarding speculation an additional program was being added to the Next program (AT&T Next 12 with Down Payment). Bolstering additional truth to this latest payment plan, on June 1st, the Carrier will no longer be offering the option to enroll in a 2-year contract upfront with a subsidized price.
To clarify, ultimately, there will still be a way to obtain the now elusive 2-year contract enrollment, but it certainly won't be eyeing you in the face inside stores. Technically, you'll still be able to pen the 2-year agreement through customer service, the corporate website (att.com), and corporate locations. However, when dealing with a local authorized reseller, the transaction will mirror placing an order online, and you will not see your shiny new phone for several days. Ultimately, it seems more like a punishment than anything for signing up for a longer term. Interestingly enough, these rules won't apply for alternative devices such as tablets. Why the shift from AT&T? Well, competitors like T-Mobile have successfully demonstrated this model as an effective way to attract customers. Plus, the entire industry seems to be shifting that way. That said, it is beneficial to be aware that the option still exists in some form.
If you are a current AT&T customer and nearing the end of your contract, here are the options available to you. First, if this rumor does come to fruition, you'll need to work harder to strike that 2-year contract deal. Secondly, there are 3 confirmed device leasing options with a supposed 4th on the way later this month. These options rely more so on paying monthly for the device cost since you are technically not bound to a contract. AT&T Next 12, 18, & 24 are the cornerstone purchasing options at this time. These do require a qualifying credit check (due to $0 down payment for the device), but paired with their theoretical new plan all customers are covered. The 4th option, AT&T Next 12 With Down Payment, will eliminate the need for a credit check and grant all customers the ability to participate in the device leasing program. This selection will require a 30% down payment on the device itself, but the remainder of the cost will be divvied up equally over 28 months with the ability to change devices after 12. Hopefully, full confirmation on both the Next 12 With Down Payment and 2-year contract phaseout will happen shortly.