AT&T ending two-year phone contracts in January

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AT&T is ditching contracts. The telecom giant was the last of the major U.S. mobile phone carriers offering two-year contracts, to subsidize the cost of new smartphones for customers.

It will stop offering two-year contracts on January 7, 2016.

Starting January 8th, customers will only be able to buy new phones through two options: Paying the full price up-front or paying in installments over time under it’s “AT&T Next” plan.

Two-year contracts used to be an industry norm. But they’ve been phased out — being replaced by paying full price for devices, usually in monthly installments over two years. Or by offering cheaper monthly plans with no contract.

In August, Sprint and Verizon announced they would no longer offer contracts. T-Mobile ditched contracts more than two years ago.

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