Two year contracts appear to be on the way out, for better or worse, replaced now by payment plans such as AT&T Next, Sprint Easy Pay, Verizon Edge and T-Mobile JUMP. Apple is changing the way you’ll buy a new AT&T iPhone from its online or retail stores and has officially ditched all options to buy a new device with a new two-year AT&T contract.
Instead, you’ll need to sign up for an AT&T Next plan, which allows you to finance the full cost of a phone and pay it off month by month with AT&T Next 24, Next 18, Next 12 or Next 12 with a down payment. Depending on which Next plan you choose, you’ll pay off the cost of your new device in between 20 and 30 installments, and will be eligible for an upgrade after anywhere from 12 months to 24 months. At the end of that cycle, you trade in your phone for a new one, instead of keeping it or selling it. With those plans you’ll pay, at a minimum, $21.64 per month for the 16GB iPhone 6 or $24.97 per month for the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple’s site allows you to buy new iPhones from Sprint or Verizon with a new two-year contract, so this appears to be an initiative started by AT&T and passed over to Apple. It’s a trend we expect to continue.