Apple has removed the choice to buy a new iPhone on a two-year contract through AT&T, doing away with the opportunity to purchase your device for a subsidized price of $199 or $299 through the carrier. Instead, customers wishing to get an iPhone on AT&T must qualify for and use the carrier’s Next financing plan.
The change, first noted by MacRumors, applies to both the Apple Store online and Cupertino’s brick and mortar retail locations. This does not appear to be a policy applying just to Apple or the iPhone, though. AT&T’s Web page still allows customers to purchase an iPhone on a two-year contract.
A recent report from DroidLife revealed that AT&T would be making a move away from subsidized pricing and two-year contracts altogether beginning June 1, except through the carrier’s Web page, customer service, and company owned retail locations.
This is a move that T-Mobile has already made, doing away with contracts in favor of finance plans. While Verizon and Sprint still offer two-year contracts and subsidized pricing, this shift does make me wonder if the other carriers will soon follow suit and only offer finance plans. Both carriers have their own finance plans already in place, so it would not be difficult for them to transition away from subsidized pricing.
AT&T’s pricing for the iPhone 6 begins at $21.64 per month for a 16GB device, going up to $28.30 for the 128GB model. For the iPhone 6 Plus, AT&T Next pricing starts at $24.97 each month for a 16GB device, with a rate of $31.64 if you want the 128GB iPhone.