AT&T is the last major US wireless carrier to continue to offer two-year contracts after Sprint said today that it would no longer subsidize the cost of smartphones via a traditional two-year contract. Verizon Wireless transitioned away from two-year contract earlier this month, while T-Mobile stopped offering them in 2013.
As with the other carriers that have decided to drop contracts, Sprint customers must now either buy their smartphone up front or lease it and pay it off in chunks each month.
Sprint timed the maneuver with the launch of a new program, called iPhone Forever, that lets customers upgrade to the latest iPhone whenever they want. Customers must pay $22 per month (that's in addition to the data plan) for the ability to upgrade to the latest and greatest iPhone—which, word on the street, is only a few weeks away from being announced by Apple.
Sprint's iPhone Forever program comes just a few weeks after rival wireless carrier T-Mobile debuted a similar plan of its own. The move did not go unnoticed by T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who never misses an opportunity to poke fun at his smaller rival: