New two-year contracts also move to 20-month upgrade cycles

In an effort to move more customers over to its 'AT&T Next' phone financing and Mobile Share Value plans, AT&T is offering customers an easy transition out of their traditional two-year contract. Starting today, AT&T customers will be able to end their current contract and purchase a new device for $0 down with monthly payments through AT&T Next, and also shave $15 per line off of their monthly bill by going to an off-contract Mobile Share Value plan.

Any customer who was on-contract as of January 18th, 2014 will be given this chance to end their contract — the one small caveat being that in order to be eligible you'll have to first complete at least six months of your current contract. Additionally, anyone who signs a standard two-year contract after today will be moved to a faster 20-month upgrade cycle.

This looks to us like a pretty clear shot back at T-Mobile, which earlier this month started offering to pay off people's ETFs from other carriers when they switch. This new program from AT&T is essentially paying off your ETF, provided you stay with it and move over to an off-contract plan. Regardless of the motivation it's an interesting (and consumer-friendly) move in the end.

Source: AT&T


Reader comments

AT&T offering customers an easy move to Next payment plans from existing contracts


T-Mobile really shook the market! But I do like how all carriers are forced to change. The future is looking good!

Nexus 5...enough said

I left At&t because of the update debacle of the note 2 and the unwillingness to let me use the Next program to upgrade. Now after T-Mobile has raped their pockets they want to compromise with their customers who have been loyal. Well I would recommend those who are still with At&t to seriously consider leaving because these are only ploys to keep you hostage. I give T-Mobile all the kudos in the world for bucking the trend At&t and Verizon have set. I hope T-Mobile is further successful with their plans because it is teaching these other two idiotic companies how to treat their customers.

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I'm fine as of now with AT&T. Never had any major issues since I buy off-contract nexus phones to use with my grandfathered unlimited data. I would switch to T-Mobile and go prepaid if they had any kind of coverage where I live.

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Exactly. The value plans aren't bad either. For 2 lines sharing 8gb with my corporate discount my bill would be around $110 a month. But for now I'm sticking with T-Mobile. My bill with unlimited data on one line and 500mb on another (not much data is used on that line) my bill is under $90 a month before taxes.

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I do too! It's about time contracts are done away with in the U.S.!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Shut your mouth. I'm with T-Mobile and if T-Mobile wasn't good in my area I would be with AT&T. The difference is about $10. Plus with AT&T you get more coverage. Just be quiet and do a little research before speaking. My kids have a smarter thinking ability.

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Well hopefully your kids aren't as immature and belligerent as you are. If some1 wants to express their opinion and you disagree, then fine. No need to disrespect.

Shut "your" Mouth. T-Mobile happens to be Phenomenal in my Area, perhaps you should think before you speak for everybody's experiences.

Please. Whatever carrier you're currently on, and whatever manufacturer's phone you currently have is "the best". 2.5 years ago you were with HTC and Sprint. You wouldn't shut up about how perfect they were, and how "crappy" all the other carriers and manufacturers were. I recall you claiming Verizon was "the devil" and that you'd never touch any of "Samsuck's crappy ass plastic devices". Fast forward a few months and you're suddenly claiming Verizon and the Galaxy Nexus/stock Android "pimp slaps all others". A few months after that, you're on T-Mobile with a Galaxy S3 claiming (again) how all other carriers are "useless", that Samsung was "bitch slapping" everyone else, and that stock Android was a "boring useless" piece of junk.
What a hypocrite and joke.

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy even though I got Verizon........

Sent from my Nexus 7 2013 or iPhone 5

You'll get more out of your device from gazelle than anywhere else... Yes, you can POST it for a higher price elsewhere, but you're not going to sell it....

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Gazelle ripped me off. They promised one price then after they had my phone changed the price to less than half. They claimed it was damaged, it wasn't. When I told them to send it back they made veiled threats about how things disappeared in the mail every day, and they promised that if I got it back it would be damaged. I took their lowball offer then filed better business bureau complaint. If you Google "gazelle scam" there are a lot of people that got ripped off. I didn't think to Google them till it was too late.

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Seriously? They get tons of stuff every day, from all over the place. I've gotten rid of all kinds of stuff that otherwise would have gone to the landfill and their response has been perfect every time. I haven't heard of anyone having a problem with them until now.

I saw a lot of overpriced stuff on Swappa, but now that I'm with a no-contract carrier, I might use them in the future to buy one.

There are a couple of overpriced stuff. But in the end if your phone doesn't sell it's your loss. Most people on there are honest and price their phones correctly. If it's priced wrong then people just won't buy it.

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Hell, I posted my HTC One on there for 250 and not a single offer. Others were posted for 400 at the time.

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I have sold every phone I've ever owned and moved from on Craiglist. Just sold my S4 for $375 after using it for 8 months and ordered a 32GB Nexus 5 with that money. The ad was posted for two days. I have always had good luck with it. Gazelle wouldn't be able to touch $375 for an S4

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Same here. I check to see how much everyone else is selling theirs and sell mine for like 50/25 under (depending how broke I am). Guarantee my phone sells faster. Everything I've ever posted in Craigslist has been sold in hours. As a female I always make sure to meet them during the day in a public place with my 6'1 brother next to me. A lot of people try to negotiate onnthe price once they get there though. They'll agree to one price then try to cut it in half once they are there. I don't budge. I usually have several offers so I just move on to the next one.

Swappa is my new favorite site. My last 8 phones have been sold there. And my last 2 phones have been purchased there too. It's so much better than dealing with liars and cheats on eBay.

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Yes trade your device, where have you been the last ten years. Who knows where you are coming from a cdma network, a gsm with different lte frequency. Not to mention the difference in types of sim cards. My question is why would you not try to trade in your device?

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Because trading gets you almost nothing for your phone. Unless you have an s1 or s2 or an older phone you will get a lot more selling on your own. Especially with a site as good as swappa. Of course if your under contract and have a beat up s3 then the trading deal from T-Mobile is a no brainer.

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Ac app misplaces posts occasionally... Like the one you replied to so comment was meant to be in a completely different thread...

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Not enough to keep me on at&t still going to T-Mobile when my contract ends April 2nd.

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Good decision Bryant. My bill is 35 dollars lower with T-Mobile with both phones unlimited than At&t with one line unlimited and one with a 6gig data plan.

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We thought about moving to T-Mobile from AT&T as well, but everyone I talk to in my area says I should stay where I am. They've had horrible experiences with T-Mobile in the area I live. (York, PA area) So as of right now this is a welcome change that AT&T is presenting. I may have to take them up on it. I'm still considering either the Nexus 5 or the LG G2. I can't decide.

Although comparing unlimited to unlimited is good nowadays it's important to actually see how much data you use since it could save you money. For example, I use about 4gb to 5gb of data every month. My wife only uses about 300 to 450mb. Although we are on T-Mobile, we could switch to AT&T and get on the value plan with 2 lines sharing 8gb and it would only cost around $10 to $12 more with my corporate discount. For bigger coverage that is not a bad price. But for now T-Mobile is just fine.

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You couldn't use Wifi Calling? That is an option with them (unless you have an iPhone or Nexus device).

I actually have no issues with in building signal. I can actually use my phone inside stores and be able to use my phone to do price comparisons and stuff like that. With Sprint my signal would switch to roam and with sprints new updates we rarely got signal since the phone prefers a weak signal over switching to the stronger roaming signal. Only way I could use my Note 2 was to root it and force roam on Verizon towers. With T-Mobile I have no issues. Yes, there are some times when I lose lte inside a building but the 4g is signal is just as good.

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Exactly. Only get T-Mobile if their good in your area. Most likely if T-Mobile is good in your area they are probably faster or about the same as AT&T. Especially if you live in areas that now have wideband lte.

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It has to be better than just "good in your area". I don't know many ppl who stay in one spot for the rest of their lives. Tmo is good in some areas, but useless if you travel to places other than major cities.

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I'm on sprint and right now I'll settle for decent coverage and no dropped calls when I have full signal. Give me a consistent 4mb+ on hspa or LTE and I'm in.

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Contracts are 24 month upgrade cycle not 20. Next 12 is the 20 month cycle.

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New contracts are a 20 month upgrade period. Next 12 allows a device trade in after 12 months and the device is fully paid off after 20 months.

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So spend $600 on a phone and save $360 on your bill over 2 years. Not bad actually.

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Yup, and a phone that you would likely have bought for about $200 on contract. So you're looking at spending $400 more to save $360. Getting there.

I'd love to switch to T-Mobile from sprint but according to my research they aren't any better than sprint in my area. If AT&T would offer a buyout of any other carrier I'd be there as they have the best network here. Cmon AT&T!

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Tmob will pay the ETF right now...I wish I'd have waited a couple of months cuz Sprint hit me with a $396.00 ETF when I dropped them like the bad habit they had become in my area.

Have you actually tested a T-Mobile phone or looked at the T-Mobile coverage on their website? Their coverage maps are pretty accurate. You could always buy a nexus 4 and add the $30 prepay plan and try for a month. If it doesn't work then sell the nexus or use it on AT&T.

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They actually understate their coverage in my area... Which is way better than overstating it like Verizon does.

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Everyone is talking about Tmo. But, Sprint is just $5 more.
Tmo is $50 for unlimited Talk & Text, $20 for unlimited 4G data, and $10 for insurance with early upgrade. ($80)
Sprint is (on the Framily Plan) $55 for unlimited Talk & Text, $20 for unlimited data and early upgrade, and $10 for insurance. ($85)
This is for individual plans. (Both are non-contract) But to get multi-line discounts Tmo requires that all lines be on the same account, while Sprint let's you use a code to connect multiple lines for the discount.

Both have similar device financing.
Both have unlimited 4G LTE.
Both have decent coverage in my city.
(Houston Texas has good 4G LTE on all the 4 major carriers.)

So for me either Sprint or Tmo can take my money. (Because using AT&T or Verizon would make me feel stupid.)

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3...!!!

I am in the same boat as you.

The difference between Tmo and Sprint is that there is no doubt that Sprint will get better while tmo is stuck. They maybe upgrading existing towers, but the word expansion does not exist for them.

On a pleasant note, I got a text from Sprint that Spark is coming to my area pretty soon. I won't be able to take advantage of it for 10ish months but it will be there...

When you get to multiple-line plans on T-Mobile, you start saving a lot more compared to Sprint (an extra $15 saved per extra line). Add that to the fact that T-Mobile speeds are much faster, and I'd say definitely go T-Mo.

Where you live. Get off the highway and welcome dial up speeds

I haven't priced multiple lines since we are thankfully locked into Sprint, but I will take a look for s & g. You also may not be adding in the framily thing

Won't matter this time next year anyway when Sprint Mobile is approved

Mommy posted this because I am not allowed to internets

I'm not on a highway, and have excellent coverage with Tmob, even up in the frickin' mountains. It's really nice to be able to use a smartphone in all it's glory.

That may work for you but not for many. Here where I live, Sprint supposedly has great coverage. Even lte. But sprints lte is between 4 and 6mbps. On T-Mobile hspa+ I'm getting over 9mbps. On LTE it's not even close. I still have a Sprint phone for business and I find myself in Sprint LTE coverage having to tether off my T-Mobile phone because the Sprint data is too slow. Plus, my bill with sprint on an everything plan was around $120 before tax for 2 lines. With T-Mobile it's about the same but T-Mobile speeds are way better.

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Love this also being made available in January....
I totally want to pick up a hot "new" phone that will be a previous gen version in a few months and then I'm now locked into some sort of new contract and when they unloaded old inventory on me!

Haha me too! I ran the math and getting a 1020 and moving to a 2gb mobile share value from a 450 min 3gb plan should only cost me around $6 more a month. I typically use about 500 mb so I could go lower and actually save money

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Uh, January is almost over, what is the big deal?

But these are not contract plans - they are financing plans, and you can upgrade more quickly.

As a Verizon customer, it's really tempting, although the coverage in rural areas is not as good. But then, I'm not usually in rural areas, although my job takes me there sometimes. My feeling is that I'm headed toward AT&T come May - I can get a newer phone, and the upgrade time will be much shorter if I go with the 12 or 18 month plans. AND I can see that the plan price has dropped by $15. I would end up saving a couple of bucks per month on the Next 12 plan and a few more on the Next 18 for the same package deal.

When Verizon decided they wouldn't get Nexus 5. I decided to switch to Straight Talk T Mobile. Have better reception at work no dead zone. It's about time someone takes down these 2 giants.

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Andrew says:

" This new program from AT&T is essentially paying off your ETF, provided you stay with it and move over to an off-contract plan. "

How is this "off contract"?
You still have to sign up for at least two years of service.

The presser also says:
"Additional monthly charge per additional device, AT&T Next installmentsm charges, & for additional data. Plans w/ smartphone start at $45/mo. w. 300 MB data. Subject to change."

300meg? Really? Wht's the next step up going to cost?
My phone lives on Wifi most of the time, but it still uses
more than 300meg of cellular data every month.

I think I'll do all the math before we jump on this one.

Mobile Share Value plans have been available for a good while now. All of their pricing is clearly posted on their site.

When you choose a Mobile Share Value plan and finance a phone through AT&T Next, there really is no contract. You're agreeing to buy the device (just like T-Mobile), but there's no tying of that handset to your service. Mobile Share Value plans are technically month-to-month, and have all of the same data caps/allotments as the regular Mobile Share plans. You simply go off contract, take no phone subsidy, and pay $15 less per month to add a smartphone.

For example, on Mobile Share (traditional) it costs $40 to add a smartphone to your plan and get a subsidy. On Mobile Share Value, it only costs $25 to add a smartphone to the plan, provided you finance through Next or BYOD.

All other charges, data plan sizes and features are the exact same. If you're outraged now, you should've been outraged by the pricing before. Nothing has changed, except AT&T is doing you a favor by cutting out much of the device subsidy cost if you BYOD.

AT&T is telling you that the subsidy on your phone is really $15/mo - the price by which they drop the cost of their plans. So if you shopped for a new phone now, you can see the financed cost of the phone, and then the cost of the plan based on what data package you choose.

For me, AT&T would be about $10 cheaper with a Moto X on the Next 18 plan with 2gb data than it is by staying with Verizon. It's slightly more expensive on the Next 12 plan, about $6 more. But I could upgrade my phone a lot faster, no early termination fees, no contract - unless taking the 2 year service plan.

By signing up for 2 years, you get your upgrade window moved to 20 months and no money down.

I just don't understand why everyone thinks these new data share / Next plans are good.
My plan 69.99 (includes 2 lines) and 9.99 per line and $30 for all lines to have unlimited text and $30 per line data.
4 lines cost me 239.97 before taxes and before an discounts. (that includes 3GB data per line)(12GB total)
Same exact plan on Next program $328 per month before tax/disc. (10GB data share / 2.5GB per line)

Total costs over 2 years:

Next plan 2 year cost with 4 smart phones and 2.5GB data per line. = $7822 (328 x 24)
Old AT&T plan: 3GB per line/ 4 smartphones = $5759.28 (239.97 x 24)

I save $2062.72 over 2 years. Even taking out $796 ($199 x 4) for the cost of the subsidized phones still leaves $1266.72 in my pocket vs the new data share / Next plan.
That is enough to buy 2 phones at full retail if I want to "upgrade" early (i.e. pay full retail price)
And that doesn't even factor in selling my old device to help with that cost.
or with nearly $1300 in saving I could ETF ALL 4 lines and quit the contracts ANY time I want.

These new plans are a money grab and a rip off ...

Depends upon where you are coming from. No they aren't cheap but the $15 discount off the plan cost is a net positive for many people.

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I'm seeing similar numbers on our plan.

I know I'm paying that subsidy on the phones forever, but in spite of that the old plan still is cheaper, and offers more data.

Too many people just don't do the math.

T-mobile has definitely made a change to the industry, with its UN-carrier motives. Only time will tell, if that change is ultimately for the better.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I left att for T-Mobile I'm happy I did they network here is good but weak in some areas but I'm in WiFi 98% of the time so its cool I saved 80 a month

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I just priced out a new "Value Share Plan" through AT&T to compare the different pricing from their old plans that my wife and I are on and it's the exact same price... They lowered the data price 10 dollars but upped the smartphone line pricing 5 dollars a piece so it's a wash. Yeah, such a "Value" AT&T. Thanks...

You'll need to be more specific. The value plans are $15 cheaper than other plans and to add a phone it's $25 instead of the higher price. Example: 2 lines both with smartphones sharing 8gb data on share value plan will cost only $140. Same plan with Verizon is closerb to $220. T-Mobile is around $120 and that's with 2 lines being truly unlimited, with 2.5gb of hotspot. T-Mobile wins for sure but AT&T isn't so bad if T-Mobile coverage is not good in your area.

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So can I switch to the Mobile Share Value plan without getting a new device and then run without getting an ETF?

yes but remember T-Mobile is requiring the final bill to be sent to them to verify you had an ETF. If you don't have an ETF they aren't going to pay you anything.

That's fine, I have a Nexus 5 that I'm not getting rid of and my wife has a fairly new One Mini in great condition...yeah, not a new phone, but they are fetching around $300 on swappa.

I jumped on the t mobile bandwagon and I have to say we have had a great experience so far. I live in central NJ and get lte in my house as well as all over my town. Also everywhere I work has either been lte or hspa+. I had edge maybe once, which was in a Walmart bathroom. We pay 176 for 2 s4's and unlimited data with the upgrade JUMP which includes phone protection and lookout premium. Very happy with coverage and the edge doesn't really matter because of wifi calling. Sent my bill from Verizon in with no issues. Definitely worth a look.

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So here is the pricing structure for this. I just got off a Sales Chat with AT&T:

(I pay 180 dollars a month right now with 6GB of data/Unlimited everything else at AT&T)

"Value Share Plan":
6GB for two lines = 130 dollars
4GB for two lines = 120 dollars

Two MotoX's @ 20.38/month EACH for 26 months (Able to upgrade after 12 months)

Total price for my wife and I to switch to this plan:

6GB = 170 dollars
4GB = 160 dollars
(The above total DOES NOT include taxes/fees)

So needless to say, there "Value Share Plans" really aren't a value at all. Pretty sad they are making it out that way though.

I would consider doing this, but when I signed up for my mobile share plan last year, the price per line (with 10GB data) was $30, and I have five lines. Now, the price is $40 per smartphone, which they will discount by $15 on the Next plan, which means I am saving only $5 per line, not the $15, and I have to go through all the hassle of new phones, new $35 activation fee for each phone, etc. Just not seeing it being worth all the extra hassle right now, unless someone can help me see it differently. (?)

I just checked and the mobile share value plan for 10gb is $100 plus whatever smartphones you add on. So for 2 lines with no contract it's $25 per smartphone. So it's $150 a month for 2 lines. For a 2 year contract the smartphone add-on price is $40.

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Yeah, that's what it is NOW. Last year, they had a sliding scale, where the more data you purchased, the cheaper it was per line. For example, I really only needed about 6 GB for our five lines, as four of us have abundant WiFi around us. However, it was $35 per line with 6 GB; it was $30 more to get up to 10 GB, but the per line charge dropped to $30, so for a net cost of $5 per month, I got the 10 GB data!

Now, with the Next plan, ALL smartphones are $40 (less the $15), so I would only be saving $5 per line, but have to add in the cost of whatever phone I wanted to buy.

OK, I just saw that there IS no activation fee, when using the Next program, so I don't have to worry about the $35. However, I still don't see the value here, for me, unless I were dying to have a new phone, which I'm not. (I have not seen anything that excites me any more than my HTC One, yet.) I would be paying $20 to $25 per month for the new phone, and saving only $5 per month off of my per line charge. Am I missing something? (Be nice!)

I miss my HTC One, but like my G2, too... Off topic, but your phone is definitely a good one...

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I have att 80.00 a month unlimited everything grandfathered in 200.00 upgrade phone then sell it when it is time then get a other 200.00 phone. Wouldn't leave it for T-Mobile they suck around here

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Took advantage of this today. Not saving any money but kids get new phones...and bill will drop after 18 months

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This is so full of shit! I called as asked about this and the chick on the other line told me that even if I went to NEXT I would still have to wait for my contract to end for the phone I have in my existing contract (which totally destroys this whole "moving existing customers and abolish their ETF) secondly she told me that my bill would go up from my existing mobile share account. And that this 15 dollar a month "savings" is made up from what used to be 30 bucks per phone to the now 40 bucks per phone.(I have 3 phones) My bill would go up 10 bucks. This is NO savings at all. All AT&T is doing is shuffling four quarters around and making a dollar still a dollar and adding one more quarter while it's all jumbled. There is NO savings with this plan at all. The only reason I stay with them is because they are more reliable than tmobile in my area and their internet is super fast. I'm paying a high price for reliability. Something t-mobile doesn't offer at their ultra cheap price. AT&T is gonna have to start loosing a lot more customers to get competitive pricing. Let's stand by to stand by!


If you read my post above, you will see I am in the same boat as you. However, they just announced that, starting Sunday, Feb 2, each line will cost only $15, not the $40 that it was last month! My five lines with 10 GB data will cost $175 per month, instead of the $270 I have right now! I just have to figure out how much they will charge for my "on-contract" phones, which were all purchased last summer.