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