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AT&T’s SIM-only Plan Still Requires A Contract?

12754_hand_cuffs.jpgFor some reason I thought I wrote about this, but I can’t find the post. In any case, if you haven’t read it somewhere else, you can now order just a SIM card from AT&T’s web site and use whatever compatible GSM handset you want. Note that this has always been possible in an AT&T store. Problem is, even without a phone subsidy, you still have to have a contract. While I seem to remember a 1 year contract being requierd, others are reporting a 2 year contract is required.

For years, we’ve been told that the contracts are needed for one reason: to subsidize the cost of the handset. Okay, done. I’ve brought my own. No handset for you to subsidize. If you’re going to give me a contract anyway, what kind of benefit do I get? Do I get cash back at the end of the term? Do I get a discount on my bill–a larger one than someone who bought a phone as part of their contract?

No, I don’t get squat. I just get a ball and chain without any benefit. Great. Thanks, AT&T.

Update:  Apparently, this is not the case at all. Leave it to Om Malik to dig up the real truth. As long as you’re not signing up for a promotional rate plan, you can join up on a month-to-month basis, i.e. contract-free. The question is: what is considered a promotional rate plan?


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