No more $199 smartphones

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Have you heard the news? Verizon and Sprint are joining T-Mobile in getting rid of two-year phone contracts. Along with that comes the end of the $199 smartphone. It's a rite of fall: Apple releases a new iPhone, and the smartphone frenzy is on. For $199, millions of people upgrade their phones when the newest model comes out.

But that's about to change.

Most major carriers -- AT&T being the last holdout -- are ditching contracts and subsidized phones. That means your next phone, if you want the latest model, will cost $600 or more.

But don't panic. You'll be able to spread out the payments, paying about $25 a month at most carriers.

Verizon's website already has the new iPhone 6 listed at $27 a month, which would then be included in your monthly rate.

An analysis by Mouseprint.org says over the two year period "your cost will be roughly the same, maybe even a bit less."

But from the Doesn't That Stink file: You still won't be able to switch carriers easily.

Want out of your deal in six months or a year? You'll have to pay the $650 price of your phone in full. The good news is those dreaded early termination fees, where mobile companies could hit you for $300 or more if you tried to end a contract before your two years were up, will finally be a thing of the past.

So the bottom line: This change in plans is not a reason to panic or drop your carrier. Once you get used to the change, you'll look think two-year contracts are as outdated as a flip phone or mom's old dial phone.

So don't waste your money.

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